10 Careers for Artists Without a Degree (Find a Job, Quickly!)

careers for artists without a degree

Everyone has their dreams and, of course, want to follow them.

If you are an artist, there is no need to consider it only as a hobby as there is a bunch of opportunities to turn it into a successful career.

In fact, there are lots of career options for those who want to work in the creative field and get a good income.

In this article, you can find a list of top 10 creative careers that can guarantee you a great income as well.

Art Director

Creative Career, Art Director

Do you have the ability to communicate ideas through various types of visual art and good at design?

If your answer is yes, you should consider becoming an art director.

There are lots of career options as such specialists can work in such spheres as movie production, publishing or advertising and public relations.

The main duty of an art director is to choose various visual elements and tools that can be used in various publications and performances to present some idea.

In other words, art director decides on a vision of some idea and help artists and designers to create it.

Despite the fact you need to have a good eye in design, this profession doesn’t involve only creative aspects.

Also, working as an art director, you’ll be obliged to deal with business issues including interaction with clients and other departments, project management, and accounting.

You can get your start as an art director enrolling in such spheres as fine art, editing, photography or graphic design.

Keep in mind that after completing your training, you need about 5 years to gain some experience and build up a portfolio so you can get some high-level role.

Salary: $85,610

Education: Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Photography or Graphic Design

Creative Field: Visual arts

Technical Writer

Creative Career, Tech Writer

If you aren’t only creative but also have some good technical knowledge, you should consider becoming a technical writer.

This career can provide you with a good income that is twice more than a median salary throughout the USA.

Working as a technical writer, you are going to write some texts to present technical info in manuals, FAQ sections, article and so on.

You can start your career in some scientific or technical services, or manufacturing and information industries.

Just keep in mind that if you want to succeed as a technical writer, you need to have a bunch of skills.

You should be able to reveal the needs of your audience, first of all.

Also, you should be able to make proper research to learn enough information about your subject.

The main point about tech writer job is to be able to present information so it is easy to read and understand.

Also, you need to be really skillful in such an aspect as the creation of diagrams, tables, charts, and photographs.

Nowadays, tech writer should be able to create presentations that contain not only info but also video and audio.

To become a successful technical writer, you need to have excellent communication skills and good tech background.

In other words, you need some appropriate education as well as good training.

Also, it’s better to focus on a certain specific field in order to be enough knowledgeable and qualified.

Moreover, this sphere develops constantly and significant growth of career options is predicted.

Salary: $69,030

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Communications or English, Plus Knowledge of Computer Science, Web Design or Engineering

Creative Field: The Written Word

Industrial Designer

Creative Career, Industrial Design

We don’t pay much attention to various objects around us but all of them were designed by someone to make them efficient and useful.

This job is performed by industrial designers who work in manufacturing, design services, architecture, engineering, and other industries.

To become an industrial designer, you need to be good at not only design but also business and engineering.

The main duty of an industrial designer is to create designs of various products from vehicles to toys.

To perform this job well, you should be able to consider a whole bunch of aspects such as visual aesthetics, functionality, effectiveness, and user-friendliness.

It means that an industrial designer needs to reveal the audience for the product and come up with its design according to users needs.

Just keep in mind that industrial design is not only sketching but virtual modeling and physical prototypes making as well.

To start your career and get some entry-level offers, you need only to complete your training.

Nevertheless, if you want to find some better job options that give you a good salary, you need to have a good portfolio.

Salary: $64,620

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design, Engineering or Architecture

Creative Field: Design

Bonus Option: Furniture Design (Click to learn more)

Fashion Designer

Creative Career, Fashion Designer

Are you interested in aesthetic design and good at sketching and digital graphics?

In such a case, you may be interested in becoming a fashion designer.

Working as a fashion designer, you’ll be obliged to create apparels taking over the whole project.

Fashion designer duties include:

  • creation of themes and ideas for clothing collections;
  • sketching;
  • choice of fabrics, colors, and patterns;
  • cooperation with a design team for prototype creation.

Nevertheless, working as a fashion designer you are going to perform a bunch of other non-creative duties.

You also need to hold some research to learn about the latest trends and customers’ needs.

Based on the received data, you are going to create a detailed report to help you create design concepts.

Moreover, you should be able to create not only appealing but also functional design as well.

Also, some designers are responsible for such aspects as pitching ideas, supervising production and marketing finished products.

