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Where can a degree in applied arts and design take you? Graduates working in the field can be found in the world’s top fashion houses, Fortune 500 companies, respected architectural firms, and more.

Pursuing a degree in applied arts and design can be a smart way to combine your artistic abilities with training for a potentially lucrative career. While no educational program can guarantee such a career, hiring managers usually prefer or need education when reviewing potential applicants.

Training Outside the Fine Arts

Unlike rigorous training in fine arts, art and applied design courses can provide students with a mix of artistic and technical knowledge that can be used in today’s competitive design careers. Graduates can start their own businesses, work alone as freelancers, or join established companies. The flexibility of arts and applied design degrees draws large crowds to the industry, and you traditionally need a strong portfolio to stand out from the crowd.

Popular Art and Applied Design Careers

Entering an applied arts and design education means specializing in your chosen field. Check out some of the most popular fields for majors in applied art and design, with 2007 salary information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fashion Designer: These talented artists create the styles we wear every day. About a quarter of all fashion designers are self-employed. An education can provide you with essential knowledge of textiles, ornaments, fashion trends and much more.
• Average Annual Salary: $ 71,170
• Recommended Degrees: Popular Bachelor’s degrees in the industry. Those hoping to open up their own fashion line can combine a design degree with business training, merchandising, or marketing.

Graphic Designers: From Fortune 500 companies to local stores, businesses usually trust trained graphic designers to create fresh and eye-catching displays. About a quarter are self-employed, and can work on several projects at once, building experience and professional contacts. Career training usually combines artistic basics with popular graphic design computer programs.
• Average Annual Salary: $ 45,340
• Recommended Degrees: Undergraduate degrees are the traditional route to education, although certificate and diploma programs offer specific courses you may like.

Interior Designers: Multi-million dollar homes, public spaces such as libraries and hospitals, and private industrial spaces benefit from interior designer jobs. More than a quarter of all interior designers are self-employed, and many work for specialized design services. Education takes a technical turn, often including computer-aided design.
• Average Annual Salary: $ 50,190
• Recommended Degree: A bachelor’s degree is recommended for entry-level positions. Some states license interior designers, a process that involves education, experience, and passing licensing examinations.

Benefits of Higher Education

The world of design can be very competitive, and hiring managers often prefer or need formal education in the form of a college degree or certificate. Beyond the benefits of that piece of paper, training in the arts and applied design means getting the opportunity to explore different areas of design, learning your own strengths and weaknesses as you build your creative portfolio.