What is a Bachelor of Arts degree? While, technically, this general undergraduate degree type can apply to a wide spectrum of majors ranging from history and communications to sociology and psychology, many might think of this title as a designation for someone who studied the fine arts and earned an “art degree.” 


In fact, a student can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Art. However, that same student may also opt for a Bachelor of Science in Art, as the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) are the two most common four-year undergraduate degree designations in the United States. Although the overarching differences between these degree types can be hazy, the BA may focus more on abstract ideas and theoretical concepts, whereas the BS tends to focus more on technical specifics and practical applications. 

What can you do with an art degree? Depending on the institution that offers it, a university BA or BS art program might focus on anything from traditional painting and sculpture to modern computer imaging and graphic design. Because most undergraduate programs have a relatively broad purview and provide a foundation of artistic education that spans genre and medium, they can prepare students for a variety of available career paths. 

What Can You Do With an Art Degree? Exploring Career Options 

Practicing the arts requires tremendous talent, focus, and dedication. And though competition for success at the professional level is certainly fierce, pursuing a career as an artist isn’t as financially unwise as some make it out to be, you could travel any number of exciting and rewarding professional paths with an art degree. These may include longstanding traditional positions such as: 

Professional Artist 

Quality college art programs help prepare students to succeed as professional artists by developing their own skills while exploring the creative styles of others. Furthermore, an art degree encourages artists to view themselves as professionals with the ability to showcase their work in exhibitions. 


Talented visual artists who create pictures can lend their illustrations to books, magazines, advertisements, and other forms of media. This work should be tailored to appropriately enhance its accompanying media or emphasize its most key elements. 


While modern technology has allowed us all to take and process impressive photos, professional photographers with camera knowledge and artistic expertise will remain invaluable in today’s image-driven society. 

Digital Art Careers 

From the tools artists use to the ways people consume art, the digital revolution has profoundly influenced the art world in countless ways. Here are several among many career options for digital artists: 


In the past, animators had to draw and color each cell by hand. Although animation remains a meticulous process, digital technology has made it far more manageable. 

Graphic Designer 

Today’s graphic designers almost universally use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create their illustrations and layouts for various purposes — from publications to websites and social media campaigns. 

Art Director 

An art director is responsible for overseeing the visual aspects of a creative project, ensuring the aesthetic and artistic vision is cohesive and effectively communicates the intended message or concept. They might work in publishing, on marketing campaigns, in video production, or with product and packaging design. 


Art in Academia and Museums 

One of the most valuable things any artist can do is train other artists and spread the love of art among the public at large. You can accomplish remarkable things in the academic and museum environments. 

Art Teacher/University Lecturer 

Experts in art of all kinds, instructors teach others the philosophies, techniques, and best practices necessary to achieve mastery in one or more artistic disciplines. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the occupation of art teacher keeps pace with the expected growth rate for US occupations as a whole. 


Art curators compile, organize, and care for highly valuable collections of artwork for museums and major galleries. The BLS predicts a healthy job growth of 10% for curators through 2032. 

Art Historian 

Museums and educational institutions alike employ art historians for their expertise in various artistic traditions. Auction houses are also common employers of art historians. 

Art in Production and Design 

Artists are in considerable demand as designers in a range of contexts. Product manufacturing, contemporary fashion, and interior design are just a few. 

Product Designer 

From sketching ability to mastery of aesthetic principles, artists have areas of expertise that are of great value to all kinds of product manufacturers. 

Fashion Designer 

From off-the-rack consumer items to high-end runway couture, the fashion industry makes products that definitely require an artistic eye from clothing designers. 

Interior Designer 

Interior designers use the homes of their clients as a creative canvas. Though both interior designers and fashion designers may need specialized training to achieve high levels of success, a foundational undergraduate degree in art is an ideal place to start. 

Therapeutic and Healing Arts 

As the English poet and playwright William Congreve famously wrote, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” In fact, the therapeutic and healing benefits of creating and consuming numerous forms of art are well established. 

Art Therapist 

While it typically takes a master’s degree to find work as an art therapist, the rewards and overall job satisfaction can be significant for these professionals, who leverage the relaxation and healing power of art as an outlet to address client needs. 

Art Careers in the Entertainment Industry 

Of course, the entertainment industry has long been a major employer of artists. When it comes to the static and plastic visual arts, makeup artists and special effects artists are in particularly high demand. 

Makeup Artist 

The BLS reports that working as a makeup artist in various corners of the entertainment industry is generally lucrative and widespread in the U.S. 

Special Effects Artist 

Special effects artists are also typically well-paid in the entertainment industry. Placing special effects artists in the same category as animators, the BLS ties them to an annual median pay of nearly $100,000 per year and a projected employment growth rate of 8% through 2032. 

What Are Some Art Careers in High Demand? 

Beyond the careers mentioned above, the Houston Chronicle lists design architects and film and video editors among the most lucrative and in-demand art occupations in the U.S. today. Additionally, the BLS reports a median income of $62,500 per year and an employment growth rate of 7% for film and video editors as well as a median annual income of roughly $83,000 and an employment growth rate of 5% for architects. 

For More Information on Earning an Art Degree 

If you have wondered, “What is a Bachelor of Arts degree?” and are interested in gaining the refined knowledge and skills needed to cut a successful career path in the arts, University of the Cumberlands encourages you to closely examine both our Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Art and Bachelor of Science (BS) in Art degree programs. Art students can earn their BS after just 24 credit hours of coursework or their BA with the addition of 12 foreign language credits. To learn more, contact a representative today by filling out our contact form