Just keep in mind that it’s not enough to be creative and have some drawing skills.

In addition, you need to obtain some appropriate training in order to learn about various aspects of this profession.

Also, it’s a good idea to start building your portfolio while you are still at college.

Moreover, you should consider interning for some companies to get more experience during your training.

Salary: $64,030

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Design or Fashion Merchandising

Creative Field: Design

Multimedia Artist or Animator

Creative Career, Multimedia Artist, Animator

If you want to become an animator or multimedia artist, you should keep in mind that it requires a lot of creativity and a whole variety of skills.

Such professionals not only draw and paint images but also create visual effects and moving pictures.

A multimedia artist creates animated movies and games as well as special effects for films and TV shows.

An important aspect is the animator should be able to create a whole image including its background, foreground and a character itself.

Working as an animator, you should be skillful enough in drawing, painting, and sculpting.

Also, it’s important to have excellent computer skills as nowadays the popularity of computer-generated images and digital art grows rapidly.

You should know that the creation of an animated piece is an absolutely complex process.

It includes such stages as:

  • concept development;
  • storyboards preparation;
  • completing the project in time and according to the established budget.

The whole process requires some good research to find the best design and prepare some references for characters and backgrounds.

Multimedia artists work in various spheres such as computer systems design, advertising, motion picture and animation production, advertising and software publishing.

Just keep in mind that it’s really important to build a good portfolio to show your creativity and skills if you want to find a good job.

Salary: $63,630

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Animation, Computer Graphics or Fine Art

Creative Field: Visual Arts

Professional Writer

Creative Career, Professional Writer

Of course, it’s a great thing to be a popular writer but still not every writer can achieve this challenging dream.

While working your way towards your dream, you still need some money for living so you can use your writing skills to get good income.

It is a really fruitful career as there are numerous spheres that require written content.

You can write texts for magazines, advertisements, websites, marketing materials, TV shows and movies, blogs, social media and so on.

It means that you can work as a blogger, journalist, screenwriter, biographer or copywriter depending on your preferences and interests.

There are some other job titles incorporated in various fields.

Moreover, you can choose to focus on some specific topics and issues or be a generalist and write different types of content.

There are lots of job offers provided by agencies, companies, and freelance platforms.

The only point that this sphere develops rather slowly and most writers nowadays are self-employed.

Nevertheless, it makes it easier to find some job offers and work on a part-time basis while pursuing your dreams.

Working as a freelance writer, you may not need to compete with other specialists to get a job but still, you should be skillful and experienced.

Of course, being a copywriter isn’t the same as being a fiction writer but still, it requires almost the same skills.

It means you need to have great writing skills, know text writing rules and be able to consider its purpose, tone, and audience.

Also, you should be able to make good revisions in order to prepare some high-quality content.

Moreover, working as a copywriter you can improve your skills constantly.

Salary: $58,850

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Writing, English, Journalism or Communications

Creative Field: The Written Word

Art Therapist

Creative Career, Art Therapist

If you aren’t only creative but also a supportive person who likes to help others, you may like working as an art therapist.

This profession requires psychology knowledge in order to understand people’s behavior and way of thinking.

Also, you should be good at art and know how it can be used to help people to overcome their problems and disorders.

This career is really creative as it’s up to you which tools and methods you are going to use.

The main point is that you need to be able to choose those types of art that will help your clients.

For example, you can ask your clients to create some metaphorical image of their hopes or fears.

There is a bunch of job options for art therapists in schools, medical facilities, community centers, psychiatric hospitals and so on.

Just keep in mind that this career requires a great understanding of both art and psychology.

In order to become an art therapist, you need to work hard.

First of all, you need to get your bachelor’s degree in psychology as well as in art therapy which requires a good portfolio of artworks.

Also, you need to enroll in an internship to get plenty of experience.

Moreover, consider the fact that some states require a license to perform as an art therapist.

Salary: $55,900

Education: Master’s Degree in Art Therapy

Creative Field: Visual Arts


Creative Career, Editor

Those individuals who like working with texts and are detail-oriented may be interested in becoming an editor.

These specialists work in various spheres including advertising, broadcasting and newspaper, magazine and book publishing industries.

Of course, some specific duties may differ depending on the sphere, the editor’s main task is to prepare content for its publication.

Also, you should keep in mind that an editor is more detail-oriented career and require less creativity than other careers in our list.

