Creative Jobs That Will Keep Your Artistic Spark Alive (and Your Bank Account Full)

I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was 16 years old. As soon as I announced my dream, I started getting a lot of unsolicited advice from the adults in my life: 

“You’ll never make any money doing that.” 

“Why waste all that money on a degree that won’t get you anywhere?”

“Why don’t you get a real job and write in your free time?” 

It began to feel like society only offered two options when it came to jobs for creative people: 

Option 1: Sacrifice your creativity for a paycheck

Option 2: Let your creativity flourish, but be prepared to starve

I’m here to tell you that this narrative is total BS. 👆

There are more jobs for creative people now than ever, thanks to the way work has changed and evolved over the last few years. And while these artistic job options may not earn you as much as a doctor or lawyer, well-paying creative jobs are definitely a thing. 

I’ve listed some of the best careers for creative people below, including the mean annual salary information for each role—that means that starting out, you’ll likely make less than what’s listed here, but later in your career, you would probably earn more. 

All figures are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and current as of 2022, unless otherwise noted.


Creative jobs for digital pros 

The ever-growing internet and tech sectors account for a huge share of the current job market, and that’s good news for people who crave creative work. So many jobs within these industries need people who possess creative skills. Here are a few to consider:


Web/App designer 

Most successful businesses rely on a well-designed website and/or app, which means there’s no shortage of demand for creative folks with design know-how. If you can learn some coding skills, and familiarize yourself with various web and app development tools, then your creative design abilities will help you find steady work in this role. Bonus: It translates very well to a freelance career. 

Annual Wage: $81,320


Graphic designer 

Graphic designers are in high demand across a number of industries, so you’ll have plenty of creative career paths you can follow if this becomes your focus. You can work in-house creating brand materials, offer freelance graphic design services, or build your own app and website for a different project you’re passionate about. If you want options, this is a good artistic job to consider. 

Annual Wage: $59,970



This is another one of those creative career paths that can go a million different ways. As an animator, you may work on computers, with pen and paper, or clay—it’s really up to you. You could set your sights on working for an animation studio, or offer your animation skills to businesses or organizations looking to communicate a message. 

Annual Wage: $86,220


Video game designer

The video game industry is constantly growing in the U.S.—and as “gamification” becomes more and more a part of everyday life (hello, Metaverse), creative job opportunities in game design are likely to remain plentiful into the future. Bear in mind that games don’t just need creative people to design characters and scenery—they need storyboard creators, scriptwriters, voice actors, and copyeditors. 

Annual Wage: $67,604 (Source: Payscale)


Creative jobs for visual artists 

If you enjoy channeling your creative skills into the visual arts, whether that’s painting, sculpting, drawing, photography, or something else, here are a few artistic jobs to look into. 


Art teacher/tutor 

If the idea of an art teacher conjures up images of finger painting and paper mache, it’s time to update your concept of an art teacher. Schools from kindergarten all the way through college need art teachers—and they need every variety of artist, from sculptures to 3D designers to drama scholars. 

Annual Wage: $86,240


Tattoo artist 

Tattoo artists get to practice their creative work every single day. Of course, you’ll need training, and will eventually find a mentor and begin an apprenticeship with an experienced tattoo artist. But as you work your way up in this field, it can turn into a nice source of steady income. 

Annual Wage: $63,000 (Source: Zippia)



If you’re passionate about photography and skilled with a camera, then you already have what you need to start a career as a full-time photographer. Once again, there are many creative career paths you can take here—you may work as an independent freelance photographer, you could work in magazines or journalism, or focus on photo editing, just to name a few. 

Annual Salary: $48,210


Museum/gallery administration

It’s hard to think of a job more creative than working in a museum or gallery. You can work in any number of administrative roles, and eventually could turn this career into a full-time role as an art curator or gallery owner. 

Annual Salary: $63,880


Selling your creations 

If you create physical art of any kind, you may want to consider selling your products online through a platform like Etsy. Though you may not be able to live solely off this income right away, it’s a good way to grow your supplemental income while you study or work at a less artistic job. 

Annual Salary: Dependent on the individual


Creative jobs for entertainers 

The film, theater, and television industry is enormous, and it requires a steady stream of creative workers to produce all of the entertainment people enjoy so much. Even if you aren’t an actor, there are still plenty of jobs for creatives in this field of work.


