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Job Statistics for Visual Arts

What can I do with my degree?

At Holy Cross College, we believe that education is valuable for its own sake. We also recognize that education serves some very practical ends, for our society and for your career.

Most of the images we see are conceived and executed by well-compensated professional artists and designers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, "employment of artists is projected to grow faster than average" - 16% by the year 2016. Despite this growth, job competition can be keen in the arts; although,"studios, galleries, and individual clients are always on the lookout for artists who display outstanding talent, creativity, and style."

For the three principle career categories for artists tracked by the BLS, art directors, who develop design and presentation concepts for visual media, earn a median income of $68,100 per year with the middle 50 percent earning from $49,480 to $94,920. Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators, earn a median income of $41,970 with the middle 50 percent earning from $28,500 to $58,550. And multi-media artists and animators, working in film, video, or computer-based media, earn a median income of $51,350 with the middle 50 percent earning $38,980 to $70,050.

These numbers represent salaried artists, and do not include graphic designers. Nor do they include self-employed artists, who make up more than half of the field. According to the BLS, "earnings for self-employed artists vary widely," with some earning more than their salaried counterparts and many others unable to rely solely on selling works of art. Graphic designers earn a median income of $39,900, with the middle 50 percent earning between $30,600 and $53,310. Senior designers and partners earn median incomes of over $90,000. The projected growth rate for the graphic design field is 10% by 2016. Twenty-five percent of designers are self-employed.

You also may choose to pursue a career in teaching or to continue your studies in a Master of Fine Arts program. Or, you may choose to pursue any of one of dozens of arts-related jobs. See "Careers in Art" page.