If you’re a fine arts major, you’re probably familiar with the old saw, “a fine arts degree plus fifty cents will get you a cup of coffee.” While the saying is not entirely accurate, it’s true that artists usually have a harder time than other professionals when it comes to earning money right out of the gate. Fortunately, there are a number of career paths available to fine arts majors who possess pure raw talent and a willingness to work hard.

Graphic Design

This is a great field to get into if you have a flair for the visual, as print design encourages the unique presentation of familiar ideas. It’s a job that requires a good deal of self-discipline, as well as the ability to multitask, since you’ll likely be working on more than one product at a time. While the entry-level jobs can be grueling and unrewarding at first, the experience gained will pay off in the end.


While this path is somewhat more traditional, there’s still plenty of room for intellectually creative individuals to spread their wings. There’s also something to be said for the job security factor, which is markedly higher than most liberal arts majors can expect to enjoy. Traditionally, the ones with fine arts backgrounds end up in the copywriting or art direction departments, depending on their personal skill sets. It’s essential to be a team player in this profession, as ad campaigns require input from many different sides.


Even if you’d eventually like to earn money exclusively through the creation of your art, you have to put food on the table in the meantime. A job teaching art or design at the grade school or high school level will provide both a reliable source of income and enough spare time to focus on personal projects. It’s also one of the most rewarding careers in its own right, though it’s not a good fit for the overly temperamental.


This is the toughest nut to crack, as most potential clients will want to see a portfolio of your past work before hiring. Networking early and often will increase your chances of landing a paying gig. If you have the talent and reliability, and are willing to be flexible regarding the client’s needs, you’re on the right track.

I, myself, completed college with a minor in fine arts, but my primary passion was helping animals, so I went into the veterinary profession. However, I still love photography and painting in my free time. It is a great creative outlet for minimizing stress and expressing yourself.