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Careers with a BFA: What To Do with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree

Graduates holding a BFA (a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree) may find careers as craft or fine artists, multimedia artists, actors, art directors, art teachers or writers. Students studying for this degree usually pursue majors like ceramics, creative writing, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, studio art, theatre or art education.

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Career Options for Graduates with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree

Students graduating with a BFA or Bachelor of Fine Arts have completed a course load that's two-thirds visual arts classes, because the BFA is an artist's professional degree. By comparison, students enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts program with an art major take a primarily liberal arts course load; about one third of the coursework is visual arts classes. According to the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design, the BFA degree prepares students well for professional careers in visual arts (www.aicad.org).

Craft Artist

With the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in majors like ceramics, jewelry, metalwork, textile design or fiber arts, craft artists show and sell handmade pieces and artwork in a variety of venues. Freelancing and working on commissioned projects is also possible. BFA classes allow students to pursue their area of interest in-depth and prove their ability to meet deadlines. Learners usually work out of owned or shared studio space.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) listed the median annual salary for craft artists at $30,400 in 2013. The BLS projects that craft artists will see a 3% increase in job opportunities between 2012 and 2022.

Fine Artist

Fine artists in training typically earn a BFA degree in studio art. They may choose a concentration in sculpture, painting, illustration, photography or printmaking. Studio art coursework refines artists' technical skills and creative talents and guides them to develop their own artistic style.

These graduates may become sculptors, painters, illustrators or printmakers. They may work independently, displaying and selling work through their studios or art galleries. Fine artists may also work for commercial art studios, design companies, publishers or ad agencies. Some pursue freelance work or accept commissions. The BLS said these artists were earning a median wage of $42,610 a year in 2013 and should see an employment growth of 4% during the 2012-2022 decade.

Multimedia Artist

Using hand-drawn or computer-generated images, multimedia majors who graduate with BFA degrees can create animation sequences or storyboards. They work for ad agencies or for software, gaming, film or television companies. Multimedia artists use skills they've learned in art, computer and design classes.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), multimedia artists can expect a slower-than-average job growth rate of 6% between 2012 and 2022. In 2013, their median annual salary was $64,470, the BLS indicates.

Art Director

Graphic design or multimedia design majors who graduate with Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees and gain work experience can also become art directors. They've developed technical competence in computer art and design in BFA classes. Successful graduates also have proven ability to meet deadlines.

An art director typically guides the development of visual and written material through layout and design of artwork and copy. Art directors often work for ad agencies or publishing companies. The BLS indicates that art director opportunities are expected to increase 3% from 2012 to 2022, with a median yearly wage of $83,000 reported for the profession in 2013.

Art Teacher

BFA graduates with an art education major may be qualified to teach art in elementary, middle or secondary school if they earn a teaching certificate too. The program also prepares them for continued master's degree study that may be required by state education departments. Art education majors learn how to introduce kids to basic concepts in art, from hands-on activities in various artistic media to art history and art criticism.

According to predictions from the BLS, a 12% job growth rate is expected for elementary and middle school teachers from 2012-2022, while opportunities for high school teachers should increase by around 6%. In 2013, the BLS indicated that elementary teachers earned a median wage of $53,590 per year, middle school teachers $53,940 per year and high school teachers $55,360 per year.

Actor

Theatre majors who concentrate in acting and graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree can pursue careers on the screen or the stage. The classes they've taken helped them develop acting and performance skills. Job growth is expected to be lower than average from 2012 through 2022, according to the BLS, and actors can expect that hopeful applicants will significantly outnumber the available roles. BLS data from 2013 reflected a median hourly wage for actors at that time of $22.15.

Writer

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing may find jobs as journalists, technical writers, copywriters or freelance writers. They can work for advertising or public relations agencies and publishers, drawing on their educational experience in writing within assigned guidelines, working with others and meeting deadlines.

Writers and authors are expected to see a 3% employment increase between 2012 and 2022, as per BLS projections. Technical writers, on the other hand, are predicted to experience a job growth rate of 15% during the same time period. The BLS reports that in 2013, authors and writers earned a median income of $57,750 per year, while technical writers brought in a median yearly salary of $67,900.

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

    • Bachelor
        • BFA - Fine Art
        • BFA in Art Education
        • BFA in Undeclared
        • BFA in Art Education - Sculpture
        • BFA in Fine Art - Painting
        • BFA in Art Education - Painting

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  • 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:
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Currently not accepting applications from Texas residents
    School locations:
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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania 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
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame 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
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art

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Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics