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Choosing a Career Path in 2020: Business and the Arts

Choosing a Career Path in 2020: Business and the Arts

It seems counterintuitive to place business and the arts into the same category, doesn’t it? In fact, many people who dream of working as artists do so because they can’t imagine being trapped in the business world. However—especially as the working world relies more and more on a remote workforce—many jobs in the fields of business and arts have much more in common than they used to.

For example, it’s no longer necessary for many business careers to be tethered to an office, or even to a specific city. Many salespeople have become digital nomads, able to roam the globe the way artists have for centuries. By contrast, as organizations of all types trend toward hiring in-house creative teams rather than working with agencies, full-time jobs for artists are becoming more plentiful. While job opportunities in art and design are expected to decline slightly between now and 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says there’s still a need: “Workers will still be needed to meet the demand for animation and visual effects in video games, movies, television, and on smartphones, as well as to help create visually appealing and effective layouts of websites and other media platforms.” For those passionate about their creativity, the added modicum of difficulty in finding a career is often well worth the challenge.

While business and financial careers are expected to increase, adding about 476,200 new jobs by 2029, they are not exempt from economic pressure. When the economy is unkind, it can be unkind to both businesspeople and artists in equal measure. Large corporations may lay off businesspeople, which means money is tighter for those who would usually purchase work from artists. The bright side, however, is that success in both of these categories is heavily reliant on soft skills. Of course, in some of the career options available in both business and the arts, you need special skills and/or dedicated training. But for employees in both sectors, traits like resilience, a positive attitude, organizational and communication skills, and flexibility are paramount. Developing them gives a jobseeker, no matter what their qualifications, a leg up on the competition. When a businessperson or artist puts their mind to success, almost nothing can stand in their way for long.

While we’ve chosen just ten possible career paths in the fields of business and arts to highlight, the real number of potential paths in these sectors is nearly impossible to count—and growing every day. Check out the following career options as a starting point for some of the many opportunities available to students seeking a career in business or the arts.

Exploring Careers in the Fields of Business and Arts

Discover just some of your career options in the business and arts fields and what they would mean for your education, your salary potential, your job prospects, and your day-to-day experience:

Accountants

Will I need a degree? Yes, a bachelor’s degree.

How much money could I make? Accountants and auditors earned $71,550, on average, in 2019.

Will it be hard to find a job in accounting? It shouldn’t be. The occupation is growing as fast as average (4 percent projected growth) with a projected employment change of 61,700 jobs by 2029.

Will I need to do on-the-job training? No.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors “ensure that financial records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly and on time. Accountants and auditors assess financial operations and work to help ensure that organizations run efficiently.”

Most accountants and auditors work full-time preparing and examining financial records for businesses and individuals. While they generally work around 40 hours a week, they can usually expect to work overtime during certain periods of each year, like at the end of a company’s fiscal year or during tax season in the spring.

As an accountant or auditor, I might spend my days doing things like:

  • Examining financial statements to ensure accuracy and compliance with applicable rules and regulations
  • Figuring out taxes owed, preparing tax returns, and ensuring that taxes are paid properly and on time
  • Keeping account books and accounting systems running efficiently
  • Organizing and maintaining financial records
  • Making best-practice financial management recommendations to organizations and individuals
  • Suggesting ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues, and improve profits

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accountants and Auditors

 

Bookkeepers

Will I need a degree? Most bookkeepers have some college, but no degree.

How much money could I make? Bookkeepers earned $41,230, on average, in 2019.

Will it be hard to find a job as a bookkeeper? It might be. The occupation growth is declining (-6 percent projected growth) with a projected employment change of -95,400 jobs by 2029.

Will I need to do on-the-job training? Yes, there will be moderate on-the-job training.

“The records that bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work with include expenditures (money spent), receipts (money that comes in), accounts payable (bills to be paid), accounts receivable (invoices, or what other people owe the organization), and profit and loss (a report that shows the organization’s financial health),” says the BLS.

Most bookkeepers work in offices, but many work part-time and some might be expected to travel and do site visits for other businesses. They are primarily tasked with producing financial records and checking existing financial records for accuracy.

As a bookkeeper, I might spend my days doing things like:

  • Entering financial transactions into computer software for posterity and analysis
  • Receiving and recording cash, checks, and vouchers
  • Putting costs (debits) and income (credits) into bookkeeping software, assigning each to an appropriate account or designation
  • Producing reports like balance sheets (costs compared with income), income statements, and totals by account
  • Checking for accuracy in financial figures, postings, and reports
  • Reconciling or noting and reporting any differences found in financial records

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bookkeepers

 

Human Resource Specialists

Will I need a degree? Yes, a bachelor’s degree.

How much money could I make? Human resource specialists earned $61,920, on average, in 2019.

