It is possible to find creative jobs without a degree. Many of these positions focus more on skills than education. If you have the proper training, you don’t need to spend time and money on a costly degree just to pursue creative career paths. In some cases, you can get a creative job that pays well with a GED and not much else.
While many of the degreeless creative jobs are entry-level, the right combination of skills and experience can allow you to earn more. Read on to learn everything you need to know about creative jobs that don’t require a degree.
What Are Creative Jobs?
Creative jobs focus on developing, expressing, and creating original concepts. Creative jobs are vast and encompass careers like fashion designer, artist, performer, and freelance writer. Even without a degree, creative jobs can be yours for the taking if you have a relevant skillset that you can demonstrate to your prospective employer on your resume and in interviews.
Creative thinkers don’t have to live the life of a starving artist if they don’t want to be. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the arts and culture production industry contributed $876.7 billion to the US economy. This industry includes design, publishing, and other related sectors.
High-Paying Creative Jobs Without a College Degree
|Special Effects Artist||$78,790||5%|
Best Creative Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree: A Closer Look
Contrary to common misconceptions, there are a lot of creative jobs that pay well. They make a great career option for anyone who is naturally creative. Some of them are also creative jobs that don’t require a degree, making them highly accessible to all types of career seekers. Below are some examples of creative jobs without a degree requirement.
An art director oversees television, newspapers, movies, and magazines’ visual image and layout styles. It is their job to establish the overall look of the campaign. As a part of their job, art directors will need to decide on all graphics and approve all final designs.
Different industries might require other art directors to do additional tasks. For example, some employers may need directors to prepare budgets and make schedules for the various campaigns. Directors may also be in charge of the overall website design and layout.
Special Effects Artist
Special effects artists create visual effects for a variety of media. These moving images are created with a computer graphics program like Blender, which is used in many creative career paths. Despite being computer-aided design, the effects are not always three-dimensional. Many effects are in fact two-dimensional.
Special effects artists need to not only be able to use computer-generated (CG) programs, but they must also take direction well. Listening to the director and writers and understanding what they want is essential. They must also work well under pressure in order to meet deadlines.
Web developers use programming languages to code web applications and websites. It is their responsibility to write both the front and backend code based on the client’s design. In addition, web developers test their code to ensure everything is working before submission.
Freelance website developers may turn over the finished product without the promise of ongoing maintenance. However, doing routine audits and performing maintenance on an as-needed basis may be part of the job. A freelance web developer’s salary is determined by the strength of their portfolio, which is why you can land this creative job without a degree.
Industrial designers help to develop concepts for items people use daily. Some of the everyday things are cars, electronics, and toys. An industrial designer must combine a mastery of engineering and art with an understanding of business.
Industrial designers work with product experts, marketing specialists, and engineers to design products. They frequently use computer-aided design software, such as AutoCAD, to help bring the designs to life and make changes before production.
Landscape architects design outdoor spaces such as gardens, parks, and golf courses. They can work with public and private spaces to create a beautiful, welcoming environment. It is their job to plan the site and make a landscape design.
Part of the landscape architect’s job is to design an aesthetically pleasing outdoor space. They work with clients to determine their vision and bring it to life. By gaining insight into what the area is used for and the general layout, landscape architects can meet the client’s needs.
Writers are responsible for creating written content. This includes books, newspapers, magazines, and television scripts. Written content also includes all online content, such as blogs and product descriptions and the documentation associated with a product.
There are several different types of professional writers. For example, a technical writer specializes in documentation and manuals for products. Copywriters specialize in marketing material. In contrast, journalists focus on news and local interest stories for newspapers and magazines.
Editors evaluate written material before publication. They check for grammatical errors and other issues. It is part of their job to select which content to publish, either for an online or for a print outlet. Editors often hand out assignments to a pool of professional writers. Once finished, they give their writers feedback to improve their written work before publication.
Video editors use images and sound to create a story. They are an essential part of the video production process, with most of their work coming during post-production. However, they do have tasks in pre-production, which include creating storyboards and assisting in script development.