Film/video editors 

Are you a movie buff? Do you dream of working in film or television? Video editing is one of the best creative jobs that pays well. Experienced people doing this kind of creative work can earn up to six figures, according to the statistics. 

Annual Wage: $76,000


Makeup artist 

Makeup artistry is an old practice, but it’s found new life in the last decade with the rise of social media platforms and makeup influencers. But you don’t have to be a social media star to succeed in this career—makeup artists also work in theater, film and television studios, salons, or as freelancers. Believe it or not, this profession is one of the highest-paying creative jobs on this list. 

Annual Salary: $124,380


Art director

If you want a creative job that pays well, art director is certainly one of the best choices. While you’ll need to work your way up to this role, once you get there, you’ll be designing and planning big, creative productions in theater, broadcast, film, or public relations. 

Annual Salary: $115,430


Set designer

Movies, television shows, and theatrical productions all need well-constructed and creatively designed sets. You can be one of the people who helps plan and create those sets and earn a decent wage while you’re doing it. 

Annual Salary: $62,960


Creative jobs for writers 

If you’re skilled with words, you can take on so many different creative career paths. For most people, it takes time (and some luck) to start earning through creative writing—but there are plenty of creative jobs that involve writing and will keep you financially secure while you work on your masterpiece.



There’s no way I can list all of the different types of businesses and industries that need copywriters. With this artistic job, you can do anything from writing ad copy, to long-form educational pieces, to website content, and more. This is another great career path for people who want to work independently as a freelancer. 

Annual Salary: $81,120



If you enjoy helping other writers refine their text and clean up their manuscripts, consider a job as an editor. Like copywriters, editors can work in a number of industries—you could work in-house and edit copy for a single business, work as an editor at a publication, or apply for roles with larger publishing companies. 

Annual Salary: $81,120


Technical writing 

Sometimes, it takes a creative mind to break down complex topics in a way that’s accessible and digestible. That is where technical writers come in—you’ll use your wordsmith abilities to help explain things like software guidelines, manuals, and technical guides. 

Annual Salary: $81,470


Creative jobs for musicians 

If music sparks your creative fire, then there are several artistic jobs you can take that will align with your love for sound. Here are a few audio-focused careers you can consider.


Sound engineer

Sound engineers help recording artists, podcasters, speakers, and broadcasters ensure they sound as good as possible when recording or speaking live. You can choose to work with spoken word or focus on music and composition. 

Annual salary: $67,360



You don’t need to be the next Lady Gaga or ‘Lil Nas X to make a living off your music. You can earn money as a recording artist/backup artist for other musicians, play local gigs, and earn money off royalties from your own music in the meantime. 

Annual Salary: Varies depending on the individual


Composer/music director

If you have a sense for how music comes together, and you enjoy leading others or creating new music, then this creative job is likely somewhere you can flourish. You could work directing bands, orchestras, or choirs, or you could create and monetize your own creative compositions. 

Annual Salary: $65,080



Whether you’re creating a dance production, training dancers, or teaching children how to move their bodies to music—working as a choreographer will definitely give you the opportunity to flex your creative muscles, (literally and figuratively). 

Annual Salary: $49,630


Creative jobs that don’t require a degree

It’s true that a number of the jobs on this list require a degree or at least some form of extensive training. But college isn’t for everyone—especially if you’re looking for a creative career that you can sink your teeth into right away (without also sinking into a sea of student debt). 

I’ve written an entire article about alternatives to college, so if you’re on the fence about going to a university or have already ruled it out, I highly recommend reading that over. 

Many of the creative jobs on this list—copywriter, makeup artist, musician, etc.—don’t necessarily need a degree, either. You can design your own career path by honing your skills on your own, taking short courses, finding a mentor, and building off your own experience. 


Additional resources for creative career hunters

No matter what type of career you’re pursuing, it pays off (literally) to do some planning and preparation for your future. We have lots of excellent resources to help you do just that. 

First, check out our free budget template, which will make it easier to keep track of your money and build a financial cushion: 

Freebie: Build your budget with our template - click here [image links to google spreadsheet template]

Here are a few other resources I recommend checking out as you look for your next artistic job: