Employment Statistics

The creative economy is driven by creators

The question is not whether to go to art school, but why go anywhere else? In employer survey after employer survey, the most important qualities sought in employees are those embodied by the artist and cultivated through artistic training: creativity, unconventional and innovative thinking, intellectual risk-taking, the ability to work independently and collaboratively, empathy, and intuition. And Watkins, because it is situated in the heart of America’s “It” City—with all its creative fields burgeoning—is the ideal place to begin one’s career path. Our statistics bear this out. Watkins recently completed a 12-year survey of alumni employment. Although we were unable to track every alumnus who graduated since 2003, here’s a breakdown of those we tracked.

Film (BFA Degree)
85 percent work in film or film-related careers or are currently in graduate school
13 percent are employed but not in film-related positions

Fine Art (BFA Degree)
77 percent work as artists or in art-related careers or are currently in graduate school
16 percent are employed but not in art-related positions

Graphic Design (BFA Degree)
91 percent work as graphic designers or in design-related careers or are currently in graduate school
8 percent are employed but not in graphic-design related fields

Interior Design (BFA Degree)
94 percent work as interior designers or in design-related careers or are currently in graduate school
5 percent are employed but not in interior design-related fields

Photography (BFA)
91 percent work as photographers or in photography-related fields or are currently in graduate school
9 percent are employed but not in photography-related fields

Potential Careers

We also looked at median salaries for careers in our disciplines as provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to gain an accurate picture of the jobs connected to the visual arts. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does provide a glimpse of the high employability among working artists.

In film and television

  • Film Editor  $82,190
  • Photographer $42,640
  • Set Designer $57,640
  • Art Director $101,170

In photography and fine art

  • Sociologist $86,840
  • Family therapist $54,090
  • High school art teacher $61,280
  • Curator $58,910
  • Web developer $72,150
  • App designer $104,300

In graphic design and illustration

  • Animator $72,200
  • Art Director $101,170
  • Graphic Designer $52,290
  • Illustrator $57,410
  • Software Developer $100,080

In interior design 

  • Interior Designer $56,220
  • Art Director $101,170
  • Museum Technician $52,460
  • Architect $76,260
  • Construction Manager $99,510
  • Landscape Architect $68,820
  • Commercial Designer $70,880

Alumni Careers

What else can you do with a degree in the visual arts? Below is a partial list of the positions currently held by our alumni. For additional information on how visual arts graduates are succeeding in the workforce, check out the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) developed and distributed by Indiana University.


  • Director
  • Producer
  • Senior Editor
  • Digital Media Engineer
  • Production Company Owner
  • TV Art Director
  • Screenwriter
  • Photography Studio Owner
  • Film Equipment Manager
  • Cinematographer
  • Museum Art Preparer
  • Interactive Developer
  • Director of Technology
  • Camera Operator
  • Sound Effects Editor
  • Exhibiting Video Artist
  • Sports Director
  • Special Effects Supervisor
  • Scenic Artist
  • Script Supervisor
  • Media Buyer
  • Videographer
  • Location Sound Specialist

Fine Art

  • Exhibiting Artist
  • Costume and Fantasy Art Designer
  • High School Art Teacher
  • College Art Teacher
  • Portrait Painter
  • Director of Design
  • Gallery Owner
  • Senior Designer for Retail
  • Museum Curator
  • Exhibition Designer
  • Performance Artist
  • Display Designer
  • Jewelry Designer
  • Visual Merchandiser
  • Muralist
  • Floral Designer
  • Film Production Art Director

Graphic Design

  • Graphic Designer
  • Illustrator
  • Poster Designer
  • Web Developer
  • Senior Designer for Record Label
  • High School Art Teacher
  • Art Director
  • Creative Director
  • Lead Designer for Apparel Design Company
  • Book Designer
  • Design Company Owner
  • UX/UI Developer
  • Communications Consultant
  • Owner – Museum Display Company

Interior Design

  • Residential Designer
  • Commercial Designer
  • Director of Design
  • Senior Clinical Consultant
  • Cabinet Design Representative
  • Paint Color Specialist
  • Feng Shui Specialist
  • Kitchen and Bath Designer
  • Purchasing Specialist
  • Construction Coordinator
  • Film Production Designer
  • Architect
  • CAD Designer
  • SketchUp Renderer
  • Museum Designer
  • Facilities Planning Specialist


  • Exhibiting Photographer
  • Commercial Photographer
  • Wedding Photography Company Owner
  • Studio Assistant
  • Director of Creative Services
  • Magazine Photographer
  • High School Art Teacher
  • College Photography Instructor
  • College Digital Art Instructor
  • Catalogue Photographer
  • U.S. Department of Defense Photographer
  • Book Bindery Studio Owner