The 10 Highest Paying Jobs for Artists

While there are many things that influence someone’s desire to be an artist, one common question involves what types of earnings someone can hope to expect. For those interested in some of the most financially lucrative artistic careers, here are the top 10 highest paying jobs for artists. 

10. Industrial Designers (Average Salary: C$52,500 – $68,150)

Job Description: Industrial designers typically combine disciplines of art, business, and engineering in order to create concepts for products that will be manufactured. They typically work in offices but also may travel to other facilities as needed. 

Companies to Work for: Industrial Designers can work at a wide range of companies including major tech giants such as Amazon, Apple, and Google to create designs for new tech gadgets. Other notable companies include Mako Design & Invent, Advanta Design Group, Kohler, and Black & Dekker.

Schools to apply for: Located in the greater Vancouver area, Kwantlen Polytechnic is an excellent place to study for those wanting a future in industrial design. Other top universities include OCAD University, Georgia Tech University, Humber College, and Rochester Tech.

9. Animator (C$52,825 – $77,380)

Job Description: Animators are artists that use digital drawing, 2D animation, 3D animation, and other techniques in order to create animated figures, drawings, and models that are used for varied purposes. Animators may work with computer games, commercials, movies, music videos, or other areas. 

Companies to Work for: Many people dream of working for Pixar, the giant company that has produced such wonderful movies as Finding Nemo, Up, and Toy Story. Other major companies include Atomic Cartoons, Claymans Communications, Disney, and Dreamworks. 

Schools to apply for: Toronto’s OCAD University has a comprehensive art, design, and media program, making it a great choice for animation. Other top schools include Seneca College, Rhode Island School of Design, and California Institute of the Arts. 

8. Interior Designer (C$52,557 – $89,369)

Job Description: Interior designers deal with the creation of indoor spaces with the goal of making them aesthetically pleasing, functional, and safe. They typically consider the balance of space requirements and items to include. Home staging is often a core task of this occupation. 

Companies to Work for: Interior designers can work for many different types of companies; however, many work for major firms. Studio O+A is a popular San Francisco-based firm that provides work for companies throughout the U.S. and Canada. Other companies include CKDESIGN, Cutler, and Hager Design International. 

Schools to apply for: Winnipeg’s University of Manitoba has an excellent arts program for prospective interior designers, providing many opportunities to hone their craft. Other great places to study are Ryerson University, University of Guelph, and the Pratt Institute. 

7. Fashion Designer (C$53,235 – $93,375)

Job Description: If you enjoy diverse skills ranging from sewing to 3D modeling and digital drawing, a fashion designer may be a great career for you. This industry typically involves creating original clothing and accessories including plotting designs in your sketchbook, detailing patterns, selecting fabrics, and ideally seeing your design come to life at fashion shows. 

Companies to Work for: Fashion designers can work for companies like beaufille, a fashion label that creates clothing, jewelry, and accessories aimed at promoting an effortless style. Other options include Greta Constantine, Macy’s, and Ralph Lauren. 

Schools to apply for: Concordia University’s fashion design curriculum helps students learn why design matters while exploring the cultural, political, social, and environmental aspects of design. Other great programs include Ryerson University, LaSalle University, Kent State University, and the Savannah College of Art & Design. 

6. UX/UI Designer (C$63,929 – $84,874)

Job Description: A UX/UI Designer is tasked with creating user-interfaces that help people successfully navigate and use otherwise complex products. If you enjoy interface design, mobile games, website design, VR gaming, or similar things, you may be interested in this as a career. 

Companies to Work for: UX/UI Designers may work for specialized firms or directly with companies. Global retailer Amazon is a popular company for UX/UI Designers due to its many different products that require their expertise. Other companies include IBM, Cisco Systems, Blank Space, and Idea Theorem

Schools to apply for: Pennsylvania’s Carnegie Mellon University is renowned around the world for its top UX/UI program. Other strong options include Georgia Tech University, the University of Toronto, Simon Fraser University, Humber College

5. Visual Designer (C$69,956 – $97,500)

Job Description: Visual designers complete artistic work for a wide variety of different platforms based on creative briefs and meetings with clients. This can include wearables, website design, mobile or console games, movies, and other mediums. 

Companies to Work for: Many visual designers work for design studios such as Pentagram, the world’s largest independent studio which has established itself as a leader in the design industry. Other options include Arnold Street Media, York & Chapel, Ravyn Design, and Bijou Creative

Schools to apply for: Rhode Island School of Design has developed a comprehensive visual design program that aims to push the boundaries of the discipline while building community, making it a top choice for many students. Other popular options are OCAD University, George Brown College, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and Maryland Institute College of Art. 

4. Game Designer (C$76,500 – $92,850)

Job Description: As you might expect, a game designer works to take ideas and put them into motion through developing the mechanics of video games. While console games are the traditional thing to work with, mobile games are becoming more prevalent as well. Important skills include 3D animation, digital drawing, character design, and many other skills. 

Companies to Work for: Many game designers dream to work for major companies like Electronic Arts, which is well-known for its various sports-related titles as well as entries like Apex Legends and Star Wars Battlefront. Other companies include AppStudio, Activision Blizzard, Nintendo, and Gogi Games.

Schools to apply for: The University of Southern California is easily among the top tier of programs for game designers. It’s location in the heart of Los Angeles is a huge draw as well for those craving important internships. Other excellent programs can be found at the University of Washington, Trinity Western University, Sheridan College, and Ontario Tech University

3. Product Designer (C$79,750 – $130,375)

Job Description: A product designer typically is a senior artist that oversees the design process of a product from start to finish. This often involves taking conceptual ideas and refining them to allow for successful application. This role can also involve improving existing products with redesigns. 

Companies to Work for: Product designers can find themselves working for design firms or directly for companies. Apple is known for its reliance on product designers to create products that are beautiful, intuitive, and useful. Other companies include Meta, Paper Leaf, and Salesforce. 

Schools to apply for: York University’s product design program strives to give students the foundation necessary to turn their imagination into reality. Other great programs can be found at Kwantlen Polytechnic, Sheridan College, Swarthmore College, and the University of Illinois. 

2. Architect (C$97,978 – $142,170)

Job Description: Architects work to develop artistic concepts for structures. This includes things such as homes and other buildings as well as things like bridges. They merge art and engineering knowledge together. Digital drawing is a critical skill for architects. 

Companies to Work for: Architects are primarily employed by architecture firms. Los Angeles-based Gensler is an industry leader in revenue with over $1.3 billion earned annually, making it a lucrative employer. Other leaders in the field are Perkins & Will, HDR Omaha, Jackpine, and Hager Design International.

Schools to apply for: The architecture program at the University of British Columbia will educate students in history, theory, material systems, design media, and heavily in design studios. It also provides students with a cooperative learning process, giving them industry experience. Other top programs include the University of Waterloo, Rice University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Calgary

1. Art Director (C$108,733 – $136,044)

Job Description: An art director is typically a senior artist that determines which art, design elements, of photographs to use in order to create the overarching visual style for movies, magazines, marketing campaigns, or product packaging. They work with junior artists to direct the composition of these layouts. 

Companies to Work for: Art directors can work at many different places. Imagine yourself as the person in charge of retail giant Target’s branding, packaging, and marketing campaigns. Other companies include Creative Circle, Park West Gallery, and Ogilvy.

Schools to apply for: Humber College provides students with a comprehensive education that examines both how to be an art director and how to work for an art director, helping students get the full picture of the profession. Other strong programs include Savannah College of Art & Design, OCAD University, Syracuse University, and Emily Carr University or Art & Design.


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