Creativity is far from just a skill; it’s an essential part of an identity. Why settle for a career that doesn’t allow creative individuals to shine? Creative people deserve equally creative careers — and yes, there are dozens of creative jobs that don’t require a degree!
Whether a self-taught photographer or a classically trained painter, rest assured that jobs for artistic people do exist. Today, we’ve gathered 25 of the top creative careers and jobs for creative thinkers, from photography and videography to creative writing and arts and crafts.
Photography & Videography Careers
Creatives with photography skills can share their gifts across a wide range of industries. As one of the many creative jobs that don’t require a degree, most photographers can discover professional work with a polished portfolio and general photography experience.
A few examples of photography creative careers include:
- Product photographer
- Wedding photographer
- Newborn photographer
- Real estate photographer
Check out our full Photography Careers Guide for more photography career options.
How Much Can a Photographer Make?
The general yearly salary for a photographer averages $43,114 per year but can vary depending on professional experience. Even those just beginning their photography career can find entry-level photography assistant positions. These opportunities can help set novice photographers on a strong path for career growth, potentially leading them to start a photography business.
Though a career in videography may require a bit more equipment than photography, it’s an awesome freelance or employment opportunity for creatives with a love for visual arts in motion. Videography skills are often highly requested across numerous industries for purposes including but not limited to advertisement commercials, music video production, and product marketing.
How Much Can a Videographer Make?
As of 2022, the average videographer’s salary sits at around $68,703 per year. It can range from $56,668 per year to $85,611 per year, depending on education and prior experience. Those of us looking to jumpstart our videography career can lock in some general videography knowledge and research local entry-level positions or apprenticeship programs.
Jobs with photography don’t all happen behind the camera. If you have the skills to edit photos, you are extremely hireable. There is a lot of work in the field, whether that’s through freelancing gigs (which, thanks to digital photography, can be done entirely online) or with an ad agency. While you may not be taking the photos directly, you will stay engaged with the art and the questions that surround its technique.
For those with a deep love for videography and the visual arts, plus a desire to take on a management-focused career, a creative career in film production is the way to go. These creative individuals are responsible for managing various stages of film production, ranging from early development to post-production on everything from small indie films or highly anticipated blockbusters.
Roles as a film producer often require a bit more experience and knowledge to help land a position. The current average salary for a film producer is $70,319 per year. Some positions offer upwards of $135,000 per year, depending on skills and experience.
Falling under the field of videography, video editors are responsible for editing recorded footage used in movies, television shows, company commercials, and online videos. Many businesses will seek video editing services on a project-to-project basis, making this a great freelancing opportunity for those with strong video editing abilities.
The average base annual salary for a video editor is approximately $38,850 per year. However, a video editor typically prices their professional services based on their experience and specific skills, which can significantly influence final income amounts.
Rather than capture art with a camera, a creative career in graphic design allows an artistic individual to create the art themselves. A graphic design career offers great freelance and employment opportunities, from developing gaming graphics to crafting custom company logos.
How Much Can a Graphic Designer Make?
The current salary average for a graphic designer is approximately $50,710 per year. With many graphic designers beginning their careers through self-taught online instruction, designers who continue to enhance their skill sets have a chance of securing higher-paying positions and projects.
Graphic designers who expand their expertise through continued education and ongoing experience can land more advanced roles. For example, the salary for senior designers averages $82,384 per year, and product designers earn an average of $102,237 per year.
Like graphic design, a creative job in web design also offers fantastic freelance and employment opportunities for those with an eye for art. This creative career pairs personal website design tools, including WordPress and Adobe Dreamweaver, with technical web development language skills, like CSS, Java, and Python, to create websites that are equal parts functional and visually appealing.
How Much Can a Web Designer Make?
For those with an established portfolio, web design offers great self-employment opportunities due to the project-to-project nature of this profession. However, the average annual salary is also $67,916 per year, so it’s crucial for web designers to stay up to date with current web design trends and skills, as many preferred web design tools and processes regularly update and change.
User experience (UX) design positions partner the skills of a web designer with the ability to make cloud-based programs and websites user-friendly. UX designers hone their skills to program and alter the functions and layout of a website or program to support customer satisfaction and accessibility.
How Much Can a UX Designer Make?
UX design positions average a yearly salary of roughly $98,816. Unlike other creative jobs that don’t require a degree, these jobs also require some college education.
People just beginning their UX design career path and those without college experience often start by teaching themselves UX design topics and skills.
Apart from the digital aspect of creative design, fashion design offers robust creative potential for those interested in designing all types of clothing and accessories. This highly prized and competitive niche offers huge employment opportunities with various fashion brands. We can also consider freelance design opportunities to create a proprietary clothing brand.
