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Creative Careers That Pay You Back

You thrive on creativity. You think outside the box. You bring an artistic eye to every project. And now you’re ready for a career where you can put all that creativity to work!

But here’s the catch: many art-related gigs come with itty bitty paychecks. If you don’t want to live in a cardboard box for the rest of your life, are there any good career choices?

Making a living in a creative industry is rarely easy. But it’s not impossible.

We’ve rounded up a list of jobs that pay an average of around $50,000—so you can both survive and thrive as an innovator (no office drone work for you!). These jobs aren’t all in traditional art industries, but they do allow you to flex your creative muscles. Check out seven of our favorite creative careers that pay the bills:

1. Social Media Manager
Getting yelled at for browsing Pinterest? Not in this job! Your creativity comes into play as you spot trends, learn about new platforms and figure out how each social media tool can best serve your company.

2. Music Producer
As a Music Producer you oversee the recording and distribution of songs to create amazing, innovative, and highly desired tracks. You’re also a fortune-teller: successful Music Producers are able to listen to a band’s songs and accurately predict which songs will sell well to an entertainment-hungry public.

3. Software Engineer
Software Engineers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Whether you’re designing a game or coming up with an idea for a new smartphone app, you’ve got to think outside the box.

4. Makeup Artist
When you work your makeup magic on a client, every side becomes their good side. From smoky-eyed Models to the stay-at-home moms taking a day off with girlfriends, everyone needs your artistic skills at some point.

5. Chef
Dreaming up outrageous flavor combos, arranging food beautifully on a plate, inventing whole new cooking methods—these are just some of the ways you bring creativity into the kitchen.

6. Marketing Manager
As a Marketing Manager, you work to get your company front and center. You’re constantly dreaming up unique ways to market your brand and creative ideas to catch your audience’s eye.

7. Sound Engineer
You blend acoustic artistry with technical knowledge to skillfully record, remix, or amplify music tracks, sounds effects, and more.

8. Video Game Designer
Your inventive skills, outside-the-box problem solving and artistic talents all come into play as you develop original concepts, layouts and rules for your game.

9. PR Specialist
As a PR Specialist, you have to stay on your toes to figure out innovative ways to share your company’s triumphs with the media (and smooth over any scandals that might occur!).

10. Landscape Architect
Landscape Architects are all about outdoor spaces. Your creative vision results in well-designed gardens, parks and even more mundane places, like airports or traffic circles. This job is a perfect mix of artistry and nature.

What creative career would you choose?

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Careers You May Like

Makeup Instructor

Share your knowledge of makeup art with students.

Body Paint Artist

Decorate the human skin using temporary paint.

Architectural Project Manager

Coordinate building projects, from design to construction.

Game Director

Serve as the creative brains behind video games.

Multimedia Artist

Show your art in a variety of channels, like digital, film, and video.

Marketing Manager

Oversee the implementation of a company's marketing plan.

Foley Artist

Create custom sound effects that bring movies to life.

Software Engineer

Design, program, and update software.


Create images and pictures to enrich stories.

Mastering Engineer

Add the finishing touches to audio recordings.

Fashion Director

Design and manage the image of a fashion magazine or store.

Graphic Designer

Create high impact images that deliver a message.

Brand Ambassador

Market a products through demos and promos.

Sign Designer

Create inviting signs for businesses.

Character Designer

Create the appearance of complex animated characters.


Put animation and real film footage together to make one amazing movie.

Makeup Artist

Beautify clients through makeup.

Advertising Director

Create and execute an overall advertising plan for your company.

Production Sound Mixer

Record dialogue and sound effects while scenes are being filmed.

Sound Editor

Choose and enhance the sounds in movies and TV shows.

Game Developer

Create video games as a Designer, Programmer, or Artist.

Interior Decorator

Spruce up home and office spaces with your creative touch.

Structural Designer

Make buildings safe and strong by planning their basic structure.

Space Planner

Make the best use of spaces by creating efficient plans.

Dance Costume Designer

Put together showy outfits that Dancers can move in.

Advertising Executive

Organize ad campaigns for clients.

Interior Designer

Build and beautify inside spaces.

Production Designer

Design the look of a film set and supervise the team that creates it.

Lighting Designer

Arrange lighting effects for a variety of productions.


