5 High Paying Visual Arts Careers

5 Lucrative Visual Arts Careers
  • Art Director
  • Interior Designer
  • Art Professor
  • Animator
  • Creative Marketing Director

Contrary to popular belief, there are actually quite a few high paying visual arts careers. They vary in scope and specialization, meaning there are options for a variety of creative professionals no matter their skills or interests. The following are some of the highest paying careers for visual arts majors.

1. Art Director

Art directors are some of the highest paid creative professionals. They usually need several years of experience in art and management roles before they can obtain a position as an art director. Art directors direct all elements of a creative project. Some of the things they may do include deciding which artistic elements to use in a project, managing artists working under them and creating the overall vision of a project. They can work in publishing, advertising campaigns, television programs, design firms and more.

2. Interior Designer

Interior designers make sure interior rooms are safe, functional and pleasant to the eye. They select furniture, colors, wallpapers and flooring and arrange all of it to create the look they want. Interior designers can work for interior design firms as well as architectural and engineering firms. This is a career that lends itself well to self-employment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that one-fifth of all interior designers are self-employed. Of interior design professionals, interior design directors command the highest salaries.

3. Art Professor

For students who love artistic pursuits and want to teach art, the highest paying job is that of the art professor. Art professors must be highly knowledgeable about different art and design theories as well as be able to provide examples to show students. They must plan and teach courses, be involved in academic committees and serve as academic advisors to their students alongside other duties. Issuing grades for artwork can be especially challenging and professors need to have solid criteria on which to base those grades. Aside from an art degree, art professors must have at least a master’s degree in education.

4. Animator

Animators create hand-drawn and digital animations for use in films, video games, television series, commercials and more. This includes both 2D and 3D animation. Animators usually specialize, such as in backgrounds or visual effects. As with most creative professionals, they must be conscious of deadlines and take creative direction while still bringing their own creative ideas to the project. According to Glassdoor.com, animators at major studios can receive salaries has high as $80,000 annually. Although they can find work without a degree if they are skilled enough and have an impressive portfolio of work, most animators need a bachelor’s degree in art and animation to find employment.

5. Creative Marketing Director

Creative marketing director positions are a combination of creative professionals and marketing directors. These are high paying visual arts careers because marketing directors are typically one of the highest paid executive employees in any company. They work with sales teams, graphic designers and marketers to create engaging marketing campaigns that appeal to customers and send the intended message. Marketing firms as well as individual companies, especially ones in the creative sector, employ creative marketing directors. These professionals can even be on executive boards.

Related Resource:  Top 10 Christian College Visual Arts Programs


The popular stereotype is not always true. Visual artists can have careers that pay quite a lot of money. If the expected salary is a concern for art majors, consider these high paying visual arts careers.

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