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Career Development
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Art Major Careers

Art Career Information

Area

Employer

Information/Strategies

Art Museums/Galleries

  • Education
  • Administration
  • Curatorial
  • Conservation
  • Registrar
  • Collections Management
  • Sales
  • Publications
  • Development
  • Public Relations
  • Exhibit Design/Preparation
  • Archivist
  • Tour Guides/Docent
  • Government or private museums
  • Local historical societies
  • Galleries
  • Intern or volunteer in an art museum.
  • Develop strength in art history areas.
  • Enhance computer skills.
  • Earn a business minor.
  • Acquire strong skills in research, fundraising, speaking, and writing.
  • Earn an advanced degree in an academic discipline or museum studies for greater career opportunities.
  • Each specialty has varying qualifications and required training.
  • Develop good interpersonal skills, including the ability to work well on teams.

Fine Art

  • Self-employed
  • Shared studios
  • Historic sites
  • School/Community programs
  • Prepare a strong portfolio.
  • Participate in juried shows.
  • Secure guild membership.
  • Consider developing a source of supplemental income.
  • Learn to network and make contacts.
  • Develop strong skills in area of interest.
  • Obtain experience through apprenticeships, internships, or volunteering.

Commercial Art

  • Graphic Art
  • Computer Graphics
  • Illustration
  • Advertising
  • Newspapers
  • Publishing houses
  • Advertising agencies
  • Design firms
  • Large companies - product design divisions
  • Department stores
  • Television and motion picture industry
  • Non-technical and technical books, magazines, and trade publications
  • Internet media companies
  • Self-employed (freelance)
  • Prepare a strong portfolio.
  • Gain computer and technical skills.
  • Find an internship in a design firm.
  • Work on campus publications in design or layout.
  • Obtain summer or part-time experience with book, magazine, or newspaper publishers.
  • Develop attention to detail and ability to meet deadlines.
  • Supplement curriculum with course work in advertising or business.

Education

  • Studio Art
  • Fine Arts
  • Art History
  • Art schools
  • Public and private schools (K-12)
  • Colleges and universities
  • Adult and community programs
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Alternative schools
  • Group homes
  • Obtain certification for public school teaching.
  • Graduate degree usually required for post-secondary teaching.
  • Develop a specialty area.
  • Work or volunteer as a tutor, camp counselor, Big Brother/Sister, or after-school program counselor.
  • Become a member of art clubs.
  • Obtain substitute teaching experience.
  • Develop strength in art history areas.

Art Therapy

  • Hospitals, nursing homes
  • Mental health facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Requires specialized training and certification, usually a master’s degree in art therapy.
  • Supplement curriculum with psychology, social work, or counseling courses.
  • Gain experience working with diverse populations.

Media

  • Sales
  • Programming
  • Design
  • Video
  • Production
  • Editing
  • Art Journalism
  • Illustration
  • Art Criticism
  • Animation/Cartoons
  • Corporate media departments
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Nonprofit agencies
  • Public relations and advertising firms
  • Independent production companies
  • Art-related publications
  • Publishing houses
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Compile an up-to-date portfolio.
  • Gain knowledge of a variety of technical equipment. Develop strong computer skills.
  • Participate in student theatrical productions.
  • Serve as audio-visual aide for campus films and lectures.
  • Act as photographer for campus events.
  • Work on student publications.
  • Gain experience through internships in media or related areas.
  • Supplement curriculum with courses in business, journalism, or broadcasting/electronic media.

Photography

  • Museums and historical societies
  • Media organizations
  • Photo agencies, studios, and auction houses
  • Libraries
  • Self-employment
  • Large corporations
  • Hospitals
  • Apprentice with a free-lance photographer.
  • Prepare a black and white and a color portfolio.
  • Obtain a staff photographer position with the yearbook, campus newspaper, or magazine.
  • Act as an audio-visual assistant or projectionist.

Fashion, Textile, Interior Design

  • Pattern companies
  • Apparel manufacturers/textile mills
  • Interior design departments
  • Commercial/residential design firms
  • Self-employment
  • Prepare a strong portfolio.
  • Complete an internship in a production firm.
  • Create and fit costumes for stage productions.
  • Enter design ideas in magazine contests.
  • Become a student member of professional organization(s).
  • Research requirements for entering these fields. Some may require specialized training or additional degrees.

Art Sales

  • Galleries/Museums
  • Auction houses
  • Specialty stores
  • Gain sales experience.
  • Obtain a business minor.
  • Develop computer skills.
  • Establish contacts by attending shows.
  • Volunteer in museums, membership drives, and community outreach programs.
  • Serve as a student assistant in a university gallery.
  • Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills.

Retail

  • Buying
  • Store Management
  • Display Design
  • Fashion Coordination
  • Custom Framing
Retail stores, including department, grocery, drug, specialty, and variety chains
  • Gain sales experience.
  • Enhance curriculum with business courses.
  • Obtain summer, part-time, or internship positions in retail.
  • Secure leadership in campus organizations.
  • Serve as treasurer or financial officer of an organization.
  • Obtain a sales position with the yearbook or campus newspaper.

General Information and Strategies

  • A bachelor’s degree is valuable for entry-level positions, but an advanced degree is usually necessary to attain competitive, upper-level positions.
  • An art degree can and should be tailored to areas of specialization.
  • Save artwork for a strong portfolio - too much is better than too little.
  • Be prepared to relocate to the larger markets of metropolitan areas where more opportunities exist.
  • Join art related professional and student organizations.
  • Volunteer with fundraising efforts for the arts.
  • Gain valuable experience through volunteering, internships, part-time and summer jobs, and apprenticeships.
  • Conduct informational interviews with professionals in areas of interest to learn more about opportunities and strategies for these areas.
  • Learn to network.
  • Be prepared to begin career in entry-level positions.
  • Pair an art degree with other career interests to increase opportunities and provide supplemental income.
  • Develop skills in business management, computers, marketing, and other related areas to increase marketability.
  • A career in the arts takes dedication, patience, flexibility, talent, and some luck.

Links:

* = Recommended Sites 

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