Will it be hard to find a job as an HR specialist? It shouldn’t be. The occupation is growing faster than average (7 percent projected growth) with a projected employment change of 46,900 jobs by 2029.

Will I need to do on-the-job training? No.

Human resource specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers with organizations, as well as handle employee relations, compensation, benefits, and training. They usually work full-time in offices, and they may be expected to work offsite or travel to job fairs and college campuses for recruitment.

To be a human resource (HR) specialist, you must be able to work well with people while also following and complying with all federal, state, and local employment regulations.

As an HR specialist, I might spend my days doing things like:

  • Working with employers to identify employment needs and helping to create, post, and disseminate job descriptions
  • Reviewing applications and interviewing applicants about their experience, education, and skills
  • Contacting references and performing background checks on applicants
  • Informing applicants about job details, such as duties, benefits, and working conditions
  • Hiring or referring qualified candidates for employers
  • Conducting new employee orientation
  • Keeping employment records and process paperwork current
  • Helping ensure employers comply with all labor laws and regulations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Human Resource Specialists

 

Sales Managers

Will I need a degree? Yes, a bachelor’s degree.

How much money could I make? Sales managers earned $126,640, on average, in 2019.

Will it be hard to find a job as a sales manager? It shouldn’t be. The occupation is growing as fast as average (4 percent projected growth) with a projected employment change of 15,400 jobs by 2029.

Will I need to do on-the-job training? No, but sales management is not an entry-level job. You will probably have to work as a sales associate before moving into this role.

According to the BLS, sales managers “set sales goals, analyze data, and develop training programs for organizations’ sales representatives.” Essentially, sales managers direct and lead organizations’ sales teams. Sales managers almost always work full-time, and they may end up working overtime due to expected travel and after-hours business development obligations.

As a sales manager, I might spend my days doing things like:

  • Analyzing sales statistics
  • Projecting sales and determining the profitability of products and services
  • Developing plans to acquire new customers or clients through direct sales techniques, cold calling, and business-to-business marketing visits
  • Addressing customer feedback regarding sales and service
  • Preparing budgets and approving expenditures
  • Monitoring customer preferences to focus sales efforts
  • Determining discount rates or special pricing plans
  • Assigning sales territories and setting sales quotas for your teams
  • Planning and coordinating training programs for sales staff

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Sales Managers

 

Cosmetologists

Will I need a degree? You’ll need a postsecondary non-degree award from a cosmetology school.

How much money could I make? Barbers, cosmetologists, and hairstylists earned $26,270, on average, in 2019.

Will it be hard to find a job as a cosmetologist? It might be. As a whole, the occupation is declining slightly (-1 percent projected decline) with a projected employment change of -9,200 jobs by 2029.

Will I need to do on-the-job training? Yes, cosmetologists often complete on-the-job training through their salons.

Cosmetologists provide scalp and facial treatments and makeup analysis. Some also clean and style wigs and hairpieces. In addition, most cosmetologists actively recommend professional hair care products or salon hair care products. Hairstylists (who usually attend cosmetology school as well) cut, color, and style hair, advise clients on how to care for their hair at home, and keep current with fashion and styling trends.

As a cosmetologist, I might spend my days doing things like:

  • Inspecting and analyzing hair, skin, and scalp to recommend treatment or styling
  • Discussing hairstyle options
  • Washing, coloring, lightening, conditioning, or chemically changing the texture of hair
  • Cutting, drying, and styling hair
  • Ensuring salon safety and cleanliness protocols are being followed

Recently, some cosmetologists have chosen to focus on getting trained in applying and maintaining eyelash extensions. This career is one that is heavily dependent on the beauty trends of the time, which is why cosmetologists must always keep their skills up-to-date.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Barbers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists

 

Illustrators

Will I need a degree? No degree necessary, though a bachelor’s degree is common.

How much money could I make? Illustrators made $48,760, on average, in 2019.

Will it be hard to find a job as an illustrator? It may be. Little or no change is expected in the occupation (zero percent projected growth), with a projected employment change of 500 jobs by 2029.

Will I need to do on-the-job training? Yes, there will be long-term on-the-job training.

Illustrators create original artwork and designs to sell independently—for books, movies, and television, for corporations and for other individuals. They may learn skills through education but improve their craft through practice and repetition. Illustrators may be self-employed or employed by an organization.

The BLS says that many “work in fine- or commercial-art studios located in office buildings, warehouses, or lofts. Others work in private studios in their homes. Some artists share studio space, where they also may exhibit their work.”

As an illustrator, I might spend my days doing things like:

  • Producing drawings and graphics for use in books, advertisements, packaging, and more
  • Working with editors, authors, or designers to achieve the desired visual result
  • Negotiating contracts and timescales
  • Undertaking relevant research and generating ideas based on that research

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Fine Artists including Painters, Sculptors and Illustrators

 

Film and/or Video Editors

Will I need a degree? Yes, a bachelor’s degree.

