You may hear from well-meaning naysayers that you can’t do anything with an art degree, and that you should invest in something more practical -- such as accounting or business management. In reality, there are plenty of opportunities to put your bachelor’s degree to good, practical use while staying true to your passion and maybe even enjoying the college experience.
Develop a technical skill that coincides with your major. For example, if you learn photography, the arts degree can open doors to a photography studio position or a job at a magazine or ad agency. Learn how to sew and bring your degree to a fashion house, or get really good with design software so that you can create websites for clients who don't have an artistic bent.
Land an internship at a museum or gallery. You can work as a curator, dealer or art collection manager after getting some hands-on experience. Use your degree as an entry into the world of art sales and become an agent for artists, manage a gallery, or even open your own shop.
Write for the school paper while you’re still in college to get clips you can use when you apply for work as an art critic or journalist covering the arts. Magazines and local newspapers often use freelancers to cover the arts, so pitch story ideas to the editors. The professional clips will add to your credibility when you graduate and look for a position with a magazine or newspaper.
Go commercial and get into advertising. Graphic artists, copy writers and illustrators all play roles in developing ad copy. You can land work with a marketing agency, advertising shop or even do freelance work directly for clients or agencies.
- Build a portfolio of your work while you’re still in school so you’ll be ready for the job interviews. If you major in writing, get as many published clips as you can. If you publish cartoons, save copies for your portfolio. The same goes with pictures of your fashion or furniture designs, drawings and paintings. Maintain a list of links to your online work so that you can include them on your resume and in your portfolio. A portfolio is important because it’s how you show your talent and experience to recruiters.
- You can teach art classes in kindergarten and elementary schools with just a bachelor’s degree, but many school systems require you to have a secondary major so that you can double-up and teach another subject, such as math or science.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."