How Much Can I Earn By Studying the Arts & Humanities?

One of the benefits of an education in the Arts and Humanities is the broad range of possible career and educational paths. And with so much variety, there’s also a lot of variation in how much you can earn.

Here’s a real-world example: The Wall Street Journal profiled a digital media professional who graduated with an English degree in 2010. Her first job after college paid an annual salary of $33,000, but within five years, she was making more than $100,000 dollars. If this sounds appealing, take a look at our ranking of the Best Online Graphic Design Degrees.

Also, check out the Arts & Humanities homepage on College Choice.

Let’s take a look at some of the highest-earning careers that you can get into with an Arts and Humanities degree, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

High Paying Careers in the Arts & Humanities

Art Directors

If you want to be an artist and a boss, you could combine your skills with a career as an art director. The highest earners with this job title can earn more than $166,400 a year, and the median salary is $89,820.

A typical art director earns a bachelor’s degree in a field like studio art or photography. Some also complete a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree to develop their creative and managerial skills.

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

If you major in a field like communications, visual arts, art history or photography, you could have a future as an advertising, promotions or marketing manager. These highly compensated professionals combine creative, communications, and business skills to promote products and services to consumers.

The median salary for these positions was $127,560 per year in 2016, while the highest-paid 10 percent broke $208,000.

Fastest Growing Jobs in the Arts & Humanities

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts gather and interpret data to help companies decide what products to offer their customers. These jobs are expected to grow much more quickly than average, with a projected employment growth of 23 percent by 2026.

A bachelor’s degree in communications is a common educational path to a job in market research, with many of these professionals going on to get a master’s degree in a business-related field. With a median salary of $62,560, and the highest earners taking home $121,720, you have the potential to make a great salary in this career.

Producers and Directors

If you want to call the shots for a television show, theater productions, or even commercials, a job as a producer or director could be a good choice. Because of increasing demand for movies and television shows, BLS predicts a 12 percent increase in opportunities from 2016 to 2026.

For most entry-level jobs in the field, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in film or a related field like acting or journalism. With a median salary of $70,950, and $189,870 for the highest-paid 10 percent, that bachelor’s degree could be a great investment.

What about other popular majors in the Arts & Humanities?

There’s a recurring theme in the highest-paid and fastest-growing fields for Arts and Humanities majors: they tend to combine education in the Arts and Humanities with technical or business skills. But what about graduates of the classic Humanities majors, like English and history?

Looking at two of the most popular areas of study, the National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that the average starting salary for English majors with a bachelor’s degree was $40,466 in 2017. For history majors, the average starting salary was $38,529.

That’s quite a bit less than the salary for a graduate with an engineering or computer science degree. But keep in mind that for careers in the Arts & Humanities, your salary can increase dramatically with more education and job experience.