Career paths

 

Recent employers

Graphic design

  • Designer, Marketing Office, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Designer, Sandhills Corporation, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Designer, Marketing Office, University of Nebraska, Kearney, Nebraska
  • Web Designer/Online Marketing, Southwest Airlines, Dallas, Texas
  • Designer, Hallmark Cards, Inc., Kansas City, Missouri
  • Designer/Illustrator, Morris Press, Kearney, Nebraska
  • Art Director, Nebraska Life Magazine, Norfolk, Nebraska
  • Designer, Nebraska Life Magazine, Norfolk, Nebraska
  • Designer, Nebraska Books Company, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Director of Marketing and Design, Infinet Solutions, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Designer, Continuum Worldwide, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Designer, Arbor Day Foundation, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Owner, Chris Strom, LLC, Denver, Colorado
  • Communications/Media Coordinator, Southwood Lutheran Church, Lincoln,    Nebraska
  • Marketing Associate/Designer, Lied Center for Performing Arts, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Designer, Eleanor Creative, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Owner, EME Creative, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Designer, EME Creative, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Contract Designer, Pearl Izumi, Louisville, Colorado
  • Communications Specialist, People’s City Mission, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Art Director, Iridian Group, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Senior Art Director, Paulsen Marketing, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Owner, Girls4Sport Inc., Santa Cruz, California
  • Marketing Designer, Purple Sky Productions, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Senior Art Director, Nestle Purina, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Owner, Zeigler Studios, San Antonio, Texas
  • Manager/Global Marketing Communications, Scholle Packaging, Chicago, Illinois
  • Associate Graphic Designer, Bushnell Outdoor Products, Overland Park, Kansas

Art Education:

  • Instructor, First Lutheran School, Ponca City, Oklahoma
  • Principal, Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran School, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Instructor, Lutheran High School Kansas City, Kansas City, Kansas
  • Instructor, Wallace School District, Wallace, Nebraska
  • Program Coordinator, Camp Wartburg, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Instructor, Metro East Lutheran High School, Edwardsville, Illinois

Recent graduate school program acceptances:

  • Art Therapy /Mental Health Counseling, Springfield College, Springfield, Massachusetts
  • MA Com/Cinema/TV Direction, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Architecture, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Georgia

University teaching positions accepted

  • Department of Art, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Department of Art, Concordia University, Irvine, California
  • Department of Art, Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska

 

 

By the numbers

Within recent years, over 90% of our art majors that we have contacted and that are actively seeking employment have secured a full time position. Many students who've chosen to continue their studies toward graduate degrees in an art related field have been accepted into graduate school.

What can I do with a major in art?

Museums/Galleries

Areas

  • Art Direction
  • Administration
  • Curatorial
  • Conservation
  • Restoration
  • Registrar
  • Collections Management
  • Exhibit Design/Preparation
  • Archive Management
  • Education
  • Tours
  • Sales 
  • Publications
  • Development
  • Public Relations

Employers

  • Art Museums:
    • University
    • Public
    • Private
  • Archives
  • Historical societies
  • Natural history museums
  • Living history museums
  • Galleries

Information/Strategies

  • Gain relevant experience through internships or volunteer positions in museums or galleries
  • Visit museums around the country and world to gain exposure to art.  Learn a foreign language and plan to study abroad.
  • Supplement curriculum with courses in history, religion, anthropology, and classical civilizations.
  • Most art historians will specialize in a period or region.
  • Acquire strong skills in research, fund-raising, speaking, writing, and an attention to detail.
  • Plan to earn a graduate degree in art history, museum studies, or other related discipline depending upon specific interests. Each specialty has varying qualifications and required training.
  • Develop good interpersonal skills, including the skill to work well on teams.
  • Read published resources provided by the American Association of Museums (AAM).

Fine Arts and Craft Arts

Areas

  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Illustration
  • Printmaking
  • Weaving
  • Media and Techniques Including:
    • Pottery
    • Glass
    • Ceramics
    • Textiles
    • Wood
    • Metal
    • Paper
    • Multi-Media (Film, video, computers, etc.)