How Much Can a Fashion Designer Make?
Due to fashion’s varying nature in price and popularity, salary amounts fluctuate with a current average of $75,810 per year. However, those who enter the entrepreneurial space of fashion design can experience far beyond average salary amounts dependent on personal success.
Interior design is a highly desired job for artistic people that offers excellent employment opportunities with design firms. Interior designers are responsible for using their keen eye for aesthetics to create visually appealing residential and commercial interior spaces with a curated selection of wall colors, furniture, and other design elements.
How Much Can an Interior Designer Make?
The average annual interior design salary is roughly $52,034, with previous experience and education qualifications potentially affecting this amount. Many design firms often request educational design experience. Yet rising interior designers can get a taste of industry expectations through online education.
Securing a role as an art director is built for those seeking a bit more of a management position. Art directors are responsible for overseeing the visual design aspects of a media campaign and often manage and mentor entry-level designers.
How Much Can an Art Director Make?
Art director roles are considered senior-level positions and offer an average annual salary of $100,890. Due to the high level of this position, companies seeking an art director often require multiple years of experience and a bachelor’s degree in an art and design subject.
Those searching for creative jobs that don’t require a degree may want to consider jewelry design. While major jewelry companies may offer design assistant positions, many people opt to design jewelry through their own small businesses.
In fact, the booming popularity of e-commerce has enabled jewelry design entrepreneurs to sell their work directly through online marketplaces such as Etsy.
How Much Can a Jewelry Designer Make?
Jewelry designers hold an average annual salary of $42,501. However, those who tap into the entrepreneurial space of jewelry design may see a much higher wage.
As one of the top jobs for artistic people, motion designers leverage graphic design skills to create web, television, and film content with animation and visual effects that put their art into motion. Motion designers will often work alongside various marketing and production companies to help craft animated commercials, trailers, and mobile app openings.
How Much Can a Motion Designer Make?
Many motion designers work freelance and offer their skills on a project-to-project basis and can make an average of $60,703 per year, depending on professional experience and portfolio presence.
Visual arts may not be for everyone. Some of us have a deep passion for music production, which we can develop into creative careers as well.
Music producers are responsible for leading the creative and technical development of music recordings ranging from a single song to an entire studio soundtrack. Producers work hand-in-hand with those in the music business, managing songwriters, audio engineers, and artists as a team to help craft an awesome audio project.
How Much Can a Music Producer Make?
Because of the expansive level of industry success a music producer can encounter, yearly salary amounts can average anywhere from $70,326 per year to upwards of a multi-million dollar amount.
For those who enjoy entertainment and are looking to take their music career outside of the studio, entering the professional DJ space may be the answer. From mastering the machine to getting the scratching down pat, DJing involves numerous music mixing skills that we can use to host parties, work on a radio station, and create custom medleys.
How Much Can a DJ Make?
A professional DJ’s salary averages $58,267 per year. Yet, as with most careers in music, the exposure level and demand for services can significantly impact a DJ’s salary.
An audio engineer is responsible for the numerous mechanical and technical components of sound, whether it’s for music recordings, television shows, or even video game sound reels. A creative ear is essential, as responsibilities include recording, editing, and reproducing enjoyable audio files.
How Much Can an Audio Engineer Make?
The current average annual salary for an audio engineer totals $51,774 per year. This income can climb upwards of $136,500 per year with added experience. For those looking to enter the field, online audio engineering classes can offer excellent insight into the skills needed to become successful.
Often referred to as production sound mixers, sound mixers lead the process of capturing, editing, and uploading audio for television, film, and music operations. Sound mixers are often responsible for overseeing the entire audio production team, which makes for the perfect creative career for those seeking a management position in the music industry.
How Much Can a Sound Mixer Make?
A professional sound mixer can earn an average annual salary of $62,809 or more, depending on the level of experience and general industry education.
Arts and Crafts Careers
Some of us love to paint but have never considered it as a potential career path. Yet professional painters can sell their work, commission their paintings to corporate or private collections, and work on specific projects to make money. Likewise, those who can demonstrate strong painting skills can also teach art classes or workshops.
The yearly salary for an artistic painter truly cannot be averaged to a general amount. As with many artistic career routes, yearly income amounts will rely on the artist’s success and the exposure they receive. Another contributing factor is whether painting is a side hustle or a full-time freelance gig.
Another option for those of us with a passion for drawing is to become an illustrator. With both freelance and employment opportunities available, illustrators play a huge role in all things that require physical drawing.
How Much Can an Illustrator Make?
