12 Top-Paying Fine Arts Careers

Fine arts careers incorporate creativity into practical occupations for which you can make a decent living wage.

The predicted demand for someone in these roles remains at least a little more than average up until 2029.

1. Band Director

Band Director

Why Become a Band Director?

If you ever spent any time in band classes in high school or college, this would be an excellent career choice.

Become a band director at a local high school or work for a music performance company.

Some positions may require a bachelor’s degree, which calls for about three to four years of university education.

You can make about $64,670 per year and can expect about a 6 percent increase in openings for these positions to occur up until 2030.

Band Director Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year$65,080
Avg. Pay / hour$31.29
Education4+ Years
Outlook6%

2. Illustrator

Illustrator

Why Become an Illustrator?

If you’ve always aspired to draw for a living, you have many options open to you than for past creators.

For instance, you could convert drawings into graphic illustrations and sell them.

It’s a way to fulfill your creative desires and still make a decent living wage.

You can earn up to $63,030 per year as an illustrator, and you’ll continue to see the need for someone working in this occupation after 2022.

Illustrator Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year$69,010
Avg. Pay / hour$33.18
Education4+ Years
Outlook1%

3. Photographer

Photographer

Why Become a Photographer?

Photography jobs may not pay as much as other creative professions, but it still makes you about $45,440 per year.

You can also find ways to repurpose photos that could earn you residual income.

For instance, photographers often sell digital photos online for use as website backgrounds or in wedding invitations, slideshows and movies, and other creative works.

Photographer Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year$48,210
Avg. Pay / hour$23.18
Education2-4 Years
Outlook17%

4. Animator

Animator (Digital/3D)

Why Become an Animator (Digital/3D)?

You can use 3D, VR, or AR animation to target your audiences with messages that will capture their attention.

It allows you to use your creativity to deliver facts to the public without always requiring human actors present.

Animators can earn about $84,780 per year and can expect a 4 percent need of people in this profession until at least 2029.

You may not need a formal education to perform animation services for either entertainment or commercial clients.

Animator Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year$86,220
Avg. Pay / hour$41.45
Education3-4 Years
Outlook4%

5. Web Designer

Web Designer

Why Become a Web Designer?

It could take you more than four years of schooling to become a web designer, so why do it?

First, you can perform website design services while still in college or high school.

It allows you the chance to earn a steady income while applying your creativity to your work.

Web design positions don’t always require a bachelor’s degree or any other certificate but seeking training beyond high school can help you earn more money than without any proof of competency.

Web designers earn about $82,370 per year.

Web Designer Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year$86,220
Avg. Pay / hour$41.45
Education4+ Years
Outlook13%

6. Graphic Designer

Graphic Designer

Why Become a Graphic Designer?

As a graphic designer, you would have a say in how future companies portray themselves to the public.

Graphic designers compose logos and branding that customers will remember, and you would incorporate these elements into both online and print media.

The need continues to grow at about 4 percent up until 2029, and you’ll make about $56,510 after about four years of school.

However, you might earn this much if you continue to take certificate classes while working in the field full time.

You can also become a freelance graphic designer.

Graphic Designer Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year$59,970
Avg. Pay / hour$28.83
Education3-4 Years
Outlook4%

7. Fashion Designer

Fashion Designer

Why Become a Fashion Designer?

You might not think of fashion design as an essential career.

However, you can still find open positions, and the need may increase by about 6 percent between 2020-2029.

This career offers you plenty of opportunities to earn, such as creating casual or formal ready-to-wear outfits.

You don’t necessarily have to design for Fashion Week or the famous “Red Carpet” to earn a decent living.

Some mid-tier stylist positions may start out at about $30,000-$50,000 annually.

The lowest pay rate in 2022 was about $13,500 per year, and you can make up to $86,000 per year or more just dressing people.

Earn even more if you custom-design outfits for celebrities.

Required schooling depends on an employer’s requirements, but you would earn the most after about 3-4 years of school.

Fashion Designer Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year$83,650
Avg. Pay / hour$40.22
Education2-4 Years
Outlook6%

8. Interior Designer

Interior Designer

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Becoming an interior designer could satisfy your desire to use your artistic talents.

This profession could generate more than $60,000 in income for you every year.

Work alongside architects to create the perfect display inside every room of a place.

You can even make a decent living of about $40,000 per year just by decorating and arranging furniture.

The 10-year growth from 2020 for this occupation expects to raise by 19 percent.

Interior Designer Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year$62,570
Avg. Pay / hour$30.08
Education2-4 Years
Outlook19%

9. Video Game Designer

Video Game Designer

Why Become a Video Game Designer?

The amount you can make as a video game designer may surprise you.

Some creators make $100,000 a year or more, and the 2022 annual starting salaries range from $30,000-$60,000.

The amount of required education varies, especially if you already have freelance game design experience.

To earn the most, you’ll want to learn how to stage 3D, 4K, and AR or VR characters and scenes for use in the Metaverse, and you could also cross over into the business world and make product demos with your experience.

However, you’ll also need some coding skills to make your games compatible with both online platforms and offline gaming consoles.

The need continues to grow beyond 2022 at about 4 percent above average.

Video Game Designer Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year$62,570
Avg. Pay / hour$30.08
Education4+ Years
Outlook4%

10. Videographer

Videographer

Why Become a Videographer?

Nothing seems to beat compositing videos with raw footage instead of stock videos.

You could sell your high-quality shoots to media outlets or help families make memories with them.

Capturing special events live would remain your number one role as a videographer, but you also can composite stories with footage that includes audio narration, graphic elements, and text.

Some videographers also edit other people’s footage.

Even without formal education, you could earn about $30,000-$60,000 per year if you already have experience.

Work as a freelancer or for hire by a company.

The need continues to grow at up to 12 percent faster than average after 2022.

Videographer Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year$61,740
Avg. Pay / hour$29.69
Education2-4 Years
Outlook12%

11. Architect

Architect

Why Become an Architect?

Becoming an architect may require more technical engineering experience than some other fine arts careers.

After about four years of school, you could earn $86,000 a year or more.

You could design the interior and exterior of commercial, industrial, or governmental structures or create blueprints for private homes, hotels, or resorts.

This fine arts career mixes the artistic with the scientific to ensure that all components of a place work well, and this includes making room in designs for electrical, gas, or waterlines and HVAC system.

Architect Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year$91,900
Avg. Pay / hour$44.19
Education4+ Years
Outlook8%

12. Movie Director

Movie Director

Why Become a Movie Director?

You can probably earn about $70,000-$80,000 per year if you have the right equipment and experience.

Production companies who have the budget to hire “real” actors in “real” scenes versus all greenscreens and stock footage for backgrounds will probably pay the most.

However, if you have some creativity and sound engineering experience, you could produce a high-quality full-length movie or TV series right from your home and sell it.

Movie Director Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year$101,950
Avg. Pay / hour$49.01
Education4+ Years
Outlook5%

Jamie Willis