Employers

  • Self-employed
  • Studios
  • Living history museums and historical sites
  • School and community programs
  • Colleges and universities

Information/Strategies

  • Complete a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) to continue developing skills and to increase professional opportunities in related fields.
  • Consider whether you want to pursue art as a full-time job or as a vocational interest.
  • Opportunities are limited for full-time work. Many artists hold other jobs to supplement their income.
  • Participate in juried shows and exhibitions.
  • Maintain an up-to-date physical and digital portfolio of your work.
  • Gain additional skills and experience through an apprenticeship,internship, or volunteer position with a professional artist ororganization.
  • Secure a guild membership.
  • Learn to network and make contacts.

Commercial Art

(See also "What can I do with a major in graphic art?")

Areas

  • Graphic Art
  • Computer Graphics
  • Illustration
  • Advertising
  • Medical and Scientific Illustration
  • Animation
  • Cartoons
  • Art Direction

Employers

  • Advertising agencies
  • Design firms
  • Publishing companies:
    • Magazines
    • Newspapers
    • Books
  • Department stores
  • Television
  • Motion picture industry
  • Manufacturing firms
  • Internet media companies
  • Self-employed
  • Large corporations
  • Governmental agencies
  • Universities

Information/Strategies

  • Develop excellent technical and computer skills in a variety of platforms and design software.
  • Maintain and up-to-date physical and digital portfolio of your work.
  • Gain relevant experience through part-time jobs and internships.
  • Obtain summer or part-time experience with book, magazine, or newspaper publishers.
  • Develop attention to detail and ability to meet deadlines.
  • Supplement curriculum with course work in advertising or business.
  • For medical illustration, undergraduate coursework in anatomy and biology may be necessary, as well as a master’s degree in medical illustration.
  • Participate in the Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship Competition to build a greater understanding of the industry and to gain recognition.

Education

Areas

  • Formalized Instruction
  • Recreational Instruction
  • Research (Art History)

Employers

  • K-12 schools, public and private
  • Universities and colleges
  • Art schools
  • Adult and community programs
  • Museums
  • Recreation centers
  • Libraries
  • Group homes

Information/Strategies

  • Develop strong communication skills and teaching ability through coursework and campus activities.
  • Acquire a teaching certificate for public school teaching. Learn about requirements by state.
  • Gain experience working with children through volunteer or part timework.
  • Participate in art clubs, juried shows, and exhibitions.
  • Maintain an updated physical and digital portfolio of your work.
  • To teach art history in higher education:
    • Take general history classes in addition to art history classes
    • Learn one or more foreign languages to research original sources
    • Earn a doctoral degree.
  • To teach studio and fine arts in higher education:
    • Earn a graduate degree in a specific area of art.

Art Therapy

Areas

  • Art therapy is a mental health profession that utilizes the creative process of art to enhance funtion in individuals experiencing mental or physical difficulties.  It combines the creation of art with theories of counseling and psychotherapy.  (Adapted from AATA resources.)

Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Mental health facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Community agencies and centers
  • Schools, colleges, and universities
  • Correctional facilities
  • Domestic violence and homeless shelters
  • Art studios
  • Private practice

Information/Strategies

  • Take courses in art, as well as courses in psychology, social work, education, and child and family studies.
  • A master’s degree and coursework in art therapy from a program accredited by The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) is required to enter the field.
  • Volunteer in a rehabilitation stetting.
  • Learn to work well with many types of people and develop excellent communication skills.
  • Cultivate a strong sense of empathy, patience, and interpersonal skills. Learn to work in a team environment.

Media

Areas

  • Journalism
    • Production
    • Design
    • Art Criticism
    • Editing
  • Art Direction
  • Sales
  • Programming
  • Video
  • Illustration
  • Animation/Cartoons

Employers

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Websites
  • Book Publishers

Information/Strategies

  • Develop excellent grammar and writing skills along with knowledge of the history and culture of art.
  • Learn HTML and other computer programs to prepare for online work. This area of journalism is growing while print is declining.
  • Become comfortable working in a deadline-oriented atmosphere.
  • Work with campus or local newspapers. Create a portfolio of work samples, especially those that have been published.
  • Seek opportunities for recognition and networking through writing contests and freelance writing submissions.

Photography

Areas

  • Fine Arts
  • News
  • Commercial and Industrial
  • Portrait
  • Nature
  • Scientific

Employers

  • Museums
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Websites
  • Photo agencies
  • Studios
  • Libraries
  • Large corporations
  • Self-employed

Information/Strategies

  • Develop proficiency with photo editing software.
  • Because more than half of all professional photographers are self employed, it is important to develop knowledge and understanding of business principles.
  • Apprentice with a free-lance photographer.
  • Maintain an up-to-date portfolio of both black and white and color photography.
  • Obtain an internship or part-time job with the campus newspaper, local newspaper, website or other media outlet.

