Fine art graduates develop a range of practical and creative skills as well as gain valuable experience of entering exhibitions, competitions and building up a portfolio of work
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Commercial art gallery manager
- Community arts worker
- Exhibition designer
- Fine artist
- Graphic designer
- Higher education lecturer
- Secondary school teacher
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Art therapist
- Arts administrator
- Concept artist
- Estates manager
- Interior and spatial designer
- Museum/gallery curator
- 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.
Start building up a portfolio of work while you're an undergraduate. This should contain examples of your own ideas rather than just coursework. In addition, enter as many competitions and exhibitions as possible and begin to get your work known.
Networking and making contacts is highly advantageous, as they 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 community art initiatives, for example, can be valuable. You may 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 always 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 value the transferable skills you acquire, 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.
Through showing your work at competitions and exhibitions, you also gain experience in working to briefs, organising your work and meeting deadlines, displaying work to advantage, lighting, marketing and event management.
Some fine art graduates 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.
The 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 fifth of fine art graduates working in the UK are employed as artists.
|Working and studying||6.3|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Arts, design and media||29.9|
|Retail, catering and bar work||24.2|
|Marketing, PR and sales||6.5|
|Secretarial and numerical clerks||6.1|
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.
Find out more
- a-n - information resource for those involved in the visual arts sector.
- Arts Council England
- Creative Choices - careers in the creative and cultural industries.
- Creative Scotland - public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland.