Highest Paying Art Degrees

It's not always easy to figure out which art degrees typically pay well. Luckily, we've compiled a list of some of the best majors to consider if money is one of your main motivations. Read on to find out admissions, coursework, and salary information.

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Highest Paying Art Degrees Overview

You may have heard the term, 'starving artist' before, but don't fear, since not all artists are destined for a life of low wages. If you're someone who loves to use your imagination and cherishes the chance to express your creativity, there are plenty of art degrees out there that pay well. When choosing to pursue an arts degree, there are a number of varying specializations in which to major. Whether you love digital media and dream of designing video games or are interested in filmmaking, we've scouted out five diverse degree options that can help to give you a secure and steady income.

Admission Requirements for Art Degree Programs

While each program has its own set of admission requirements, there are some basic similarities that are shared by most colleges. For example, you almost always need to provide documentation of a high school diploma or GED completion certificate. ACT/SAT standardized test scores are also commonly required as part of the application process. A number of art degree programs also ask that prospective students submit portfolios for the admissions committee to review, so it's a good idea to keep a collection of your previous pieces.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Art
  • Art History
  • Arts Management
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing
  • Metal and Jewelry Art
  • Multimedia Arts
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Weaving and Textile Arts

Best Paying Arts Degree Majors

The world of art degrees varies drastically. Generally speaking, graduates of some majors tend to earn higher wages than others. We've compiled a list of five of the highest paying options for you to explore.

Graphic Design

Studying graphic design prepares you to work on many different print and digital products. Graphic design bachelor's degree programs equip students with communication and composition tools that are beneficial for successfully engaging with prospective clients and delivering quality work. Courses that are commonly found in these programs include an introduction to design, typography, visual communications, and portfolio seminars. There is a variety of career pathways to choose from when majoring in graphic design. One of the most lucrative options, though, is to become an interaction designer. According to PayScale.com in 2017, the national median salary for this career is $76,321.

Interior Design

As an interior designer, you'll have the opportunity to collaborate with clients in order to create their dream home or office. Receiving a bachelor's level education in interior design prepares you to learn fundamental space planning components and helps to give you the skills necessary to create meaningful relationships with customers. Classes vary depending on the program but may include design studio, introduction to form and space, and interior lighting. PayScale.com has reported the median pay for design directors at $92,256, in 2017, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that in 2016 the average interior designer earned a median salary of $49,810.

Film & Digital Media

Obtaining a bachelor's degree in film & digital media prepares students to handle real-life writing, production, and post-production skills that are necessary to have a successful career in the digital media industry. Throughout this course of study, students become familiarized with important filming techniques ranging from cinematography to creating script proposals. History of film, introduction to directing, basics of production, and post-production editing are just a few of the classes that usually appear in required coursework that often appear for this degree. The BLS estimates that between 2016 and 2026 there will be a 12% rise in jobs available to film and video editors and camera operators; additionally, in 2016 the BLS reported median annual earnings for this career path at $59,040.

Fashion Design

Do you have an eye for style? If so, you may want to consider a career in fashion design. A student who pursues a bachelor's degree in this field will gain valuable knowledge pertaining to the tools and techniques critical to gaining meaningful employment upon entering into the working world. Typical coursework varies, but topics generally include the history of fashion, drawing techniques, and apparel development. The BLS has reported that in 2016, the national median pay of a fashion designer was $65,170.

Digital Media Arts

Media arts and animation professionals are almost always working digitally. Primary responsibilities usually include creating digital art, designing computer animations, and even dreaming up new video games. Examples of classes that are commonly offered in digital media arts degree programs include 3-D animation, storytelling, and web design. In 2016, the BLS indicated that the median pay for multimedia artists and animators was $65,300.

How to Choose an Art Degree

There are quite a few specializations to choose from once you've decided on obtaining an art degree. Although you'll want to consider your own interests and skills when determining which major is right for you, there are a few key points to keep in mind. Internships can carry a lot of weight in this industry, so consider selecting a school that helps you obtain real-world experience. Furthermore, when you begin job hunting, many employers will ask to see a portfolio of your past work, so choosing a program that emphasizes portfolio development is most likely a wise decision, as well.

Career Options with an Art Degree

Many interesting careers exist for individuals who hold an art degree. In May 2016, the BLS reported that the median annual wage for art and design workers in general was $44,410. We've given you some great major options that can help you earn even more than the national average. Here are a few more jobs to consider.

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