From actors and conservators to illustrators and photographers, jobs in the creative sector span a variety of arts, culture and design roles. Discover which creative job matches your talents and aspirations
Communicating a character or situations to an audience through speech, body language and movement, the work varies enormously, from live stage performances, soap operas, radio work, television advertising and film parts. The role may also involve education, training or therapy.
A degree isn't essential, however, studying media, performing or visual arts will help. Few actors land jobs with no prior training - most hone their craft over many years.
To be successful you'll need the ability to interpret and analyse roles, confidence to network and follow up contacts, the ability to take instruction and criticism and resilience and determination.
Also known as art psychotherapists, you'll use visual art to help people who struggle to communicate verbally. Therapy may be carried out in group or one-to-one settings and you'll work closely with other healthcare professionals.
To practise you must be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). To do this you must successfully complete an HCPC-approved postgraduate qualification in art therapy or art psychotherapy. You'll usually need a first degree in fine art, visual arts or art and design to get a place on a postgraduate course. However, graduates with experience of working in health, education or social care may be accepted.
Discover what you could earn as an art therapist.
As the public face, or voice, of programmes on television, radio and via the internet you'll entertain and inform an audience by presenting information or entertainment in an accessible way. To do this you'll need the ability to generate original ideas, a personable and confident manner and an awareness of media law.
Salaries vary enormously, depending on whether the broadcaster is working full time for a channel/radio station or working freelance, on an ad-hoc basis.
Find out what it's like to work as a broadcast presenter.
Community arts worker
You'll promote artistic activities to local groups and individuals to support their development and improve quality of life.
Working in areas where there are social, cultural or environmental issues, you'll use a range of art forms to engage with different groups.
Typical starting salaries for administrative roles are £16,000, rising to between £20,000 and £30,000 once you've built up experience.
Read up on the qualifications you'll need to work as a community arts worker.
Caring for cultural collections by applying scientific methods to preserve and restore artefacts you'll treat objects directly to prevent deterioration, stabilise objects and undertake restoration. Alternatively, you'll monitor and control the environment in which collections are stored or displayed to prevent deterioration in the first place.
A degree in conservation, followed by work-based development is the typical entry route into this profession.
On average junior conservators earn £26,500. A minimum salary of £24,648 for entry-level conservators is recommended by The Institute of Conservation (Icon).
Interpreting the work of a choreographer you'll use movement, gesture and body language to portray a character, story, situation or abstract concept to an audience. You may perform to a live audience or take part in recordings for television, films or music videos.
Many follow portfolio careers, combining performance with teaching, choreography or administrative work in a dance company.
- physical fitness, stamina and perseverance
- motivation and discipline
- confidence and self-belief
- the ability to work as part of a team.
Take a look at the training you'll need to work as a dancer.
You'll use the performance arts to help people explore, address and deal with a range of personal and social difficulties.
Professional training is at postgraduate level. To get a place on a course, you'll need a degree in drama, performing arts or a psychological health-related subject. Alternatively, you could have a relevant professional qualification such as social work, teaching, nursing or occupational therapy and current evidence of theatre experience.
Jobs in the NHS are usually covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay rates. Once qualified, you're likely to be employed on Band 6 (£26,302).
Gain an in-depth understanding of a dramatherapist's role.
Salaries for junior exhibition designers start at £18,000 to £22,000. You'll need a degree, HND or foundation degree in an art and design-related subject to get a job.
You'll work on large commercial public exhibitions, showcase events, trade shows and conferences for trade, industry or education, or on cultural exhibitions for museums, libraries and galleries.
Find out more about the responsibilities of an exhibition designer.
Specialising in one area of fashion, such as sportswear, children's wear, footwear or accessories, you'll work on the design of clothing.
A degree in art and design, clothing technology, fashion, graphic design or textiles may increase your chances of success.
You'll need to show:
- an eye for colour and a feel for fabrics and materials
- the ability to generate ideas and concepts
- technical skills, including pattern cutting
- garment technology skills and knowledge.
Designing new games you'll bring ideas, build prototypes, create interactive narration and develop the products mechanics. You'll design systems that are easily maintainable, expandable and comfortable to use, while injecting fun into the user experience.
