Crafts and Fine Arts Careers

Read on to learn about typical courses, resources, and careers in this field.

Staff Writer

2022-12-0115 min read

Craft and fine arts careers are concerned with work done where the imagination and hand of the maker are evident.

Craft and fine artists often seek to communicate ideas or feelings through their art and they do this through various materials and techniques.

Craft artists build handmade objects, such as pottery, glassware, textiles, etc.

Fine artists, such as painters, sculptors, and illustrators, create original works of art for their aesthetic value rather than for a functional one.

Read on to find everything you need in crafts and fine arts careers.

Why Choose Crafts and Fine Arts?

Crafts and fine arts build purpose, and the items produced through them have an economic impact and help create wealth.

Crafts and fine arts develop fine motor skills and increase agility, artistic skills, and speed.

Engaging in activities related to arts and crafts also leads to a tremendous improvement in hand-eye coordination.

Learning crafts and fine arts help you value and appreciate artifacts and images across cultures.

Using techniques such as knitting, weaving, painting, drawing and sculpting develop creative ideas.

Opting into this career has a lot of benefits.

How to Start your Crafts and Fine Arts Journey

Craft and fine art careers encompass various subjects, from art history to floral design to illustration.

Professionals typically choose a specific concentration in college and hone their skills for that particular industry.

Below is a list of educational requirements for a crafts and fine art career.

Educational Requirements

Associate Degree

As an entry-level degree, an associate prepares you for entry-level crafts and fine arts positions.

While this degree does not lead to advanced positions, it can expand employment opportunities in fashion, sculpture, painting, etc.

This degree also renders a basic overview of essential skills and concepts in the field, which will build a foundation for further study.

Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree offers a synopsis of the arts while vesting specialized knowledge in ceramic design, art history, etc.

A bachelor's degree is the minimum education requirement for most craft and fine art-related careers, teaching you the skills needed to pursue various positions with potential advancement.

It can also be the next step toward a graduate degree, such as a master's or doctorate.

Master's Degree

A master's degree is necessary for some craft and fine art careers, as it offers advanced knowledge and skills in one core area.

Graduate study builds on the skills gained in a bachelor's program, often conferring mastery of one artistic area, such as art directing, curating ceramic art, etc.

Most programs require two years of full-time study.

Many master's programs emphasize leadership skills, preparing students to assume management roles upon graduation.

Doctorate in Crafts and Fine Arts

A doctorate is the highest level of education available in the craft and fine arts, bestowing the most advanced knowledge and skills in a highly specialized area of study.

This degree requires substantial dedication, including several years of study, the completion of rigid exams, and a comprehensive final project -- typically a dissertation.

Employment Prospects

Crafts and fine arts graduates qualify for high-demand roles with high job satisfaction ratings.

With your associate's or bachelor's degree, you can work in an entry position with room for advancement.

On average, demand for employment in crafts and fine arts occupations enjoys 5,900 openings yearly.

Crafts and Fine Arts Career Forecast

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that crafts and fine arts occupations will grow by 6% from 2021 to 2031.

Most crafts and fine arts roles pay over $47,000, with several openings yearly.

Many craft artists supplement their income from other jobs.

Lucrative Crafts and Fine Arts Career Paths

Crafts and fine arts have various career paths and job prospects in different sectors.

Here are some of the crafts and fine arts careers.

Craft and Fine Artists

Craft and fine artists use different materials and fine art techniques to create original works of art for sale and exhibition.

Craft and fine artists create objects, such as pottery, paintings, glassware, illustrations, textiles, etc., designed to be functional and aesthetic.

Fine artists typically display their work in museums, commercial and nonprofit art galleries, art craft fairs, etc.

Most craft and fine artists spend time selling their artwork to potential customers and building a reputation.

Craft and fine artists improve their skills through practice and repetition.

