Art Director: Employment Information & Requirements

Read about a career in art direction. Research the educational and skill requirements, and learn about the job description and employment and salary outlook for an art director.

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Job Description

Art directors oversee the creation of visual material for advertisements, print publications, product packaging, film productions and other outlets. Art directors typically manage other staff members, including designers, artists and writers. They may look over specific elements, such as design concepts, original or stock artwork, layouts and the stylistic components of written materials. They may also create budgets and deadlines, collaborate with other departments like copywriting or production and communicate with clients throughout the project's lifespan.

Most art directors work for advertising and public relations firms, print and online publications, design companies or the motion picture and entertainment industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that nearly 60% of art directors were self-employed in 2010. People in this position typically work full time and spend the majority of their time in an office or design studio.

Educational Requirements

Art director positions typically require a bachelor's degree in an art or design major such as fine art, visual communications or digital media. Depending on their industry, art directors may have several years of work experience in graphic design, photography, illustration or other fields. Some art directors pursue a master's degree in fine arts or business administration to prepare for a leadership role.

Required Skills

According to the BLS, art directors need the following traits for success:

  • Excellent aesthetic judgment
  • Strong leadership skills to oversee the work of other artists
  • Creativity and superb communication to develop products that meet clients' needs
  • Ability to prioritize work and manage deadlines

Employment and Salary Outlook

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for art directors was $80,880 in 2012. Employment in the field was expected to grow 9% from 2010-2020, which was slower than the national average for all occupations. Because the production of print publications is decreasing, new jobs will likely require interactive media skills, such as Web page design.

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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (14)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (5)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (2)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (4)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (5)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (2)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    What is your classroom preference?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Florida (1 campus)
    • Texas (1)
    • Washington (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Non-Degree
        • Advanced Multimedia Development Certificate
        • Multimedia Development Certificate

    Do you prefer online or campus based learning?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Colorado (1 campus)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • BFA in Undeclared
        • BFA - Fine Art
        • BFA in Art Education
        • BFA in Ceramics
        • BFA in Art Education - Sculpture
        • BFA in Fine Art - Painting
    • Non-Degree
        • Certificate in 3D Animation - Character Animation
        • Certificate in 3D Animation - Pre-Production

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art History
        • Arts Management
        • Painting
        • Sculpture
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Virginia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Mason University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Arts Management
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Florida State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art History
        • Arts Management
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Oregon (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Oregon include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
        • Arts Management
        • Ceramics
        • Metal and Jewelry Art
        • Multimedia Arts
        • Painting
        • Printmaking
        • Sculpture
        • Weaving and Textile Arts
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Kentucky include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art History
        • Arts Management
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Illinois (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at DePaul University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
        • Arts Management
      • Musical Arts

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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