Entry-level salaries range from £17,000 to £18,000. To enter the profession you'll need technical ability, familiarisation with a range of programming languages and software technologies and packages such as C#, C++ and Python, scripting and design capabilities using software such as Blueprint Visual Scripting within Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) and a passion for gaming.
Read up on the qualifications you'll need to get into game design.
A graphic designer gives an organisation a visual brand by working on websites, advertising, books, magazines, posters, computer games, product packaging, exhibitions and displays and corporate communications.
The work demands creative flair, up-to-date knowledge of industry software and a professional approach to time, costs and deadlines.
Starting salaries for junior graphic designers can be in the region of £15,000 to £19,000.
Most illustrators work on a freelance basis, creating still drawings and images to communicate a story, message or idea. You'll typically specialise in a particular design medium, such as drawing, photography or digital illustration.
Although the job is open to all graduates, the following subjects may be useful:
- fine art
- graphic design and illustration
- visual art.
Take a look at what you could earn as an illustrator.
Interior and spatial designer
Designing or renovating internal spaces, you'll work in a range of commercial, leisure or domestic settings. The job combines the efficient and functional use of space with an understanding of aesthetics.
You'll need a relevant degree, such as 3D design, interior architecture, interior design or spatial design. A high level of technical knowledge, good drawing skills and creativity and imagination will also come in useful.
Using a variety of materials, including gold, silver and precious stones, you'll submit designs for mass production, make jewellery in small numbers or create bespoke pieces commissioned by a client.
You don't need a degree to be a jewellery designer - proven craft skills are more important - but those without a degree will usually need to undertake an apprenticeship or on-the-job training.
Find out what skills you'll need to become a successful jewellery designer.
Ensuring that models, performers and presenters have suitable make-up and hair for appearing in front of cameras, make-up artists work in a variety of settings. The work involves creating images and characters through the medium of make-up, hairstyles and prosthetics according to a brief.
A head make-up artist can earn £170 to £320 for a ten-hour day of editorial work, while lead make-up artists at fashion shows can earn £450 a day at events such as London Fashion Week.
Gain an insight into the role of a make-up artist.
Managing collections of artefacts or works of art you'll deal with the acquisition, care and display of items to inform and educate the public.
Curators come from a range of academic backgrounds including languages, English literature and science.
Salaries for assistant curators fall between £18,000 to £25,000, depending on location and responsibilities.
Take a look at the responsibilities of a museum/gallery curator.
You'll create or perform music as a composer, instrumentalist or singer. You may work alone or as part of a band, choir or orchestra.
Although you don't need a degree in music, for some genres, e.g. the classical repertoire, having a degree is highly regarded. Competition in this field is high, so you'll need to dedicate hours of practice to maintain and develop your skills. Experience and overall musicianship are paramount.
A professional photographer works to a brief set by the client or employer to create permanent visual images. You could specialise in weddings, family and baby photographs, fashion, food, architecture or landscapes.
In full-time employment, starting salaries can be between £12,000 and £22,000.
Following a design brief, stylists use creative skills to produce visually appealing displays, photo shoots or outfits.
An eye for visual composition and proportion is vital, as is commercial awareness including a good knowledge of designers, brands and trends, initiative, idea generation and problem-solving skills and flair and individuality.
Junior stylists can expect to earn in the region of £18,000 to £20,000.
Find out what qualifications you need to work as a stylist.
An eye for colour, texture, fabrics and patterns, along with understanding and experience of using different textile processes and techniques is what's needed to make it as a textile designer.
In this role you'll create two-dimensional designs that can be used, often as a repeat design, in the production of knit, weave and printed fabrics or textile products.
A degree in one of the following areas may help you enter the profession:
- art and design
- surface design
Read up on the responsibilities of a textile designer.
With responsibility for the practical and creative interpretation of a dramatic script or musical score, you'll be involved in design and pre-production, through to the final performance.
Most directors are employed on a freelance or fixed-term contract basis as artistic or resident directors in repertory companies. You usually progress into the role after gaining experience in other positions such as:
- assistant director
- stage manager
Take a look at the skills you'll need to be a successful theatre director.
Alternative creative careers
- Arts administrator
- Ceramics designer
- Fine artist
- Furniture conservator/restorer
- Furniture designer
- Glass blower/designer
- Medical illustrator
- Museum/gallery curator
- Music therapist
- Press photographer
- Product designer
- Production designer, theatre/television/film
- Theatre manager
- Web designer