How much money could I make? Film and video editors earned $59,8100, on average, in 2019.

Will it be hard to find a job as a film or video editor? It shouldn’t be. The occupation is growing much faster than average (18 percent projected growth) with a projected employment growth of 12,400 jobs by 2029.

Will I need to do on-the-job training? No.

As video continues to engage consumers better than any other type of media, companies will continue to invest in it. This means continued growth for film and video editors and camera operators. Video editors and camera operators usually work in studios or offices, but they often get out of the office to shoot raw footage on location.

Film and video editors and camera operators work together:

  • Shooting and recording television programs, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, or news and sporting events
  • Organizing digital footage with video-editing software
  • Collaborating with a director to determine the overall vision of the production
  • Discussing filming and editing techniques with a director to improve a scene
  • Selecting the appropriate filming equipment, such as the type of lens or lighting
  • Shooting or editing a scene based on the director’s vision

Some film and video editors may also work independently on personal projects.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

 

Fashion Designers

Will I need a degree? Yes, a bachelor’s degree.

How much money could I make? Fashion designers earned $73,790, on average, in 2019.

Will it be hard to find a job as a fashion designer? It could be. The occupation is declining slightly (-4 percent projected decline) with a projected employment change of -1,300 jobs by 2029.

Will I need to do on-the-job training? No.

Fashion designers work for apparel companies, retailers, wholesalers, theater or dance companies, and design firms creating original on-trend or period clothing, accessories, and footwear. Most fashion designers in the U.S. work in New York and California, since that’s where the majority of the companies they work for are located.

As a fashion designer, I might spend my days doing things like:

  • Studying fashion trends and anticipating designs that will appeal to consumers
  • Deciding on a theme for a collection
  • Using computer-aided design (CAD) programs to create designs
  • Visiting manufacturers or trade shows to get samples of fabric
  • Selecting fabrics, embellishments, and colors for each garment or accessory
  • Working with other designers or team members to create prototype designs
  • Presenting design ideas to creative directors or showcasing their ideas in fashion or trade shows
  • Marketing designs to clothing retailers or to consumers
  • Overseeing the final production of their designs

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Fashion Designers

 

Graphic Designers

Will I need a degree? Yes, a bachelor’s degree.

How much money could I make? Graphic designers earned $52,110, on average, in 2019.

Will it be hard to find a job as a graphic designer? It could be. The occupation is now declining (-4 percent projected growth) with a projected employment change of -10,700 jobs by 2029.

Will I need to do on-the-job training? No.

Graphic designers “create visual concepts using computer software or by hand to communicate ideas that inspire, inform and captivate consumers,” says the BLS. They often work full-time for publishing companies, specialized design services, or advertising or PR firms. Many graphic designers are also independently employed, providing their creative skills to organizations and individuals on a freelance basis.

As a graphic designer, I might spend my days doing things like:

  • Meeting with clients or art directors to determine project scope and vision
  • Using digital illustration, photo editing software, and layout software to create designs
  • Creating visual elements like logos, original images, and illustrations to help deliver a message
  • Designing layouts, including selection of colors, images, and typefaces
  • Presenting design concepts to clients or art directors
  • Incorporating changes recommended by clients or art directors into final designs

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Graphic Designers

 

Multimedia Artists and/or Animators

Will I need a degree? Yes, a bachelor’s degree.

How much money could I make? Multimedia artists and animators earned $75,270, on average, in 2019.

Will it be hard to find a job as a multimedia artist? It shouldn’t be. The occupation is growing as fast as average (4 percent projected growth), with a projected employment change of 2,800 jobs by 2029.

Will I need to do on-the-job training? No.

“Multimedia artists and animators often work in a specific medium,” says the BLS. “Some focus on creating animated movies or video games. Others create visual effects for movies and television shows. Creating computer-generated images (CGI) may include taking images of an actor’s movements and then animating them into three-dimensional characters. Other animators design scenery or backgrounds for locations.”

Multimedia artists and animators create images and visual effects that appear to move for varying types of media and entertainment. They can work full-time or part-time, in an office or from home. They usually begin their careers with a bachelor’s degree in computer graphics, art, or a related field. Multimedia artists and animators need to have not only creative talent, but the technical skills to put their creativity into practice for a client or employer.

As a multimedia artist or animator, I might spend my days doing things like:

  • Using computer programs and illustrations to create graphics and animation
  • Working with a team of animators and artists to create a movie, game, or visual effect
  • Researching upcoming projects to help create realistic designs or animation
  • Editing animation and effects on the basis of feedback from directors, other animators, game designers, or clients
  • Meeting with clients, other animators, games designers, directors, and other staff (which may include actors) to review deadlines and development timelines

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Multimedia Artists and Animators

Stay tuned next quarter for a closer look at the state of careers in health sciences in 2021.

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