What Can You Do With a Degree in Studio Art or Art History?

The arts generate 4.2% of the overall U.S. GDP, with roughly 4.9 million Americans working in the sector in 2015, the latest year for which data is available.

According to the Arts Alliance, the arts in New York constitutes a nearly $4 billion industry, attracting nearly 99 million people to the city annually (arts institutions are the number-one attraction for tourists by far). The arts industries compose the fourth-largest employment sector in New York. Particularly in New York, but across the country, there are a wide variety of careers in art and art history that require different education and/or skills. Below is a list of careers, with descriptions, for many types of jobs in the arts. While some may require further education, there are a number of career paths for those with a bachelor’s degree.

There are a lot of careers for people with a degree in art or art history. Some careers for studio artists are animator, art director, artist, graphic designer, industrial designer, interior designer, and photographer, which usually require a bachelor’s degree or equivalent amount of experience. With a degree in art history, some careers are archivist, conservator, curator, or museum worker. Typically, people in art fields have a bachelor’s degree as well as experience in their desired field, usually through internships. Many artists teach classes in private establishments like studios or galleries. In order to teach in colleges, however, a master’s degree is typically required. Some museum jobs require a master’s degree in art history, museum studies, or something related, but there are many entry-level jobs for college graduates.

Here are some career guides and articles that share information on various career options:

Where Do Brooklyn College Students and Alumni With a Degree in Art or Art History Get Hired for Internships and Full-Time Jobs?

You can get a lot more information by looking at the profiles of close to 5,000 Brooklyn College alumni who graduated with a degree in art. Join the Brooklyn College Alumni group and see where alumni are currently working, their skill sets, and their career progression. You can filter further based on employer, class year, etc.

What Is the Average Artist Salary?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for arts and design occupations was $46,660 in May 2018. The highest-paying job is as an art director, with an average annual salary of $92,780. An artist would have to work up to this position, as this job requires at least three to five years of experience because they are the ones directing others.

Salaries depend on the type of job. Pay for artists who work freelance would depend on their level of experience and the type of job, which is decided between the two parties. Freelancing gives artists more freedom in the type of jobs they choose and the ability to plan their time. Working in a company would bring higher salary and benefits (depending on the job/company) and be more stable. In a company, artists would also typically work with a team of people and communicate with staff from other departments.

On-Campus Resources

A number of resources on campus will help you learn more about art career options. Attend events and keep up to date on the resources available to you.

Magner Career Center

The Magner Career Center has a wealth of information on everything you need to get started in your career, help with résumés, an internships database, job fairs, etc.

  • The center hosts frequent career events that may be of interest to you, including Careers in Arts and Cultural Institutions, Entertainment and Media Panel, etc.
  • You can get matched with alumni who majored in art or art history at Brooklyn College to learn about their experiences, seek career advice, and develop a professional relationship.
  • Michael Sarrao is the liaison to the School of Visual, Media and Performing Arts—someone you can meet with for guidance.
  • HireBC offers starter, competitive internships, and jobs postings from Brooklyn College’s dedicated Job Board. Access HireBC via BCWebCentral, under the Career Tab. Many alumni post positions with hopes of working with Brooklyn College students. Upload your résumé for higher-level positions that require an “approved” résumé. For more information or to set up an appointments, visit their website, call 718.951.5696, or visit 1303 James Hall.

Art Department Resources

  • Visit the Department of Art website and Facebook to stay current on activities, exhibitions, visiting artists’ talks, events, resources, open studios, and opportunities.
  • Make sure you open all of the departmental e-mails for career-related announcements.
  • Look to the bulletin boards around the department offices for events, resources, and opportunities to get involved.

Off-Campus Resources

  • Architizer offers internships and jobs related to the field of architecture.
  • Arts Intern provides paid internship opportunities in museums for college undergraduates to learn about nonprofit arts profession. There are positions for many different departments in a museum for interns to get a better understanding of how a museum functions.
  • CareerOneStop offers occupational description and statistics such as salaries and growth potential for all occupations. Search occupations by name and location to learn about the projected employment in selected location.
  • City Limits is a great website for New York City, with an extensive jobs section, including art-related opportunities.
  • Idealist connects those who want to do good with opportunities for action, collaboration, work, and internships in nonprofits.
  • Listings Project helps people find opportunities, artist studios, apartments, live/work spaces, rooms for rent, houses for rent and for sale, sublets, co-living, lease-takeovers, swaps, offices, coworking spaces, and housesitting as well as exhibition, rehearsal, and event spaces.
  • New York Foundation for the Arts awards cash grants to individual artists residing in New York State in all artistic disciplines.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook gives you information on the training and education needed for the job, earning potential, expected job prospects, what you would be doing on the job, and what the working conditions are like.

Brooklyn. All in.