Meet Your New Career—Turns Out the Best Paying Jobs for Art Majors Are in Fashion



According to Business Insider‘s list of the 20 highest paying jobs for art and design majors, if you’re a visual arts major with absolutely no interest in going into fashion, you can reasonably expect your earning potential to top out somewhere around $60,000.

The data, which puts chief fashion designer (an average median salary of $120,000), senior fashion designer ($98,000), design director, interior design ($79,000), fashion designer ($79,400), and senior industrial designer ($74,000) in the top five, comes from PayScale, a compensation database.

According to Business Insider, “the highest-paying jobs for art and design majors by first identifying the most common jobs for those with a bachelor’s degree (and nothing more) who work full-time in the US.” These positions were then ranked by “experienced median pay,” which is the median compensation typical for someone with an average amount of experience in that role.


It may come as no surprise that design jobs top the list—there’s a lot of money in the fashion industry, especially if you’re working for a major corporation—but while positions in the industries of film and media, graphic design, dance, and theater arts all make appearances, nothing in the visual arts realm even breaks the top 20.

Diane Von Fürstenberg working in studio.Photo: Bert Glinn (1976) via

Diane Von Fürstenberg working in studio.
Photo: Bert Glinn (1976) via

Obviously, this doesn’t take into account the incomes of people like Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, and even younger market darlings like Dan Colen and Oscar Murillo, who, it is safe to say, are raking in more than $120,000 a year. Nor does it take into account people who graduate with a fine arts degree but choose to pursue art as a dealer, advisor, curator, or high-ranking museum director (see Museum of Modern Art Reveals Glenn Lowry’s Whopping $2.1 Million Package Amid Staff Protest Over Healthcare Cuts).

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

And while a career at the top of the fashion food chain might translate into a handsome salary, it’s certainly not going to be easy to get there. The fashion industry, much like the art world, is notoriously competitive, especially if you have your eye set on becoming (or even working for) a big-name designer.

To the world’s young, idealistic creatives, we say this: maybe consider a double major?

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