Fashion, Textile, Interior Design

Areas

  • Fashion Design
  • Fashion Product Development
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Colorists
  • Stylists
  • Fabric Development
  • Surface Design
  • Management
  • Buying

Employers

  • Fabric manufacturers, printers, and converters
  • Print design studios
  • Garment suppliers
  • Retailers

Information/Strategies

  • Most professionals in this field have formalized education and training in the field of fashion and textile design. Research schools offering related programs.
  • Develop proficiency using industry specific computer systems and Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Display motivation by designing clothes for yourself and others.
  • Stay up to date on fashion and design trends by following current media related to fashion and textile design.
  • Be able to communicate effectively with different types of people in various functional areas.
  • Expect to work with overseas suppliers. Knowledge of languages, customs, and cultures is helpful.
  • Gain experience by completing internships with design or related firms.

Art Sales

Employers

  • Self-employed
  • Dealers
  • Galleries
  • Museums
  • Auction Houses
  • Specialty stores

Information/Strategies

  • Learn to communicate effectively with a wide range of people. Take additional courses in interpersonal communication and public speaking.
  • Prepare to work independently and to be self-motivated.
  • Plan to work irregular and/or long hours.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit, including self-discipline and perseverance, are keys to success
  • Pursue a business minor to increase knowledge of business principles.
  • Obtain sales experience through internships or summer and part-time jobs.
  • Volunteer in museums, membership drives, local galleries, and community outreach programs.
  • Serve as a student assistant in a university gallery.

General Information and Strategies

  • A bachelor’s degree is valuable for entry-level positions, but an advanced degree is usually necessary to attain competitive, upper-level positions.
  • An art degree can and should be tailored to areas of specialization.
  • Save artwork for a strong portfolio – too much is better than too little.
  • Be prepared to relocate to the larger markets of metropolitan areas where more opportunities exist.
  • Join art-related professional and student organizations.
  • Volunteer with fundraising efforts for the arts.
  • Gain valuable experience through volunteering, internships, part-time and summer jobs, and apprenticeships.
  • Seek exposure to art by visiting museums around the country and world.
  • Conduct informational interviews with professionals in areas of interest to learn more about opportunities and strategies for these areas. Learn to network.
  • Pair an art degree with other career interests to increase opportunities and provide supplemental income.
  • According to the Department of Labor, 62% of Artists are self-employed.
  • Develop skills in business management, computers, marketing, and other related areas to increase marketability.
  • A career in the arts takes dedication, patience, flexibility, talent, and some luck.

What can I do with a major in graphic design?

Print Design

Areas

  • Type Design
  • Magazine Design
  • Newspaper Design
  • Book Publishing
  • Publication Design
  • Brochure/Newsletter Design
  • Cover Design:
    • Book
    • CD
    • Video
  • Label Design
  • Publicity Pieces
  • Advertising Layout
  • Photo Editing/Photoshop Art
  • Illustration
  • Identity Design
    • Logo Design
  • Branding 

Employers

  • Publishers including:
    • Magazine
    • Periodical
    • Book
    • Directory
    • Newspaper
  • Design firms
  • Advertising agencies
  • Publishing houses
  • Business form companies
  • Publicity firms
  • In-house creative departments
  • Large retail stores
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Government agencies
  • Universities
  • Self-employed

 Information/Strategies

  • Graphic designers have a hand in creating countless items, large and small, from posters to identity systems and much more. Research all the niche areas and then gain the tools and technological skills to succeed in that area.
  • Assemble an impressive portfolio of work samples.
  • Complete a related internship to gain relevant experience and to contribute to your portfolio.
  • Work on campus publications in design or layout or find a part-time position with a local publication.
  • Develop excellent communication skills and learn to work well on a team of professionals.
  • Volunteer to create brochures, newsletters or other publications for campus organizations.
  • Develop problem-solving skills, attention to detail and the ability to meet deadlines.
  • Join professional associations as a student member.
  • Become knowledgeable in production and printing processes.
  • Develop broad software application skills in MAC and PC based programs but not at the cost of developing a solid background in design.
  • Participate in local or campus design contests.

