Careers for Artists with No Degree

Artists without a degree can find several different careers that involve creativity and artistic ability. Learn about a few of these career options and their specific job duties, as well as salaries and job outlooks.

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Career Options for Artists Without A Degree

Many jobs for artists do not necessarily require a formal education, and are available across several different fields. Depending on an artist's particular talents and interests, we have listed several possible career options below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Craft Artists $33,440 1%
Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers $38,200 -11% (decline)
Photographers $34,070 3%
Woodworkers $28,500 -1% (decline)
Painters, Construction and Maintenance $ 37,570 7%
Bakers $25,090 7%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Artists Without A Degree

Craft Artists

Craft artist is an obvious career for an artist, and includes a wide variety of artistic specialties. Craft artists generally make homemade objects to be sold or displayed, such as pottery, glassware and other useable objects. Some craft artists may knit or weave products, make textiles and clothing or design and build furniture. Although craft artists do not need a formal education and learn through practice, they often utilize many fine-art techniques that fine artists with a formal education use in their work.

Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers design, create, repair and sell all kinds of jewelry. Some of these workers are even qualified to inspect and grade gems and other precious stones, such as diamonds. These workers use art to create new and exciting pieces, like rings and necklaces, from different metals and materials. Those that specialize in using metals are called precious metal workers, while a bench jeweler may work for retailers and create, repair or clean pieces. Usually jewelers and precious stone and metal workers hold a high school diploma and have some on-the-job training.


Photographers are artists who tell a story through the pictures that they take. There are several different kinds of photographers, some of which may have less artistic freedom than others. For example, scientific or aerial photographers need to take very specific pictures for projects and research, while fine arts photographers can take pictures of whatever they would like to display as art. Most photographers use digital cameras and photo-enhancing software to capture and edit their work. Most photographers do not need postsecondary education, but must display a 'good eye' and creativity in their work. However, some specific kinds of photographers, like photojournalists, industrial and scientific photographers, may need a bachelor's degree.


Woodworkers may be artists that specialize in creating objects, like furniture, out of wood. Although there may be some artistic freedom in their creations, this field is also highly technical as woodworkers use various machines, computers and tools to produce their pieces. These workers may need to design or follow specific instructions to measure, cut and prepare wood for their pieces. They must ensure that their product meets any safety requirements. Woodworkers usually have a high school diploma and receive as much as three years of on-the-job training.

Painters, Construction and Maintenance

Like woodworkers, painters in the construction and maintenance field may not have a lot of artistic freedom, but it could be a good job for an artist who enjoys painting. These kinds of painters include construction and maintenance painters who specialize in painting and repairing paint on walls, structures and new buildings. Artisan painters are also included in this category and specialize in decorative techniques, which could be ideal for an artist. Artisan painters may use distressing, sponging, color blocking and more to create the desired look. These kinds of painters do not require any formal education.


Artists who are interested in creating or decorating different kinds of desserts may be interested in a job as a baker. Retail bakers, as opposed to commercial bakers, are usually allowed more creativity as they create and follow recipes to make things like cakes, pastries and other baked goods. Retail bakers may work in grocery stores or specialty shops where they decorate cakes and other goodies with glazes, icings and more. Bakers must also be able to carefully measure their ingredients and monitor them for quality. Most bakers receive on-the-job training, and while no formal education is required, some bakers may study at culinary school or through an apprenticeship.

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