Career Development

Career Planning

Art Major Career Planning Options

  • Studio Art: Painting/Drawing
  • Graphic Design
  • Photography/Digital Media

Art evolves as an expression of the entire individual by challenging one's intellect, emotion, and spirit, to take creative risks in communicating ideas and feelings through various media. The professional art programs at Rivier University encourage students to develop their creative abilities while heightening their sensitivity to the visual world. Academic emphasis is in the Visual Arts encompassing Studio (Fine) Art, Design. Career paths for new art graduates are diverse and dependent upon one's interests, abilities, work values, academic emphasis, and practical experience in the field.

PLEASE NOTE: A decision was made in fall 2012 to phase out the concentrations of Studio Art: Painting/Drawing and Photography/Digital Media. This career guide will remain online in support of current students until the program is fully phased out. 


Art Major Skills 

Conceptualization (rational & intuitive) Visualization & presentation 
Creative communication of ideas & emotions  Spatial relations aptitude 
Knowledge of art history & culture  Attention to detail
Creative problem solving Computer imaging proficiency
Self-motivation  Independent worker 
Good imagination  Communication skills 
Strong sense of shapes, shading, & color  Able to critically analyze and interpret art
Mastery of art/design tools, ideas, & techniques  

*Design majors should also develop advanced computer imaging proficiency, knowledge of print and type, and the ability to work well with business clients while meeting project deadlines.
*The Photography/Digital Media Concentration also requires advanced computer imaging proficiency.



 Career Paths in Art 

Fine artists often specialize in media such as painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, photography, and digital imaging, for the purpose of distinctive self-expression. They may derive salaries by opening their own studios or by selling their work to museums, private collectors, art galleries, and stores. Some seek supplementary or alternative income as teachers, administrators, critics, designers, gallery directors, and in other related fields.  Many fine artists enter graduate programs that allow them to pursue college or university teaching careers. Graphic designers and illustrators are visual communicators who freelance and/or work for a firm, using various print, film, and digital media as a means to service commercial clients. Employers range from major corporations to smaller agencies in industries such as advertising, design, publishing, or broadcasting. Graphic designers and illustrators create brochures, posters, logos, product packaging, promotional materials, web page design, advertising imagery, and other projects involving visual communication. In general, art majors need not limit their careers strictly to the art world, as they can use their diverse liberal arts background to seek employment in interdisciplinary fields.

Art Graduates may work as...
(The following are titles from across the industry. Some of these jobs may require education or experience beyond a bachelor's degree)

Book Illustrator Medical Illustrator
Art Teacher Television Graphics Specialist
Art Therapist Exhibits Specialist
Art/Museum Curator Jewelry Designer
Architect Art Director
Art Historian Printmaker
Art Buyer Potter
Photographer Painter (Artist)
Sculptor Stained Glass Artist
Entrepreneur Art Appraiser
Illustrator Visual Journalist
Web Page Designer Graphic Designer
Fashion Illustrator Animator
Set Designer/Illustrator Freelancer
Fine Art Restorer Cartoonist
Multimedia Specialist Digital Artist
Advertising Artist Industrial Designer



Art graduates may work at..

Museums  Graphic Design Firms
Photography Studios   Private Schools 
Colleges & Universities  Broadcasting Companies
Self-Employment Magazines/Newspapers 
Manufacturers   Publishers 
TV & Film Industry   Public Relations Firms  
Printing Firms  Advertising Agencies  
Art Studios/Galleries   Business & Industry  
Interior Design  Departments 
Historic Sites  Theaters



Ways to Increase Employability

The following experiences can enhance one's leadership skills and work qualifications, while promoting networking relationships with fellow professionals. They also offer additional means to develop one's portfolio, an essential component of an art/design employment search.

  • Pursue elective coursework or additional training related to one's professional area of emphasis.
  • Participate in volunteer and service learning opportunities.
  • Become an active student member of university, community, or professional organizations.
  • Obtain practical experience through related summer, part and full-time jobs and internships.
  • Develop aptitude in computer design techniques and image making.

Sources of Information on Majors, Careers and Employment in Art 

  • Rivier University Faculty, Academic Advisors, & Art Department Resources
  • Professionals working in the field
  • Professional organizations
  • Rivier University Career Development Center Counseling Staff, website & office resources

Rivier University's Career Development Center Resources
Effective career decision-making evolves through a process of gathering accurate self-knowledge and significant information about the major or career being explored. The Rivier University Career Development Center offers individual counseling and career resources regarding self-assessment, career exploration, gaining practical experience, and job searching skills. For more information, contact us at 897-8246. The following is a partial list of career resources, available in our office, which may be of interest to Art Majors:

  • Great Jobs for Art Majors
  • 100 Best Careers for Writers and Artists
  • Becoming A Graphic Designer
  • Career Opportunities in Advertising and Public Relations
  • Career Opportunities in Television, Cable, Video, and Multimedia
  • Extreme Jobs for Creative People
  • Great Jobs for Art Majors
  • Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People
  • How to Survive & Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul
  • Peterson’s Graduate Programs in Humanities, Arts & Social Science
  • Careers for Fashion Plates & Other Trendsetters
  • Career Opportunities In Photography
  • Career for Culture Lovers & Other Artsy Types
  • Career Opportunities In The Visual Arts (Career Opportunities)
  • Extreme Jobs for Creative People
  • Becoming a Graphic Designer

Professional & Rivier University Organizations related to Art/Design 

Career Related Websites for Art/Design Majors 

  • ArtsEdge (Art and education links -great site for art ed majors)
  • ArtsNet (directory of arts and culture websites)
  • Career Resources for Creatives (Career links in the general arts, visual art, photography, design, acting theatre, dance, entertainment, media, communications, film & video, music, writing, poetry, etc.)
  • Arts Employment Resources (Lots of art and design job links; career & job info)
  • Internet for the Fine Arts (Network of artists, galleries, museums, & resources)

Major OptionsPortfolio ResumeNetworkJob-IntershipCareer Events