For example, working as an editor you’ll be obliged to proofread content to make sure there are no grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes.

Editor’s duty is to check information used in the content to make sure its appropriate and authentic.

Finally, working as an editor, you should be able to make sure that the content is comprehensible and easy to read.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean the job doesn’t require any creativity.

Among the main duties of an editor, there is content planning, choice of topics and texts evaluation.

For example, editors in magazines and publishing companies read a manuscript and decide whether it should be published or not.

Also, editors support writers and help them to find some inspiration, decide on text style and word choice, create characters and so on.

Newspaper and magazine editors are responsible for content choice in order to provide readers with really interesting and catchy texts and stories.

Moreover, some editors even resolve the issues of content layout which requires some good design skills.

If you want to work as an editor, you need to be a good leader as well.

Being a managing editor, you need to be able to organize the work of a whole department and make sure everyone and everything works properly.

The main duties of an executive editor include a choice of topics and ideas, and content revision and broadcasting as well as managing the work of assistant editors.

Nowadays, editing is a competitive sphere of work.

If you want to enter this field, you need to have a degree in writing, communications, journalism or another related subject.

You should know that most editors start as writers, reporters or editorial assistants.

If you want to get some experience, you may enroll in an internship or become a member of a college or school newspaper team.

Salary: $54,890

Education: bachelor’s degree in Writing, Communications, English or Journalism

Creative Field: The Written Word 

Interior Designer

Creative Career, Interior Design

Being an artist doesn’t mean you are obliged to work on canvas only.

There are lots of other options such as physical space around you.

If you are interested in such a career, you should consider becoming an interior designer.

You should know that there are numerous job options in design services, engineering and architectural services, furniture stores, wholesale trade, and residential building construction.

Moreover, there are lots of offers for freelance designers.

Working as an interior designer you should have good communication and listening skills in order to be able to understand your clients and make their needs come true.

Of course, a bunch of creative skills is required as you need to be able to create something appealing and unique and visualize it.

In other words, you need to have a good imagination and great painting skills.

Moreover, you must be good at space planning as you should be able to make it beautiful, safe and comfortable.

Finally, it’s important to have a good understanding of various materials, elements, and decorations.

Keep in mind that you need to be good at both sketch drawing and computer painting to be able to present your ideas.

Nowadays, designers often use some specialized software to visualize their ideas.

Also, it’s important to be a good planner in order to complete a task in time and regarding the budget.

Working as an interior designer, you may create projects for various types of clients or focus on a specific field like office design, apartment design or specific space like bedroom design.

Nowadays the sphere develops slowly but still, there are lots of career options.

If you want to enroll in this career, you need to complete your training first of all.

The main point is that you need to have a good background in drawing, interior design and computer-aided design (CAD).

You should know that there is plenty of training programs for interior designers, you only need to choose the one that suits your needs.

Also, make sure to prepare a good portfolio to show your proficiency, skills, and talent.

Some states require a license in order to start working as an interior designer.

Salary: $48,400

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design

Creative Field: Design

Graphic Designer

Creative Career, Graphic Designer

Working as a graphic designer, it’s not enough to be good at fine arts as companies and organizations need to present some ideas through images.

Graphic designers use their skills and talent to create logos and images for advertisements, magazine publication, websites, product packaging, brochures, and other marketing and promotional materials.

They use specialized software and sketches to present some ideas and concepts.

First of all, you should be able to gather info about the project including the audience, goals, and ideas.

After it, you need to think over the information and decide how it can be presented through the image.

Then, you start working on the drafts and the final image itself.

As soon as the task is completed it should be revised and, if necessary, you need to make some changes and improvements.

If you want to be a good graphic designer, you should be really skillful in drawing and computer design as well as highly creative.

Graphic designers are also called communication designers or graphic artists.

The main duty of a graphic designer is to decide on an original design that is catchy, unique and appealing.

Also, it’s really important to be able to perform these ideas using your skills in such spheres as:

  • graphic digital illustration;
  • graphic design;
  • layout and photo editing software.

Moreover, you need to be good at choosing fonts, colors, shapes, elements and so on as it can affect the final result greatly.

There are numerous career options in such spheres as specialized design services, advertising and public relations, publishing, printing, and wholesale trade.

Also, a great number of graphic designers work as freelancers.

If you want to work as a graphic designer you need to complete your training and obtain some crucial knowledge and skills.

