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Arts Careers

Redesign of Clark-Lindsey by Pragya Maheshwari, BFA Exhibition 2020

3M | Amtrak | Chicago Public Schools | John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts | McKenna Design Group | Walt Disney Imagineering | Steppenwolf Theatre | Solstice | Metropolitan Planning Council | Whirlpool Corporation | Infinity Arts Academy | Ravinia Festival | OKW Architects

Our students have recently secured jobs or internships here and at many more organizations around the world.

Creativity, innovative problem solving, collaborative emphasis, effective decision making, critical analysis, technological expertise—these qualities are in demand by billion-dollar corporations, nonprofits, universities, world-class performing groups, startups, and distinguished organizations. Our graduates are making a difference at them all. A degree in the arts focuses on these critical components for success, and students are also encouraged to discover their identities as members of a global community, create distinctive work, identify connections, adapt, and see both the fine details and the big picture.

Our graduates work as toy designers, producers, recording engineers, yoga instructors, historic preservationists, video artists, mechanical engineers, scholars, choreographers, art teachers, green energy consultants, theatre critics, construction managers, professors, artistic directors, surveyors, event planners, conductors, lighting designers, and arts administrators.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • The median wage for art and design positions was $48,130 in May 2019, which was above the average for all careers.
  • Dancers and choreographers are expected to have an increased number of employment opportunities through 2029.
  • Urban planning offered a median salary of $74,350 in 2019 and had a robust amount of job openings.
  • People with skills in animation and visual effects will be in high demand as media platforms expand.
  • The job outlook for producers and directors is good: much faster than average growth is expected for the next decade.

The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project reports that as of 2017, 67 percent of arts alumni were directly working in an arts-focused job, and 98 percent were staying involved through volunteer work, hobbies, attendance at events, or monetary donations. Many credit their training in critical thinking, problem solving, using feedback, and artistic technique for their success. And they're happy with their college experience: 86 percent would recommend their institutions to degree-seeking students.

What can graduates from the programs at Illinois do? Almost anything. Our Career Services Office can help students target and achieve their goals.