Average Salary

Craft and fine artists earn a median annual salary of $49,960.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Use techniques such as weaving, painting, glassblowing, sculpting, drawing, etc.
  • Develop creative ideas for making art
  • Create sketches, templates, and models to guide their work
  • Select materials to use based on color, texture, strength, and other criteria
  • Shape, join, and cut materials for a final product
  • Complete grant proposals and applications to obtain financial support for projects
  • Use visual techniques to produce desired artistic effects
  • Develop portfolios highlighting their artistic styles and abilities
  • Display their work at auctions, craft fairs, galleries, museums, and online marketplaces

Industries Employing Craft and Fine Artists

  • Nonprofit art galleries
  • Private art galleries
  • Self-employed workers
  • Independent artists, writers, and performers
  • Federal government
  • Personal care services
  • Motion picture and sound recording industries
  • Commercial-art studios

Ceramic Artist

Ceramic artists shape, form, and mold artworks out of clay using a potter's wheel and other tools.

They glaze and fire pieces in kilns, which are large, special furnaces that dry and harden the clay.

Ceramic and glass artists must use caution when operating equipment and tools.

Average Salary

Ceramic** **artists earn a median annual salary of $44,599.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Shaping and firing clay
  • Create designs
  • Reproduce handmade objects for sale and exhibition

Industries Employing Ceramic Artists

  • Art galleries
  • Private collectors
  • Design studios
  • Museums
  • Corporate collections
  • Education institutes,
  • Product design companies

Fiber Artist

Fiber artists use yarn, fabric, and other natural and synthetic fibers to weave, knit, crochet, or sew textile art.

They may use a loom to weave fabric, needles to knit or crochet yarn, or a sewing machine to join pieces of fabric for quilts or other handicrafts.

Fiber artists improve their skills through practice and repetition.

Many fiber artists work in commercial art studios located in office buildings or lofts.

Average Salary

Fiber artists earn a median annual salary of $45,984.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Weave and sew textile art
  • Join pieces of fabric for quilts
  • Operate sewing machines

Industries Employing Fiber Artists

  • Art galleries
  • Private collectors
  • Design studios
  • Museums
  • Education institutes,
  • Product design companies

Glass Artist

Glass artists process glass in various ways, such as by blowing, shaping, or joining to create artistic pieces.

Specific processes used include glassblowing, lampworking, and staining glass.

Some of these procedures require kilns, ovens, and other equipment and tools that bend glass at high temperatures.

These workers also decorate glass objects, such as by etching or painting.

Average Salary

Glass artists earn a median annual salary of $42,950.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Designing projects,
  • Glass blowing
  • Decorating glass objects
  • Shaping, joining, and staining pieces to create art.

Industries Employing Glass Artists

  • Nonprofit art gallery
  • Self-employed workers
  • Independent artists, writers, and performers
  • Federal government
  • Personal care services
  • Craft fairs
  • Motion picture and sound recording industries
  • Commercial-art studios

Public Artist

Public artists create large paintings, sculptures, and displays called installations to be seen in public spaces.

These works are typically displayed in parks, museum grounds, train stations, and other public areas.

Average Salary

Public artists earn a median annual salary of $66,372.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • create large paintings and sculptures
  • Install displays in public spaces.

Industries Employing Public Artists

  • Museums
  • Government
  • Public Institutions
  • Personal care services
  • Motion picture and sound recording industries
  • Commercial-art studios

Art Director

Art directors make the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions.

They create the overall design and direct others who develop artwork or layouts some of them teach art classes.

Average Salary

Art directors earn a median annual salary of $100,890.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Determine how best to represent a concept visually
  • Determine the photographs, art, and other design elements to use
  • Develop the overall look and style of a publication
  • Manage graphic designers, set and exhibit designers, and other design staff
  • Review and approve designs, artwork, photography, and graphics
  • Talk to clients to develop an artistic approach and style
  • Coordinate activities with other artistic and creative departments
  • Develop detailed budgets and timelines
  • Present designs to clients for approval

Industries Employing Art Directors

  • Self-employed workers
  • Advertising, public relations, and related services
  • Motion picture and video industries
  • Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers
  • Specialized design services
  • Art related specialty

Concept Artist

Concept artists visualize and compose art for creative assets, including creatures, characters, vehicles, environments, etc.

They envision and create artwork in multiple mediums and design art in every phase of its production.

They also design spec sheets, showing dimensions and calculations for other artists and animators.

Average Salary

Concept artists earn a median annual salary of $51,933.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Audit a brand's visual language against other competitors
  • Identify trends and provide recommendations to the internal team
  • Lead creative projects in collaboration with project teams
  • Create visually relevant, engaging stories through both static and motion design concepts
  • Maintain strong command of visual design

Industries Employing Concept Artists

  • Advertising
  • Graphic design
  • Architecture
  • Print publications
  • Animation and video games.