During your training, you are going to learn such disciplines as design principles, commercial graphics production, studio art, printing techniques, computerized design, and website design.

Also, you need to pay much attention to your portfolio collecting their best works that can show your talent and skills.

Salary: $45,900

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design

Creative Field: Visual Arts and Design

There are lots of career options for those individuals who are interested in art and really creative.

You just need to learn about all the offers and choose the one that suits your skills most of all.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you sell art without a degree?

You do not need a degree or any kind of certificate to sell art.

You may sell art you made, or someone else’s art assuming you have their permission.

Art is very subjective, and that is one reason a license is not required.

In some ways, it is also like any other piece of property that anyone can buy or sell as they choose.

What are jobs that involve art besides being an artist?

There are many jobs related to art that does not involve being an artist.

Any kind of supportive role, such as providing or selling the materials.

Some consider a graphic illustrator more of a technician than an artist.

In music, you could learn to operate sound systems or set up the stage.

Do artists need a DBA?

There could be many reasons for having a DBA (business account) as an artist, but they are not required.

You can practice your art and never sell it, and many people sell art on a small scale where no licensing is needed.

A lot depends on the scale of your operation.

As you grow you may need one.

What art job pays the most?

A few artists become stars and make millions, but most people who make a living at art are on a much smaller scale.

A creative director or a design manager could make up to $100,000 per year.

A creative director could work in advertising, music, graphics, movies, or similar areas.

Can I be a self taught artist?

Many artists are self-taught, and at least show some promise with their art before going to school to get a degree in art.

Especially in music, people teach themselves along with what they learn from teachers.

In art, it matters more what you can do than what degree you might hold.

How do freelance artists start?

Freelance artists start by letting those that buy art know they are available.

Artists need to work on their craft, and once they are proficient, they can find ways to do work on a freelance basis.

You need to have some work to show that you can do the art.

Writers often do this, but photographers, graphic designers, and others can also do freelance work.

  1. Avatar for M M

    Where’s the jobs that don’t require a degree?

  2. Avatar for Rogine Rogine

    Hi, I’m still a student who loves to draw, I’m a portraiture of Graphite and colored pencils, I also an Editorial Cartoonist, is there any available opportunity for my skills?

  3. Avatar for Harpreet Harpreet

    Drawing and craft designer

  4. Avatar for Election Ndlovu Election Ndlovu

    I do drawings black and white realistic

    1. Avatar for Jeremiah Smith Jeremiah Smith

      Do you sell them. If so where, and how?

  5. Avatar for Karlee Karlee

    Since when is English art?

    1. Avatar for Jeremiah Smith Jeremiah Smith

      I guess when writing a novel, working in publishing. Wonder that myself.

  6. Avatar for Brandi Brandi

    The title states “Careers for artist without a degree” yet every one of these requires a degree of some sort. That was a misleading title. Disappointed!

    1. Avatar for Jeremiah Smith Jeremiah Smith

      Me too.

  7. Avatar for Rintu Sarkar Rintu Sarkar

    Hello! I am an Indian, I love art sculpture since I was a kid and I practice it myself . but I have yet to be clear on how I will make money based on this after learning art.

    1. Avatar for Jeremiah Smith Jeremiah Smith

      Have you tried starting at selling your work at flea markets to start with. You can also try setting up a booth at festivals (such as an art festival) The bordering towns I live in have festivals such as a pickle festival, blueberry festival, cotton festival, etc. Also you might want to contact your local art council. You can look up art dealers near you and see if they can help[ you.

  8. Avatar for Jackie Jackie

    Why does everything require a degree? You’d think for something art related, people would care more about your skills and abilities rather than your education level.

    1. Avatar for Jeremiah Smith Jeremiah Smith

      I agree. I love art. Am trying to get a job in the art business myself. Gonna have to go solo until I meet someone who can meet someone who can help me. My stepfather welded for a living then decided to metal sculpt when business was slow. He got invited to set up at the Azalea Festival in Wilmington NC years ago. He sold a few items, made some extra cash from left over metal.
      Some jobs do require a college degree, such as museum curator, advertising executive, teacher, etc. Although you can get a job in the field in some of these just learning the lingo, going to the library and getting books on art, also if you can become a intern (which can pay as you learn).

  9. Avatar for Anjali Anjali

    I am a student and I complete my graduation by mlt but I also like to draw pencil sketches.
    Please tell me about the career in sketching .

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