Majors that allow you to be creative AND make money

We’ve all heard the story about the distant cousin who majored in Art and is now a starving painter living in a shoebox somewhere.

Choosing a major seems simple- choose something you can tolerate that will make you money. After all, how many people do you know that are truly passionate about finance? This doesn’t have to be the case, however. There are many careers out there that utilize creativity while also allowing you to live comfortably.

Here are just a few, offered here at Radford:

1. Media Studies: Advertising

Average salary for Creative Copywriters- $61,000 (with the ability to move up in the ranks and earn more)

Many people get Advertising confused with Marketing. While Marketing does require a certain amount of creativity, Advertising  works more with the nitty gritty aspects of introducing a product to the general public. While there are many jobs in the Advertising field, the most creative position is that of a Creative Copywriter (or Advertising Copywriter) . Creative Copywriters are in charge of designing the story-boards for marketing campaigns such as commercials. Every one of your favorite commercials started out as simply an idea in someone’s head. That person could be you one day!

Other careers for Advertising majors include Media Planning and Buying, Researching, and Account Managing. Senior positions in all areas can make well into the triple digits depending on the company and location.

2. Media Studies: Journalism

Average salary for Journalists: $49,000

Pinpointing the average salary for a journalist can be pretty tough considering how broad of a field journalism really is. As a journalist, you could work as an on-air reporter, a talk show host, a writer for a newspaper, or even just work freelance (sell your articles to newspapers, magazines, etc.) Because of this, pay obviously fluctuates. That being said, a career in journalism can be extremely rewarding both financially and otherwise.

3. Art: Graphic Design

Average salary for Graphic Designers: $53,000

The Graphic Design field has rapidly expanded over the past few years, causing it to become a pretty lucrative career path. Graphic Designers can work with any company from advertising agencies to magazine publications because so many businesses require their services nowadays. Graphic Designers may be asked to design logos, web page layouts, and book covers- the possibilities are endless!

4. Music: Music Business

Average salary: varied

If you love music, but don’t want to be the main act, this major may be the one for you. Careers in the music industry range from Managers to Booking Agents and Concert Promoters to Music Accountants. Depending on the success of either the record label you work for or the act you represent, you could either make peanuts or crazy good money. The job that pays the most consistently is that of an Entertainment (Music) Attorney. Entertainment Attorneys handle all the legal matters of the music business and can make anywhere from $70,000 to $150,000 a year. These jobs are pretty abundant considering the fact that every artist and record label needs lawyers. The one drawback would be that after completing the Music Business undergrad degree, law school would be a necessity. Other jobs such as Managers, who represent the musical talent, get their earnings solely from commission so they’re only as successful as their acts. Music Business Accountants handle musicians’ and labels’ financial needs and make salaries ranging from $40,370 to $113,740. While finding a job in the music industry might be a little harder than some other fields, working so close with something you love and having the opportunity to get rich doing it is something that you simply can’t pass up.

5. Design: Fashion Design

Average salary: $73,570

You may not get that dream job in Paris, however, every retail clothing store needs fashion designers. Most people shy away from this field because it seems so cut-throat. While competitive, it’s certainly not impossible to break into the fashion business as long as you’re willing to start at the bottom and work your way up. So if designing cute clothes is your passion and you’re willing to work hard to reach your goals, switch your major as soon as possible.

You should be able to wake up every day and be excited to go to work. If a creative degree draws you in, don’t push it away simply because your family thinks you’d be more successful as a business student. There are ways to make a good salary in most fields, so choose what you love and not what you can merely tolerate.


Making money with your art degree. Graphic by Katie Gibson
Making money with your art degree. Graphic by Katie Gibson