Video editors must be able to follow the script to gain a better understanding of video requirements. They must also be able to work with directors and producers to determine the best video layouts and editing styles for their projects.
A graphic designer is someone who creates visual media for both physical and digital platforms. They work with clients to design social media posts, marketing advertisements, emails, newsletters, and even television commercials.
To become a graphic designer, one must be creative and be able to turn given data into stunning visuals. They need to understand how to use digital illustration software. Designers are responsible for choosing colors, images, and fonts for each piece.
Photographers capture images with their cameras. These images can express how the photographer feels or help tell a story. In addition, photographers can showcase their art through various media outlets.
To be a photographer, one must have creative skills. Understanding image manipulation software is a must to be able to edit files before publication. The photographer’s responsibility is to develop their images to the customer’s specifications, either digitally or physically.
What Skills Do You Need to Land Creative Careers?
The skills you need to land creative careers depend on your desired career path. For example, if you are leaning toward photography, knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and other photo editing software would help you produce images that are both artistic and high-quality. However, there are also common skills you need to excel in creative careers, which include the following.
Interpersonal skills are the traits relied on when communicating and interacting with others. While this does include communication skills, there is far more to it than that. For example, it is essential to be dependable, responsible, motivated, and a good listener when pursuing a creative career.
Most creative industries require some form of artistic skill. For example, web developers, graphic designers, landscape architects, and industrial designers need to be artistic. However, while going to art school might be helpful, it is often not required to gain an entry-level job. A web design bootcamp might be a better fit.
Not all creative jobs require someone to be an artist. Sometimes businesses need someone who can paint a picture using words. Strong writing skills can help freelance writers land the job of their dreams. Additionally, strong writing skills can help other creatives tackle different facets of their career.
What Education Do You Need to Get a Creative Job?
You can get a creative job without a bachelor’s degree. If you have the skills necessary for the chosen career, some companies will hire you regardless. In most cases, it is possible to get a creative job with just a GED or high school diploma.
However, even if a client or company is willing to hire without a formal degree, certain skills and certifications may still be required. Therefore, formal training in bootcamps or other online certifications will benefit you during your job hunt.
Why College Is Not for Everyone
You may have dreamed of going to college but found it’s just out of your reach. Like many, you find the tuition is too high, and it is only a small factor in the expenses you’ll pay. According to a study completed by the American Council on Education, other indirect costs such as books, childcare, and housing are elements that can put college out of reach.
Cost is not the only factor. You might not be ready for the stress of a four-year college. Instead, vocational training or online courses are a better fit. Rather than pushing yourself to fail, you can choose a different route to gain a foothold in a creative career without going to college first.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Get a Creative Job?
Unfortunately, not every creative career has a bootcamp available. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to learn and grow. For those creative careers that have bootcamps, you gain access to high-quality courses to learn the most popular tech skills.
How to Get a Creative Job With a GED
It may be challenging to get a creative job with a GED or a high school diploma. However, these credentials are a good start. Before fully unlocking the pathway to creative careers, you can use these qualifications to apply for part-time creative jobs. As more companies move toward skill-based hiring, use this opportunity to gain practical experience and boost your resume.
Take a GED Course
If you don’t already have your GED, you need to take a course to help prepare you for the exam. You’ll be tested in the four main areas of social studies, language arts, math, and science. Each subject has its test, and you may take them one at a time or all in one sitting.
Get Training in Common Skills
Every creative job has a skillset. To apply for a job, you need to ensure that you have those skills. Take training courses to learn new skills or polish the ones you have. It will make a difference when you apply.
Prepare Your Resume and Portfolio
A strong resume is necessary when you are applying for a new position. Many creative jobs need a technical resume instead of a traditional CV. Technical resume templates can help you focus on technical skills along with your work history. You also need a portfolio to show potential clients and employers what you can do.