Tattoo Artist

Tattoo artists create permanent images or words in clients' skin by injecting ink and other pigments underneath the skin.

Tattoo artists can set up their shops, work privately for clients, or work for others.

They must be able to adapt to client requests and accommodate client needs.

Average Salary

Tattoo artists earn a median annual salary of $39,348.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Apply stencils to clients' bodies to create a stencil template for a tattoo
  • Sterilize, and store equipment, materials
  • Create custom designs for each client's tattoo based on their concept or idea
  • Conduct consultations with clients to determine their ideas for tattoos
  • Discuss with clients about aftercare instructions, potential risks of infection, etc.
  • Draw sketches of designs provided by clients

Industries Employing Tattoo Artists

  • Self-employed artists
  • Private organizations

Mural Painter

With a background in craft and fine arts, Mural painters create artwork on walls and ceilings.

They use various painting techniques and styles, such as fresco and graffiti, to create visual art on canvas, tiles, plaster, or other surfaces.

Muralists can be contracted privately or publicly.

They also create decorative designs, such as portraits, abstracts, or landscapes, or functional structures, such as advertisements and company logos.

Average Salary

Mural painters earn a median annual salary of $48,029.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Understanding project needs
  • Estimate costs,
  • Propose original ideas
  • Create sketches and replicate works of art

Industries Employing Mural Painters

  • Self-employed
  • Private organizations
  • Advertising
  • Craft fairs
  • Freelance artists
  • Publication


Illustrators create pictures for magazines, books, and other publications and commercial products, such as textiles, stationery, wrapping paper, greeting cards, and calendars.

Illustrators increasingly use computers in their work.

They also draw with a pen or pencil and scan the image, using software to add color, or they might use a special pen to draw images directly onto the computer.

Medical and scientific illustrators are examples of illustrators that combine the knowledge of sciences with drawing skills.

Their illustrations are used in medical and scientific publications and audiovisual presentations for teaching purposes.

Scientific illustrators draw animal and plant life, and geologic and molecular structures.

Average Salary

Illustrators earn a median annual salary of $60,820.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Develop an overall design concept for a project
  • Create final artwork using computer software
  • Conduct research
  • Draw rough sketches of designs
  • Model costumes and other clothing items
  • Meet deadlines and work within budget constraints

Industries Employing Illustrators

  • Advertising
  • Publishing
  • Fashion
  • Medicine
  • Government

Jewelry Artist

Jewelry artists create original pieces of jewelry.

They work with various materials, including precious metals and stones, semi-precious gems, glass, wood, etc.

They take these raw materials and turn them into beautiful, functional jewelry that people will wear and display in their homes.

Jewelry artists must have an eye for detail and a strong sense of aesthetics.

Average Salary

Jewelry artists earn a median annual salary of $60,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Create sketches of new designs for pieces of jewelry
  • Develop new products
  • Present sketches and drawings to clients
  • Identify and source new materials and supplies to use in the design
  • Design jewelry using computer modeling programs such as AUTO CAD
  • Evaluate gemstones to determine their quality and suitability
  • Develop marketing plans for new designs

Industries Employing Jewelry Artists

  • Commercial art studios
  • Self-employed
  • Art fairs
  • Private art galleries
  • Cultural organization

Floral Designer

To create decorative displays, floral designers organize live, dried silk flowers and greenery.

They also help customers select flowers, containers, ribbons, and other accessories.

They use artistry and their knowledge of different types of blooms to choose suitable flowers or plants for each event.

Average Salary

Floral designers earn a median annual salary of $29,880.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Buy flowers and other products from wholesalers and suppliers
  • Determine the type of arrangement desired
  • Recommend plants or flowers following the customer's budget
  • Design floral displays

Industries Employing Floral Designers

  • Self-employed** **
  • Food and beverage
  • Wholesale trade
  • Art fairs
  • Art galleries


Printmakers create images on woodcuts or silk screens transposed onto surfaces using a printing press.

Printmakers design the prints and increasingly use electronic or digital printing processes alongside more traditional craft-based methods.

Self-employment among fine artists like printmakers is common.

