Best paying jobs for Visual and Performing Arts - Updated 2020

Competition for jobs as craft and fine artists is expected to be strong because there are more qualified candidates than available jobs. Competition is likely to grow among independent or self-employed artists, given that many of them sell their work in the same online marketplaces. In addition, competition among artists for the privilege of having their work shown in galleries is expected to remain intense.
Job Title 2018 median Pay Education Number of Jobs Job Outlook What they do
Art Directors $92,780 Bachelor's degree 90,300 Employment of art directors is projected to grow 5 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Art directors will continue to be needed to oversee the work of graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, and others who design artwork and layouts. Art directors are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions. They create the overall design of a project and direct others who develop artwork and layouts.
Fashion Designers $72,720 Bachelor's degree 23,800 Employment of fashion designers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. The projected decline in employment in the apparel manufacturing industry moderates the projected employment growth of fashion designers. Fashion designers create clothing, accessories, and footwear. They sketch designs, select fabrics and patterns, and oversee their products’ creation.
Multimedia Artists and Animators $72,520 Bachelor's degree 73,700 Employment of multimedia artists and animators is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Projected growth will be due to increased demand for animation and visual effects in video games, movies, and television. Multimedia artists and animators create images that appear to move and visual effects for television, movies, video games, and other forms of media.
Producers and Directors $71,680 Bachelor's degree 134,700 Employment of producers and directors is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Job growth in the motion picture and video industry is expected to stem from strong demand from the public for more movies and television shows, as well as an increased demand from foreign audiences for U.S.-produced films. Producers and directors create motion pictures, television shows, live theater, commercials, and other performing arts productions. They interpret a writer’s script to entertain or inform an audience.
Commercial and Industrial Designers $66,590 Bachelor's degree 39,700 Employment of industrial designers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. Consumer demand for new products and new product styles should sustain the demand for industrial designers. Industrial designers develop the concepts for manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and toys. They combine art, business, and engineering to make products that people use every day. Industrial designers consider the function, aesthetics, production costs, and usability of products when developing new product concepts.
Writers and Authors $62,170 Bachelor's degree 131,200 Employment of writers and authors is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Strong competition is expected for full-time jobs because many people are attracted to this occupation. Writers and authors develop written content for various types of media, including advertisements; books; magazines; movie, play, and television scripts; and blogs.
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education $60,320 Bachelor's degree 1,018,700 Employment of high school teachers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Rising student enrollment should increase demand for high school teachers, but employment growth will vary by region. High school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.
Film and Video Editors $58,990 Bachelor's degree 59,300 Overall employment of film and video editors and camera operators is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. The number of Internet-only platforms, such as streaming services, is likely to increase, along with the number of shows produced for these platforms. This growth may lead to more work for editors and camera operators. Film and video editors and camera operators manipulate moving images that entertain or inform an audience.
Interior Designers $53,370 Bachelor's degree 66,500 Employment of interior designers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. Designers will be needed to respond to consumers’ expectations that the interiors of homes and offices meet certain conditions, such as being environmentally friendly and more easily accessible. Interior designers make indoor spaces functional, safe, and beautiful by determining space requirements and selecting essential and decorative items, such as colors, lighting, and materials. They must be able to draw, read and edit blueprints. They also must be aware of building codes, inspection regulations, and other considerations, such as accessibility standards.
Graphic Designers $50,370 Bachelor's degree 266,300 Employment of graphic designers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. Graphic designers are expected to face strong competition for available positions. Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for applications such as advertisements, brochures, magazines, and reports.
Music Directors and Composers $49,630 Bachelor's degree 74,800 Employment of music directors and composers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The number of people attending musical performances, such as symphonies and concerts, and theatrical performances, such as ballets and musical theater, is expected to remain steady. Despite expected growth, tough competition for jobs is anticipated because of the large number of people interested in entering this field. Music directors, also called conductors, lead orchestras and other musical groups during performances and recording sessions. Composers write and arrange original music in a variety of musical styles.
Artists and Related Workers, All Other $48,960 53,400 Overall employment of craft and fine artists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth for artists depends in large part on the overall state of the economy and whether people are willing to spend money on art, because people usually make art purchases when they can afford to spend the money. Craft and fine artists use a variety of materials and techniques to create art for sale and exhibition. Craft artists create handmade objects, such as pottery, glassware, textiles, and other objects that are designed to be functional. Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators, create original works of art for their aesthetic value, rather than for a functional one.
Curators $48,400 31,000 Overall employment of archivists, curators, museum technicians, and conservators is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. The need to store information in archives and public interest in science, art, and history, may continue to spur demand for archivists, curators, museum technicians, and conservators. Applicants should expect very strong competition for jobs. Archivists appraise, process, catalog, and preserve permanent records and historically valuable documents. Curators oversee collections of artwork and historic items, and may conduct public service activities for an institution. Museum technicians and conservators prepare and restore objects and documents in museum collections and exhibits.
Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers $39,440 High school diploma or equivalent 37,700 Employment of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers is projected to decline 7 percent from 2016 to 2026. Some job opportunities should be available to replace those who retire or who leave the occupation for other reasons. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers design, construct, adjust, repair, appraise and sell jewelry.
Photographers $34,000 High school diploma or equivalent 147,300 Employment of photographers is projected to decline 6 percent from 2016 to 2026. Salaried jobs may be more difficult to find as more companies contract with freelancers rather than hire their own photographers. Photographers use their technical expertise, creativity, and composition skills to produce and preserve images that tell a story or record an event.
Actors $- Some college, no degree 63,800 Employment of actors is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Job growth in the motion picture industry will stem from continued strong demand for new movies and television shows. Actors express ideas and portray characters in theater, film, television, and other performing arts media. They interpret a writer’s script to entertain or inform an audience.
Dancers $- 20,400 Overall employment of dancers and choreographers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. A continued interest in dance and in pop culture may provide opportunities in dance schools and in venues outside of dance companies. However, dancers and choreographers face intense competition, and the number of applicants is expected to vastly exceed the number of job openings. Dancers and choreographers use dance performances to express ideas and stories. There are many types of dance, such as ballet, tango, modern dance, tap, and jazz.
Musicians and Singers $- No formal educational credential 172,400 Employment of musicians and singers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Growth will be due to increases in demand for musical performances. However, there will be tough competition for jobs because of the large number of people who are interested in becoming musicians and singers. Musicians and singers play instruments or sing for live audiences and in recording studios.