Make illustrated objects come to life using artistic and technical talents.

Interior Design Assistant

Lend a hand with interior design projects.

Lingerie Designer

Sew and sell sexy underwear.

Level Designer

Create the scenery and other elements of individual game levels.

Irrigation Consultant

Equip clients with systems for watering crops or gardens.

Associate Producer

Oversee secondary budget and business details for Movie or TV Producer.

Fashion Coordinator

Use your knowledge of fashion trends to drive sales.

Video Game Technical Art Director

Make sure video games not only look good but are also glitch-free.

Texture Artist

Draw the details that make games and animated movies look more realistic.

Wine Club Manager

Keep wine club members happy while increasing profits for wineries.

Game Designer

Think up concepts and storylines for video games.

2D Animator

Make 2D images move using hand drawings or computer software.

Corporate Executive Chef

Prepare food from start to finish for corporate events.

Business Development Director

Forge profitable partnerships for your company.

Technical Artist

Design awesome game graphics that won't cause computers to crash.

Menswear Designer

Put a new spin on classic men's clothing.


Design menus, create recipes, and cook food.

Fashion Illustrator

Translate a Fashion Designer's ideas into drawings.

Landscape Architect

Create parks and gardens as a licensed professional.

Commercial Kitchen Designer

Plan out efficient and useful restaurant kitchens.

Concept Artist

Think up characters, objects, or environments for films or video games.

Media Buyer

Purchase ad space in print and online.

Kitchen and Bath Designer

Create pretty yet practical kitchens and bathrooms.

Arts Manager

Oversee an art department with a mix of creative and business skills.

3D Animator

Bring illustrated objects to life for movies and video games.

Acoustic Consultant

Advise Engineers and others on the ins and outs of sound control.

Digital Strategist

Promote your company through digital media.

Category Manager

Increase sales for a specific type of product.

Software Architect

Oversee the design and implementation of computer software.

Professional Gamer

Get good enough at video games to enter tournaments and win prize money.

Environment Artist

Design the scenery of a video game.

Layout Artist

Arrange a web page, poster, or magazine in an appealing manner.

Recording Engineer

Set up microphones and capture takes of songs and voice-overs.

Marketing Strategist

Perform research to discover how best to sell a product.

Game Artist

Create visuals for video games.

Interior Design Project Manager

Oversee interior design projects.

Art Director

Control the overall look of an ad, movie, or TV show.

Landscape Designer

Beautify spaces by planting greenery and erecting garden structures.

Creative Director

Lead your organization's creative projects from concept to completion.

Matte Painter

Make backdrops for movies.

Infographic Artist

Use graphics to express ideas, facts, and information.

Film Art Director

Manage the department charged with creating movie sets.

Film Editor

Make the final narrative decisions on a movie by choosing the scene order.

Storyboard Artist

Create a series of drawings showing the flow of a movie or ad.

Video Game Technical Artist

Animate game art by writing its computer code.

Software Developer

Build, test, and market computer software.

Audio Engineer

Customize sound effects and music to suit particular scenes.

Visual Development Artist

Help develop the visual world of an animated film.

Fashion Stylist

Choose clothes and accessories for celebrities.

Motion Graphic Artist

Design dynamic graphics through animation, video, and sounds.

Stop Motion Animator

Make animated films or shorts using the stop motion technique.

Music Editor

Plan and develop movie soundtracks.

Shoe Designer

Create stylish shoes for every occasion.

Fashion Designer

Set trends with your beautiful clothing designs.

Cinematic Artist

Produce graphics that make video games flow like a movie.

Book Designer

Craft attention-grabbing book covers.

Advertising Manager

Develop ad campaigns by managing one or all areas of an ad department.

Food Stylist

Make food look scrumptious for photo and film shoots.

3D Modeler

Create digital models that can be viewed from all angles.

User Experience Designer

Make a website enjoyable and easy to use.

Sound Designer

Create sound effects and music for video games, TV shows, or films.

Digital Colorist

Digitally touch-up the color in the final editing process of films and TV.

Brand Manager

Create strategies to increase a product's popularity.

Mobile Application Developer

Create games and other apps for smartphones.

Garde Manger Chef

Prepare cold foods and salads for a restaurant.