Average Salary

Printmakers earn a median annual salary of $53,988.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Use printmaking techniques and computer-generated images to produce prints
  • Printing on a variety of surfaces
  • Respond to a client's brief;
  • Advise clients on the technical aspects of production

Industries Employing Printmakers

  • Commercial art
  • Private studio
  • Self-employed


Sculptors design and shape three-dimensional works of art by molding and joining materials such as clay, plastic, and metal and by cutting and carving forms from a block of plaster, wood, stone, etc.

Some sculptors combine various materials to create mixed-media displays called installations.

Average Salary

Sculptors earn a median annual salary of $38,147.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Devise forms from metal
  • Carve and form materials to desired shape
  • Mold clay into functional and artistic articles
  • Conceive and develop ideas
  • Select artistic media, method, and materials

Industries Employing Sculptors

  • Studio
  • Furniture design
  • Corporate collections
  • Interior design
  • Exhibition design

Furniture Designer

Furniture designers use drawings, 3D models, and prototypes to test and improve a piece of furniture before final production.

They assess models for stability, practicality, and beauty based on a particular design goal.

Average Salary

Furniture designers earn a median annual salary of $57,179.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Create and explain design concepts
  • Design exterior and interior furnishings
  • Discuss new designs with clients
  • Develop a budget for materials and construction
  • Share completed designs with clients for approval
  • Conduct market research to gauge customer reactions

Industries Employing Furniture Designers

  • Furniture and related product manufacturing
  • Wood product manufacturing
  • Self-employed workers
  • Specialty trade contractors


Curators overseas collections, including historical items and artwork, within an institution.

They also work for museums, historical sites, botanical gardens, zoos, and aquariums.

Average Salary

Curators earn a median annual salary of $53,468.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Negotiate prices or loan agreements of art during the procurement process
  • Design putting and arrange exhibit installments
  • Examine and analyze the authenticity of purchased pieces of art
  • Create interpretive content for visitors
  • Plan events, workshops, and lectures for artists and exhibits
  • Communicate with museum administrators, artists, and visitors
  • Travel for independent curator work

Industries Employing Curators

  • Museums
  • Zoos
  • Aquariums

How to Boost your Crafts and Fine Arts Career

There are several ways to boost your career after acquiring a degree.

You can take professional certification courses to advance your career, making yourself more attractive to hiring companies.

Other ways to boost your career include:

  • Join a professional craft and art society
  • Keep building your skills
  • Attend conferences and webinars
  • Keep up with your industry
  • Internships
  • Networking, etc.

Pros and Cons of Crafts and Fine Arts Careers

You can land high job demands with a crafts and fine arts degree.

Here are a few pros and cons of a crafts and fine arts career.


  • Become A Better Problem Solver
  • Self-Awareness & Expression
  • Flexibility
  • Ability to start your business from home
  • Scalable
  • Quick build time
  • Daily physical activity
  • Variety of job paths to choose from


  • Demanding clients
  • Challenges when starting a career
  • Inconsistency in work opportunities
  • Accidental injury

Skills You'll Develop While Studying Crafts and Fine Arts

Here are specific skills you will need to be proficient in, regardless of your role in crafts and fine arts.

These skills are essential as they provide a framework for career development.


Craft and fine artists use networking skills to market their abilities and art and to build relationships with other art experts.

These relationships are helpful when looking for work or advice because the artist can relate to other professionals in their network for help.

To advance your networking skills, consider creating a social media account dedicated to your work or attending industry conferences.


Craft and fine artists use communication skills when working with clients.

They need strong communication skills to build relationships with others and ensure that they understand their client's requests.

That includes updating their client as they progress on the artwork and listening to feedback.

Artists also use this skill to communicate with clients without industry jargon.

Time management

Because artists work under deadlines, these professionals must acquire strong time-management abilities.

That allows them to complete their work in a timely fashion without a need to rush.

Artists who possess these skills are often able to accept more clients at the same time, which can raise their earning potential.

Understanding Of Color Theory

Color theory is the study of how colors are created and how they work with each other.

The understanding of color theory allows artists to mix their colored art materials, such as paint, to create a new color and helps them pick an aesthetically pleasing color palette for their work.

Realistic drawing

Realistic drawing skills are the ability to draw artwork that mimics real life accurately.

