Job Market Outlook for Artists and Designers

The job outlook for artists and designers is diverse, even though the Bureau of Labor Services reports that 62% of artists in 2006 were self-employed. Depending on whether you want to freelance, enter a business-oriented industry, or take a job in an art-related field but work for a structured company, your job outlook will vary. There were 218,000 employed artists in 2006, but that number is expected to increase 16% until the year 2016, according to the BLS, but competition for those jobs is still expected to be intense, as there are generally many more artists and designers than there are open jobs. Self-employed artists and designers enjoy varying levels of success and manage businesses in jewelry and crafts, selling their own paintings and pieces, working as an interior designer, a consultant, multimedia designer, website designer, illustrator and a lot more.

The BLS also reports that some of the more popular positions for artists include those working in illustration and the fine arts, multimedia, museums, newspapers and magazines, art direction, publishing, design firms, software publishing and more. The industry that is expected to open up the most new jobs to artists and designers is the computer, software and multimedia industry, as there is an increasingly high demand for graphic designers, software designers, animators, special effects designers, and interactive design. This need for computer-trained artists will also translate into business-oriented industries, like advertising, public relations and marketing, which employ many artists. Another popular career path that is emerging due to advanced computer and multimedia techniques is game design and other 3D design projects in movies, computer imaging and more.

Artists and designers who choose not to be self-employed can find work by researching opportunities at art galleries, TV and movie studios, newspapers and magazines, advertising agencies and in-house advertising departments, computer and digital imaging departments, theaters, architecture firms, interior design and decorating firms, fashion houses and more. The group that is projected to experience the most job growth until 2016 are multimedia artists and animators, who should see a 26% increase in job openings. The next two highest groups are fine artists, who will see a 10% increase, and art directors, who should experience a 9% increase and who earned in 2006 a median salary range of $49,480 and $94,920.

Those who want extra assistance with their own projects may apply for grants from private organizations or government sponsored groups like the National Endowment for the Arts. There are also a number of freelance job boards online, including networks just for artists and networks that cater to niche job markets, like graphic designer boards or CreativeHeads.net, which chiefly advertises jobs in software development, animation, game design, multimedia and web design.

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