Search the Job Boards
Once you have your resume and portfolio in hand, it’s time to put out applications. Job boards like LinkedIn and Indeed are great places to start. You may also look at freelance writing boards like Upwork and freelance arts boards like Design Crowd to find entry-level jobs. Each application should have a customized cover letter.
Practice Interview Skills
Even if you apply for a freelance post, solid interview skills are a must. So, you should first do some research on common interview questions. Then, get a friend or family member to go through some of them with you to practice.
Companies That Offer Entry-Level Creative Jobs
- Stay Social Digital Marketing: This company hires work-from-home creators to make engaging content for a variety of clients. It works with website developers, graphic designers, and writers.
- Cultiveight Communications: Cultiveight Communications is a marketing firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. This company offers creative entry-level jobs to graphic designers, particularly to create various marketing designs.
- Chronicle Books: Chronicle Books is a book publisher specializing in children’s books and adult nonfiction books. Adult book topics include home decor, beauty, pop culture, cooking, and fine art. It hires entry-level editors.
- Vyral Marketing: Vyral Marketing is a marketing firm that creates custom blog posts and video blogs. The company hires freelance writers and video editors.
- GH2 Architects: GH2 Architects is a design firm that specializes in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and master planning. It customizes each project to its client’s specific needs.
What Do Creative Jobs Pay?
Creative jobs can pay very well. However, there is a pay range depending on which creative industry you work in. The median salary for a creative agent is $69,412. The higher-end annual salary is an art director, who makes an average salary of $81,941. On the lower end, photographers have a median salary of only $46,446.
With various job skills that fall under this umbrella, it isn’t easy to know precisely where a specific career falls on the salary curve for high-paying creative jobs. Creative personalities can work full-time for companies while others choose to work freelance. There is no guarantee that one creative career path will offer better pay than another.
Where to Find Creative Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree
There are a lot of credible online resources you can use to find creative jobs without a degree. Any number of jobs for artists without degrees can be found on websites that host job listings. You just need to know how to look for them. To ensure you get the best results, use targeted keywords and filters when browsing.
Indeed is one of the largest job boards on the Internet. Creative types can use the search engine to look for freelance or permanent jobs in their chosen field. In addition, users can narrow their search to their city or expand and find new locations to work.
LinkedIn is a professional job site that connects you with a network of people. Creative thinkers can exchange career information and connect to others in creative industries. On LinkedIn, creative professionals can search for jobs and grow professionally.
Design Crowd is a place for creative professionals to meet business owners in need of their talents. Clients can find freelancers that work on graphic creation, such as logos, business cards, website design, outdoor signage, and more. Designers should create a profile detailing the skills and services they offer or search the job board for open jobs.
Consider a Creative Degree Later in Your Career
You can always find entry-level creative jobs without a degree. You only require the skills and experience to show your clients or employers what you can do. Still, as you progress in your career, you might find that you’re missing out on promotions without a little extra knowledge. This is especially true if you are trying to land higher-level creative jobs with competitive pay.
Going to school later in your career could give you the edge you need to gain a higher position or learn new trends in the field. You might consider getting a graphic design associate degree, for example, or simply take a bootcamp course now. The fact of the matter is that you can land a high-paying creative job without a degree or with one. You just have to understand your goals.
Creative Jobs Without a Degree FAQ
No, freelance artists don’t need a degree. You need fantastic art skills, a solid portfolio, and the tenacity to keep at it. You will find that there are a lot of jobs for artists without degrees. As a freelancer with a strong set of skills, you can get hired for jobs simply by looking for clients regularly. Having good interpersonal skills makes a world of difference.
Entry-level web designers help code and design websites for their employers or freelance clients. Like an upper-level web designer, entry-level workers must have advanced understanding of web development programming languages.
To become an art director, start by learning the skills you’ll need. Learning about layout and design is essential. You should also understand advertising and the differing needs of the various media platforms that may publish your work.
Yes, writing is a skill that requires practice more than anything. Some writers get to practice and gain experience by writing for clients. Others take a writing class or get an apprenticeship.
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