As a creative major, it’s typical to hear the question, “Well, what are you going to do with that?” The answer is a plethora of lucrative career paths. I’m looking at you, incoming freshmen, when I say: Don’t let people’s comments discourage you from pursuing a creative career!
It’s often difficult to decipher which creative professions are profitable as well as what academic course you would need to pursue in order to land them, so I’ve taken out the guesswork and have done the searching for you. It’s important to note that a job in any field can be creative, and degrees, while helpful, aren’t always necessary. If you’re a hard worker who has a flair for the creative, these may be some viable options.
*Salary data taken from the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2017
** Salary data from Payscale.com
- Average Salary: $48,700*
- What do they do? Graphic Designers create digital graphics for clients, such as logos, original artwork, and possibly even animations. Graphic Designers can work freelance (AKA, being your own boss) or for big companies. While going freelance gives the designer more freedom, people skills are definitely needed to maintain a steady roster of clients and a steady cash flow.
- Helpful Degrees: A bachelor’s degree in Design or a related field is helpful in gaining the necessary skills and design knowledge, but graphic design software is easily downloadable and YouTube tutorials can help self-teach.
- How To Get Experience: A strong work portfolio with examples of your best designs will help you professionalize yourself. A great way to improve your skills or develop new ones is to look up tutorials online. Pay special attention to animated graphics and web design because those are the “wave of the future!”
- Average Salary: $60,357**
- What do they do? Brand strategists help companies identify their key markets or the demographics of their consumers. What does that mean? Basically, the brand strategists find out who is buying the company’s products and why they are buying them. The goal is to help a company better reach their consumers and tap into new consumer markets, often through creating unique advertising messages to reach the specific audience.
- Helpful Degrees: It is typical of brand strategists to have a bachelor’s degree in marketing or another consumer-oriented business degree.
- How To Get Experience: An internship in a marketing-related field may help a brand strategist tap into the field. Otherwise, starting your own small business (think Etsy shop) could also be a great way to work on branding. Showing growth through personal market research and campaigns would be a fun way to get practice while helping you make money!
Writer or Author
- Average Salary: $61,820*
- What do they do? Writers can fulfill a variety of positions, spanning from writing advertising copy to book writing to script writing for various media outlets. Storytelling isn’t your strong suit? No worries! Writing in any capacity requires a level of creativity in wordsmith-ing and sentence structure.
- Helpful Degrees: Though writers and authors may come from a variety of fields and backgrounds, completing a bachelor’s degree in English, Journalism, or Communications can aid a writer looking to professionalize.
- How To Get Experience: The internet makes it easier than ever for writers to get their voices out there. Start a personal blog! Apply to write for the Lala (*wink wink*)! The possibilities are endless.
Theatrical Makeup Artist
- Average Salary: $69,310*
- What do they do? Makeup Artists, for theatrical and performance arts in this case, apply makeup to clients’ faces and sometimes body to match the desired time period, character, effects (aging, animal, monster, etc…). Sounds fun, right?
- Helpful Degrees: Many makeup artists complete an associate’s degree or a similar training program in Cosmetology to learn the ins-and-outs of the industry. Though a license is not required for a makeup artist, obtaining a Cosmetology license or a license through the International Make-up Association (IMA) may make you more marketable to future employers. A bachelor’s degree in theater is optional for those who want to continue schooling.
- How To Get Experience: Going through an associate’s program may help build your work portfolio, but it is important to note that an online portfolio of personal projects is also a strong way to showcase your talents to future employers. This can be as simple as a separate Instagram account featuring all of your looks!
- Average Salary: $70,530* (Listed under Multimedia Designers)
- What do they do? Game designers come up with the conceptual ideas for games, determining how a game should look and function. While it is the game programmers who actually write the code, game designers must have an acute idea of how coding works in order to design something that can actually be executed.
- Helpful Degrees: If you’re going to school for Game Design, the degrees to pursue would be a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Game Design, or Computer Engineering in order to help understand the mechanics of the gaming world.
- How To Get Experience: While some may go the traditional internship route, video game design offers unique ways to build your credentials. Some of the many options include working as a video game tester, creating new levels in existing games, or making your own games through existing software. Sounds fun, right?
- Average Salary: $78,470*
- What do they do? Architects design the layout of buildings and sometimes landscapes for different clients. Architects combine math and geometry skills with design and aesthetics. If you can’t decide between your analytic and artistic sides, this is a great way to combine those into a career!
- Helpful Degrees: An architect usually has a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and must pass a Architect Registration Exam. For this particular profession, schooling is needed to ensure the safety of the buildings you create.
- How To Get Experience: After completing a bachelor’s in Architecture, most students will go on to gain experience through a paid internship. The best part? You may land your job through your internship!
- Average Salary: $92,500*
- What do they do? Art directors come up with design concepts for various media outlets, products, brands and more. They are basically the glue that holds the graphic design team together in a company, combining the best of each member’s skill set to achieve a unified design concept.
- Helpful Degrees: Art directors usually have a bachelor’s degree in Design or a Design-related field such as Fine Arts, Digital Media, or Visual Communications. To prepare for the leadership role, some designers choose to continue schooling with a master’s degree in design.
- How To Get Experience: Similar to other management positions, people usually start working as a part of the graphic design team before moving into the art director position, building a strong portfolio of work and design prowess along the way.
While considering a career in a creative field, it’s important to note that might receive discouraging feedback from others at times. However, these are just seven of many, many creative fields in which to get involved. If you’re like me and creativity absolutely must be a part of your work life, what others say or comment is irrelevant.
While a steady income is important, the most important question in the end is if you’re happy with your everyday life. A great way to explore the actuality of a career is to YouTube ‘a day in the life of X’ in order to get a feel of what you would be doing day-to-day.
And to the creative incoming freshmen: recognize the probability that your interests will change in college as you find yourself. Beginning to pursue a degree doesn’t mean that is the degree you will end up with. Take a leap! If an area interests you, pursue it, and see where that path leads you next. College is a time of growth and discovery!