Report Reveals 10 Creative Jobs That Will Actually Pay You

Posted By Terri Williams on March 1, 2017 at 2:58 pm
Report Reveals 10 Creative Jobs That Will Actually Pay You

If true creativity is a rare gift, jobs that pay true creatives well may be ever rarer. While a few professionals may reach superstar status, many people with creative jobs can barely eke out a living. As a result, some creatives put their dreams on hold and settle for more “practical” jobs. But the key is to find creative jobs that will actually pay decent wages.

A new report by CareerBuilder and EMSI crunched the numbers and came up with a list of the top 10 creative jobs with sustainable growth rates and good to great salaries:

Job Title Jobs in 2016 Job Growth (2011-16) Average Yearly Salary
1 Graphic designers 287,000 21,000 $37K – $57K
2 Public relations specialists 237,000 21,000 $43K – $79K
3 Producers and directors 123,000 11,000 $49K – $103K
4 Interior designers 93,000 9,700 $38K – $56K
5 Interpreters/translators 78,000 13,000 $35K – $55K
6 Art directors 57,000 5,000 $54K – $87K
7 Technical writers 55,000 6,500 $57K – $87K
8 Multimedia artists/animators 51,000 5,200 $40K – $64K
9 Commercial and industrial designers 43,000 4,300 $51K – $75K
10 Film editors 36,000 4,800 $46K – $92K


Since graphic designers and public relations specialists account for the vast majority of these strong creative jobs, GoodCall® asked a few experts in these areas to tell us more about these careers.

Top creative jobs: Graphic designers

What makes graphic design such a good career choice? “In a world of mass media, brand management/stewardship is vitally important to the success and vitality of a company, and  image is everything,” according to Chip McElroy, MFA, program chair of Digital Design and Graphics in the Fisher School of Technology at Hodges University in Naples, FL.

McElroy tells GoodCall® that companies depend on either internal marketing and advertising departments or outside firms to help them maintain a consistent and positive brand, and graphic designers play a critical role in helping to achieve these goals.

Another interesting fact about graphic design is that it includes a plethora of specialties and appears to be a stepping stone to other careers. Vladimir Gendelman, founder and CEO of Company Folders, an innovative presentation folder printing company in Keego Harbor, MI, tells GoodCall® that the field of graphic design provides various avenues for success. “Most people don’t realize that there’s not a single career called ‘graphic designer,’ but instead, it’s a field composed of many different careers.”

For example, in the field of print graphic design, Gendelman says some of the career options include:

  • Entry level print designer
  • Mac operator
  • Mid-level print designer
  • Senior level print designer
  • Freelance/self-employed print designer
  • Commercial artist/illustrator
  • Logo designer
  • Packaging designer
  • Print marketing designer
  • Print publication designer
  • Art director/creative director
  • Print shop manager

Many people don’t understand what happens behind the scenes in the graphic design process. McElroy explains, “Graphic design solutions are 90% paper driven, and the computer/software is used to produce the finished design; the idea is conceived on paper oftentimes around a conference table.”

And he says there’s no shortage of different, exciting design challenges. “Whether it’s a new client/project or a new application for a current client, creativity is required and solutions evolve.”

Those are precisely the components of graphic design that appeal to Gabriel Aluisy, graphic designer and founder of Shake Creative in Tampa, FL. “Graphic design is a lot like alchemy: we’re taking all these elements and concepts, adding a little magic and creating something beautiful and powerful at the same time.” However, as exciting as Aluisy finds the design process, there’s something else that he finds even more rewarding. “The most interesting part of my job is seeing my clients’ faces light up when I show them a design that transcends their expectations of what their brand could be.”

For college students considering this field, our experts offer a few pieces of advice. “Feed your brain with global design solutions; read periodicals and case studies, and analyze solutions,” says McElroy. “Strong design is timeless.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Gendelman who advises graphic design students, “Absorb as much knowledge and experience as possible as this will help you figure out which type of design comes naturally to you and gives you the most satisfaction.”

Public relations specialists

Also known as media specialists or communications specialists, Public relations specialists play a vital role in helping to shape a company’s image, while simultaneously developing their own interpersonal, organizational, communication, and critical thinking abilities. “Becoming a public relations professional will push you to become a more effective communicator – both written and verbal,” according to Sarah Erickson, media relations specialist at Walker Sands in Chicago, IL. “Once you’ve mastered the art of handling phone calls with reporters, writing creative pitches, and juggling client needs, you’ll be able to maneuver even the toughest situations, Erickson tells GoodCall®.

And this profession also is one of those creative jobs that provide the type of hands-on training that can lead to other opportunities. “For example, Walker Sands exposes its employees to a wide range of accounts and projects, giving younger professionals the experience they need to advance in their careers,” Erickson says. Public relations manager or fundraising manager are two possible career choices, and according to the U.S. Department of Labor, these professionals earn a median annual wage of $104,000.

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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