Fine art graduates develop a range of practical and creative skills, and gain valuable experience of entering exhibitions, competitions and building up a portfolio of work
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Exhibition designer
- Fine artist
- Further education teacher
- Higher education lecturer
- Museum/gallery curator
- Secondary school teacher
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Art therapist
- Arts administrator
- Commercial art gallery manager
- Interior and spatial designer
- Museum/gallery exhibitions officer
- Multimedia programmer
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. If you haven't already done so, take a few minutes to answer the Job Match questions to find out what careers would suit you.
Start building up a portfolio of work while you are still an undergraduate. This should contain examples of your own ideas rather than just course work. In addition, enter as many competitions and exhibitions as possible and begin to get your work known.
Also try networking and make contacts who may be able to offer (or help you secure) commissions. If friends or family ask you to produce work for them, this can be included in your portfolio and in the list of commissions on your CV.
Voluntary work with, for example community art initiatives, can be valuable. You may also be able to find paid art-related employment while studying, through projects at summer camps and activity centres for young people.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
Finding jobs in this sector is not straightforward. Short-term possibilities are available on a competitive basis and are a means of becoming established. Roles include artist in residence, developing art-related activities in schools, hospitals and prisons, or bidding for fixed-term funding to carry out a particular project or commission. Many fine artists produce and market their own work.
You can diversify by taking courses in art-related disciplines, such as graphics, or teaching, or become a 'portfolio' worker, holding down several jobs to support your creative work.
You can also apply for mainstream graduate jobs and training in a range of industries, such as banking, insurance, media and public relations.
Skills for your CV
As well as developing practical and creative techniques in a range of media, a fine art degree gives you skills in using different types of equipment and processes from hand tools and welding gear to digitisation.
Employers will also value the transferable skills you have acquired, including:
- the ability to develop individual ideas and collaborate with others;
- strong observational, research and analytical skills;
- creative problem solving;
- the ability to learn from criticism and be objective about your work;
- an openness to new influences and concepts;
- entrepreneurial skills in marketing your work and possibly setting up a business.
Moreover, through showing your work at competitions and exhibitions, you will have gained experience in working to briefs, meeting deadlines, displaying work to advantage, lighting, marketing, event management and organisational skills.
Fine art graduates may move on to a Masters degree in different creative subjects, such as illustration or art conservation, if their portfolio demonstrates an aptitude for this. Other MAs provide grounding in related areas, such as arts management, history of art and art therapy.
A postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) enables fine artists to teach in a variety of settings. Shorter-term courses can develop skills that enhance or supplement expertise in particular areas or materials, such as glass blowing or metal working.
What do fine art graduates do?
A sixth of fine art graduates working in the UK are employed as artists.
|Working and studying||5.5|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Arts, design and media||24.7|
|Retail, catering and bar work||27.9|
|Secretarial and numerical clerks||6.7|
|Caring and education work||7.2|
For a detailed breakdown of what art and design graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What Do Graduates Do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.