Though not all craft and fine artists use this style, it's crucial to understand how to make art that looks realistic.

Mastering this skill can allow you to create realistic portraits, landscapes, and object-oriented art.

Artists use this skill to meet client expectations and create complex artwork in different art forms.

How to Prepare for a Crafts and Fine Arts Career

Below is how to prepare for a crafts and fine arts career and advance.

1. Take classes

Consider taking classes focusing on craft and fine art topics that interest you the most, such as sculpting or digital art.

Taking classes allows you to learn from a professional and can grant you valuable information on your preferred art medium and the industry.

Consider auditing a class at a post-secondary school in your area or from a community center.

Fine artists advance professionally by enrolling in an associate's or bachelor's program.

2. Develop your style

One way an artist can differentiate themselves from others in their field is to develop their style.

This can mean understanding a specific genre, technique, or niche topic, choosing a particular art medium to work with, etc.

To develop your style, observe other crafts and fine artists, including your peers and established professionals.

Observing other artists' art and techniques can help you decide which styles you like and give you ideas for developing your own.

3. Practice

Once you start developing your style, practice your craft and art by creating new pieces for your portfolio.

Try new crafts and art mediums as you practice and expand your skills.

This will help you understand which areas you must improve on and give you the confidence to advance your career as you build a portfolio.

Most craft and fine artists specialize in one or more types of art and successful artists continually develop ideas, making their work evolve.

4. Ask For Advice

Remember to ask for advice from your peers and other professionals.

Consider seeking out a mentor who understands your work and is available to answer questions you may have about the craft and art industry.

Asking for advice and being open to receiving feedback will help you improve specific skills that help you become a better craft and fine artist.

5. Promote your artwork

Craft and fine artists must promote themselves and their art to build a reputation.

They often study the market to get an understanding of what potential customers want.

Many craft and fine artists sell their work on the internet, therefore an online presence is an important part of art sales.

Crafts and Fine Arts Resources to Help Your Career

Below are educational and professional resources to help you start or advance a craft and fine arts career

How to Switch to a Crafts and Fine Arts Career

Most crafts and fine arts careers do not require a bachelor's degree.

As such, you don't necessarily need a degree to pursue a crafts and fine arts career.

However, advanced positions require specialized proficiencies and formal education.

Advanced education, certifications, and field experience often achieve these skills.

With these competencies, switching to craft and fine arts will be easier as it requires high precision.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Crafts and Fine Arts?

Crafts and fine arts is the creation of materials by hand, using any combination of materials such as clay, paint, fibers, or metal.

Craft artists work with different materials such as ceramics, textiles, wood, metal, etc.

Crafts and fine artists create art for aesthetic and functional purposes, such as weaving or ceramics.

Many different types of craft and fine artists each practice a unique art form.

What certification do I need for a Crafts and Fine Arts career?

Most fine artists pursue post-secondary education to earn degrees that can improve their skills and job prospects.

A formal educational credential is typically optional for anyone to be a craft artist.

However, it is only easy to gain adequate artistic skills with some formal education.

High school classes teach prospective craft artists the basic skills they need to excel to obtain a higher degree.

Those who want to teach fine arts must have a teaching certificate added to their bachelor’s degree.

Can I get a Crafts and Fine Arts degree online?

You can earn a craft and fine arts degree online.

You can earn one from a highly recognized and authorized art program that you can complete at your pace, including coursework.

What fields can Crafts and Fine Arts professionals work in?

Anyone with a degree in crafts and fine arts can work in any craft and fine art-related industry, depending on their education level, skill sets, and experience.

Lucrative opportunities include:

  • Craft and fine artist
  • Glass artist
  • Printmaker
  • Sketch artists
  • Curator
  • Furniture designer
  • Floral designer, etc.

Some of these artists work in museums or art galleries while others teach craft or conduct workshops in their own studios.

Is there a high demand for Crafts and Fine Arts majors?

According to BLS, the employment of craft and fine artists is projected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Craft and fine artists held about 53,400 jobs in 2016.

Final Thoughts

Obtaining a degree in crafts and fine arts can prepare you for various positions in the art industry.

Depending on your interests, you can work in any space you choose. From ceramic artistry to art directing, the options are abundant.

Whatever your options, this guide will provide you with the necessary information to break into the crafts and fine arts field.

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