Three Dimensional Design

Areas

  • Signage
  • Signage Systems
  • Packaging
  • Exhibition Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Promotional Display Design 

Employers

  • Design firms
  • Product design divisions of large corporations
  • In-house creative departments
  • Advertising agencies
  • Museums and attractions
  • Government agencies
  • Self-employed (freelance)

Information/Strategies

  • Find an internship in a design studio that specializes in 3D design especially for signage, exhibition, promotional display and environmental design, which are very specialized.
  • Gain skills in model building and three-dimensional design. Develop a willingness to experiment.
  • Join a related professional association such as the Package Designers Council.
  • Develop excellent computer skills and strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Participate in design contests.

Electronic Media Design/4D Design

Areas

  • Digital
  • Multimedia
  • Film Title
  • Television Graphics
  • Video Games
  • Computer Graphics
  • Motion Graphics
  • Animation
  • Website Design
  • Interactive Media 

Employers

  • Film studios
  • Motion picture production firms
  • Television stations
  • Computer systems design firms
  • Video production houses
  • Internet media companies
  • Online publishers 
  • Online retailers 

Information/Strategies

  • This is a highly specialized area of design that is not widely taught in all design programs. Research programs carefully to find ones that emphasize this area. Consider attending specialized programs in order to learn about television and motion graphics, animation and video game design.
  • Develop excellent computer skills in a variety of platforms and design software.
  • Gain relevant experience through part-time jobs and internships.
  • Volunteer to design the website for a student or local community organization.
  • Work for the campus television station.
  • To work in television and film, consider relocating to areas of the country where the entertainment industry is more prevalent.
  • Stay current with media and cultural trends.
  • Participate in design contests.

Advertising

Areas

  • Creative Services
  • Art Direction
  • Production
  • Copywriting
  • Corporate Identity Design
  • Branding
  • Logo Design 

Employers

  • Advertising agencies 
  • In-house creative departments
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines 

Information/Strategies

  • Supplement curriculum with course work in advertising or business
  • Complete an internship in an advertising agency.
  • Work on the campus newspaper in the advertising division.
  • Learn to work well in team environments and to communicate your ideas effectively.
  • Develop the ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure.
  • Be prepared to move to larger cities for the most job opportunities.
  • Learn to work with a variety of media.
  • Create a strong portfolio of work samples.

General Information and Strategies

  • Carefully research design programs to find one that fits your career goals. Programs vary in terms of the areas taught so not all programs will prepare students for all areas of design.
  • Approximately 3 in 10 graphic designers are self-employed. Freelance designers must develop strong abilities in networking, sales and persuasion.
  • Graphic designers work in countless industries on a wide array of projects. Research the field thoroughly to learn about career options and the experiences and skills necessary to work in those areas. Some graphic designers choose to specialize their work while others complete a variety of projects.
  • Be prepared to start entry-level and work your way up the career ladder. Take a first job based on the industry and type of design you desire to work with because work from your first job will comprise your professional portfolio.
  • Some graphic design areas cross in multiple media such as educational design, identity design, information design and systems design.
  • Graphic designers must be able to tolerate criticism and direction in their work, since much of their work involves creating a product for a customer.
  • Graphic designers are typically artistically skilled, imaginative, and effective problem-solvers.
  • Develop a solid background in communications theory.
  • Learn to listen effectively to client needs and communicate ideas effectively.
  • Subscribe to and read graphic design materials such as Print, Eye, Communication Arts, Step into Graphics, Griphis, Computer Graphics and Applications, and others relevant to your interests.
  • Student design magazines such as CMYK and Creative Convocation solicit student work and have regular competitions. Try to get your work published.
  • Join major design organizations and societies, e.g. The American Institute of Graphic Arts, The Society of Publication Designers, University and College Design Association, New York Directors Club, Society of Illustrators, or the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation.
  • Become familiar with as many computer graphics and design software packages such as Quark, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Plan to stay up-to-date on new developments in the industry.
  • Successful graphic designers are well read and in-touch with changing consumer preferences and can react to new trends. Learn about your product and who will use it. A liberal arts education helps designers learn a little about a lot of things. Additionally, graphic designers should develop good research skills, work well on a team, and learn a foreign language if working in international design.
  • Graphic design is moving towards a more user/viewer way of thinking that allows the user/viewer to contribute to the design.
  • Many design schools are shifting towards a more activist attitude teaching ethical behavior, green-uses of design, and using the power of design to rally people behind causes that affect us all.