Career pathways – exploring arts and communication careers

Discover careers in art, design, entertainment, sports and media.

Are you interested in journalism, visual arts, performing arts or broadcasting classes? Would you describe yourself as creative, artistic, athletic, resourceful or expressive? Do you like taking photographs, creative writing, participating in sports, speaking in public, playing an instrument, dancing or making crafts? In your free time, would you enjoy being in a play, working on the school newspaper or yearbook, writing poetry, or painting? If you answered yes to some of these questions, then Michigan State University Extension recommends a career in the arts and communications.

There are many career options in the arts and communication pathway. These career options are typically found in the major career group also known as arts, design, entertainment, sports and media occupations classification by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupations found in this area include floral designers, interior designers, art directors, dancers and choreographers, broadcast and sound engineering technicians, technical writer, and interpreter and translator.

Are there jobs in this career pathway? According to Americans for the Arts as of January 2012, “there are 905,689 businesses in the U.S. involved in the creation or distribution of the arts that employ 3.35 million people.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 7 percent growth in employment in this cluster from 2012-2022, with 181,000 new jobs anticipated in this category nationwide. However, of the 22 major occupational groups, the major career group also known as “arts, design, entertainment, sports and media occupations” ranked only 17. An individual looking for work in these fields may also want to “pound the pavement” particularly hard in states where these jobs are concentrated in. The top five states with the highest employment level include California, New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois.

Can I make money in this career pathway? In 2012, the Michigan average annual salary in this this pathway was $44,930 and in the U.S. the average annual salary was $54,490.The lowest paying occupations in this pathway were floral designers ($23,240) and merchandise displayers ($26,230). The highest paying careers in this area were a broadcast news analyst ($74,000) and a commercial industrial designer ($70,100).

How can a young person get hands on experience exploring arts, design, entertainment, sports and media related careers? Michigan State University and MSU Extension offer some very unique opportunities by joining 4-H. Through 4-H, a young person can become involved in a wide range of related project areas including communications, performing arts and visual arts.

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