Illustrator careers can stretch from magazines and children’s books to fashion design and advertisements. Depending on skill level and general level of experience, illustrators can earn an average annual salary ranging from $21,500 to $131,500.
20.Online Craft Seller
For us creatives who create pottery or macrame plant hangers, there are online opportunities to sell our artwork — and even take special requests from customers looking to use our skills to create something custom. The trick is to master the art of running an online craft shop like in a platform like Etsy or similar platforms.
Like painters, online craft sellers can earn a wide range of salaries. Creative individuals can benefit from learning craft business basics, like establishing a personal shop, to create endless opportunities to share their skills with the world and also turn a profit. Plus, a personal shop with traction can quickly turn a side gig into a full-time self-employed operation.
Creative Writing Careers
In terms of creative writing career paths, copywriting tends to take the cake. From blog writing for big companies to creating website copy and product descriptions for small businesses, copywriting skills are present just about anywhere there’s text.
Copywriting offers great freelance, side-hustle, and employment opportunities, with many successful writers sourcing their guidance strictly from creative writing classes.
How Much Can a Copywriter Make?
The current average salary for a copywriter is $54,184 per year. This amount can increase with industry experience, client caliber, and skill.
Ghostwriters are the solutions for thought leaders and various industry professionals who want to write a book or start a blog, but simply don’t have the writing skills. Though ghostwriters do not receive a byline (credit) for their work, they still receive payment for each piece they author.
Many successful ghostwriters have a background in copywriting and other creative writing fields. Others hone their skills through self-education. As ghostwriters often operate independently as freelancers or side hustlers, yearly pay varies based on the number of projects and their cost.
23.Social Media Marketer
Individuals with both creative writing and social media skills who don’t want to take on long-form copywriting or ghostwriting projects may consider social media marketing. Social media marketers use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and now Tiktok to create, upload, and manage content that attracts and engages customers.
How Much Can a Social Media Marketer Make?
As with many creative writing careers, social media marketers can freelance or opt for a full-time position with an average salary of $56,423 per year. One way to learn the basics and jumpstart a career in social media is through online classes.
A career in journalism is a perfect match for those who have a passion for storytelling and staying connected with hot topics and global news. Journalists allow creatives to hone their writing skills to educate and inform readers on various topics through newspapers, magazines, or online publications.
Many professionals possess a degree in journalism. However, a degree is not always necessary if aspiring journalists can demonstrate previous work samples.
How Much Can a Journalist Make?
The average starting salary for a journalist is $41,968 per year, and career growth depends on the employing publication.
For those seeking creative careers that involve a challenge, try technical writing. Technical writers are responsible for transforming complex and difficult-to-digest topics into something all readers can understand. Technical writers often create product guides, medical manuals, and other documentation to be used as a reference following a product purchase or service request.
How Much Can a Technical Writer Make?
Due to the high-grade nature of this writing, the average salary for a technical writer is approximately $69,234 per year. With both freelance and full-time opportunities available, technical writers can score creative jobs by demonstrating robust knowledge in a particular niche.
Types of Career
Not all creative careers will require a 9 to 5 job. Before diving into the individual job types, consider the multiple types of careers that offer creative direction.
Freelance work is often not referred to as a job but rather as self-employment or a personal business. Instead of being employed by a single company or organization, freelance professionals offer their creative skills as a pay-per-service to various individuals and companies.
Likewise, freelance creative professionals can also take on contract work. This allows a creative to sign an agreement with a company to complete a project over a designated amount of time. But it does not deem the creative as an employee of that entity.
Talented and experienced freelance creatives can also take on much bigger endeavors and produce complete campaigns and projects for big brands, if you are one of them you can offer your time and skills in platforms like WorkingNotWorking.
Creative skills are in demand in many different industries, such as advertising, fashion, architecture, music and more. Companies are looking for talented individuals who can fit into positions such as design, photography, copywriting, editing, illustration, etc. and some may eventually move into management roles.
Creative management jobs allow creatives to use their skills to guide both the company’s creative processes and the employees’ artistic processes.
Creative managers — like art directors — often control higher-risk creative and decision-making abilities. Depending on the specific management position at hand, creatives may need to demonstrate proof of education and experience to gain the role.
Creative Side Hustle
Not all creatives are ready to leave their current job just yet, and that’s okay — that’s what a side hustle is for. A side hustle allows artistic people to use their skills as a service without committing to an entire business venture.
Writing, photography, and graphic design are just a fraction of the creative professions that make money as a side hustle while offering flexibility for those balancing a full-time job. Here are 25 different creative careers that can start as a side hustle and blossom into a full-time career.
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