What can I do with a major in art?

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Examples of where alumni in your major are working

Companies:
Owens Illustration
The Art Association of Oswego
Self-employed/Freelance
A.E. Originals

Titles:
Ceramics Teacher
Artist/Illustrator
Studio Assistant
Artist/Owner

Search for employers hiring graduates in your major

Employers in NY: 4,073
Employers in US: 47,692

 

Explore the numerous career fields related to your major

Art Museums/Galleries

Areas

Education
Administration
Curatorial
Preservation/Conservation
Restoration
Registrar
Collections Management
Sales
Publications
Development
Public Relations
Exhibit Design/Preparation
Archivist
Art Authentication
Tour Guides/Docent

Employers

Art museums: university, public, private 
Local historical societies
Galleries
Archives
Natural history museums
Living history museums

Information/Strategies

Intern or volunteer in an art museum.
Develop strength in art history areas.
Enhance computer skills.
Earn a minor in business or  in museum studies.
Supplement curriculum with courses in history, religion, anthropology, and classical civilizations.
Acquire strong skills in research, fund-raising, speaking, and writing.
Earn an advanced degree in art history, museum studies, or other related discipline depending on specific interests. Each specialty has varying qualifications and required training.
Each specialty has varying qualifications and required training.
Develop good interpersonal skills, including the ability to work well on teams.
Visit museums around the country and world to gain exposure to art.
Learn a foreign language and plan to study abroad.

Fine Arts

Areas

Employers

Self-employed 
Shared studios 
Historic sites 
School/Community programs

Information/Strategies

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

Areas

Graphic Art
Computer Graphics
Illustration
Advertising

Employers

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)

Information/Strategies

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

Areas

Teaching: Studio Art , Fine Arts, Art History
Research
Administration
Library/Information Science
Visual Resources Curating
Student Affairs (e.g., Student Activities, Leadership Development, Multi-Cultural Affairs, etc)
Academic Affairs (e.g., Educational Advancement Programs, Honors Programs, Advising, etc)
Community Education

Employers

Art and design schools
Public and private schools (K-12)
Colleges and universities
Adult and community programs
Libraries
Museums
Alternative schools
Group homes

Information/Strategies

Obtain degree and certification for public school teaching.
Graduate degree usually required for post- secondary teaching. Teaching Art History at this level is extremely competitive.
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.
Develop excellent speaking, writing, and research skills.
Learn how to develop curriculum and workshops and how to use multimedia.
Become an expert in a particular subject.
Acquire a background in foreign languages such as German or French.
Maintain a high g.p.a. and secure strong faculty recommendations.
Seek campus leadership positions such as peer mentor, orientation leader, or resident assistant.

Art Therapy

Areas

Employers

Hospitals, nursing homes 
Mental health facilities 
Rehabilitation centers
Nonprofit organizations

Information/Strategies

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

Areas

Publishing
Editing
Sales
Programming
Design
Video
Production
Art Journalism
Illustration
Art Criticism
Animation/Cartoons

Employers

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
News departments of local, public, and commerical TV and radio stations
Internet sites
Production companies

Information/Strategies

Compile an up-to-date portfolio.
Gain knowledge of a variety of technical equipment.
Develop strong writing, editing, and computer skills, along with knowledge of the history and culture of art.
Learn web design skills to prepare for online work. This area of journalism is growing while print is declining.
Participate in student theatrical productions.
Serve as audio-visual aide for campus films and lectures.
Act as photographer for campus events.
Work with campus or local newspapers, TV, or radio stations.
Work on student publications.
Become comfortable working in a deadline-oriented atmosphere.
Gain experience through internships in media or related areas.
Consider a minor or supplement curriculum with courses in business, journalism, broadcasting/electronic media, English, or theatre depending on your interests.

Photography

Areas

Employers

Museums and historical societies
Media organizations
Photo agencies, studios, and auction houses
Libraries
Self-employment
Large corporations
Hospitals

Information/Strategies

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

Areas

Employers

Pattern companies
Apparel manufacturers/textile mills 
Interior design departments
Commercial/residential design firms 
Self-employment

Information/Strategies

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).
Reseach requirements for entering these fields. Some may require specialized training or additional degrees.

Art Sales

Areas

Appraisal: Art and Estate
Sales
Antiques Dealing
Art Authentication
Public Relations

Employers

Galleries: profit and nonprofit
Museums
Art dealers
Auction houses
Specialty stores
Self-employed
Interior design firms
Insurance agencies

Information/Strategies

Gain sales experience through internships or summer and part-time jobs.
Obtain a business minor to increase knowledge of business principles. An understanding of public relations is also helpful.
Develop computer skills.
Establish contacts by attending shows.
Volunteer in museums, membership drives, local galleries, and community outreach programs.
Serve as a student assistant in a university gallery.
Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills. Learn to communicate effectively with a wide range of people.
Prepare to work independently and be self-motivated. Entrepreneurial spirit, including self-discipline and perseverence, are keys to success.
Plan to work irregular or long hours.
Research certificate programs in appraisal studies to prepare for that field.

Retail

Areas

Buying
Store Management
Display Design
Fashion Coordination
Custom Framing

Employers

Retail stores including:

  • department
  • grocery
  • drug
  • specialty
  • variety chains

Information/Strategies

Gain sales experience.
Enhance curriculum with business courses.
Obtain summer, part-time, or internship positions in retail.
Secure leadership positions in campus organizations.
Serve as treasurer or financial officer of an organization.
Obtain a sales position with the yearbook or campus newspaper.

Nonprofit

Areas

Administration
Management
Public Relations
Development
Research
Grant Writing
Direct Service

Employers

Local and national nonprofit agencies (e.g., Arts Education Partnership, American for the Arts)
Foundations (e.g., International Child Art Foundation)
Trade or professional associations
Special interest groups
Libraries
Museums: university, public, private
Historic sites (e.g., The Biltmore, Mount Vernon)
Historical societies

Information/Strategies

Gain experience through volunteering or completing an internship.
Supplement curriculum with courses in business, psychology, sociology, or social work.
Obtain leadership roles in relevant campus and community organizations.
Develop strong communication and research skills.
Learn how to write grants.
Research organizations' values to find a good fit with yours. It is critical that you are knowledgeable about and committed to the work you're going to do.
Investigate term of service or service corps positions as a way to gain entry into the field.
Earn a graduate degree for more job opportunites and advancement.

Government

Areas

Public Affairs
Writing/Editing
Audiovisual Producing
Museum Work
Curating
Development

Employers

State arts agencies
Local, state, and national councils for the arts
Historical commissions
Museums/galleries (e.g., Smithsonian Institute, The National Gallery)
Film boards
Libraries and archives
Endowments/grant making agencies
Cultural affairs agencies

Information/Strategies

Maintain a strong g.p.a. as many government programs are very competitive.
Complete an internship with the federal government.
There are a large number of specialized agencies within the federal government. Do extensive research to find the area that best fits your interests.
Earn a graduate degree for advancement.
Become familiar with the government application process. Utilize applicable websites and seek assistance from your college career services department.
Develop a network of contacts through informational interviews and referrals.

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.
  • Explore more specific careers related to art history such as art appraisal or art authentication. Careers also exist with auction houses and the storage and transportation of art work, art investment, corporate curation, art law, and law enforcement.
  • 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.