best majors
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The best majors for creatives let you use your imagination and come up with original ideas to create something. But that’s not all.

They equip you with skills that can be applied across various careers too. That means you’ll be set up for just as good a career as that cousin who’s studying medicine, engineering and law.

Pursuing an artistic field doesn’t mean you’ll fall into the starving artist trope. 

In fact, the numbers say otherwise. According to data from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), motion pictures was the fastest-growing arts and cultural industry in terms of employment from 2020 to 2021.

The industry hired up to 326,000 workers from the previous year (in 2019, it hired 394,000 workers) — showing its endurance during tough job markets. 

What’s more, the report showed that employment grew by 14.4% between 2020 and 2021, with up to 230,000 workers finding work in performing arts-related industries.

These include performing arts organisations; performing arts presenters; agents or managers; and independent artists, writers, and performers.

See the abundance of creative jobs available? And that’s not even considering the big bucks in store for them when they make it big. Some even earn up to US$150,000 in a year.

You too can join them — it all starts with choosing the right degree and the right career for yourself. 

Here are the five best majors that’ll lead to high-paying jobs for creative students:

best majors

Remember the films “Finding Nemo” and “Up”? Being able to create timeless classics makes animation one of the best majors for creative students. Source: Jesse Grant/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

1. Animation

If your talents lie in visual effects and 3D art, then this could be one of the best majors for you.

Your task is monumental: create memorable characters, settings, and props based on what designers draw up.

Software expertise is needed to bring game elements alive, so education andexperience in animation is necessary.

Other than that, animators also require a creative mind and a strong visual imagination as well as a keen eye for detail and good colour vision.

The average salary of an animator can reach over US$60,000 annually.

Some of the best animation schools include Gobelins Paris, Sheridon College and Bournesworth University.

best majors

Neil Druckmann is the writer of “The Last of Us” storyline in both the game and the action drama adaptation. Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

2. Game design

If you’re into gaming and have always been curious about game development, then game design is one of the best majors for you.

The game universe begins with designers who develop the concept, storyline, characters, dialogue, and rules.

If you have a knack for coming up with creative, novel ideas, conceptualising games could be your calling.

You can sharpen your skills in a game design or computer science course, with the aim to earn over US$60,000 yearly.

If you’re keen on pursuing game design, consider the University of Southern California and Carnegie Mellon University.

best majors

A graphic designer uses visual elements to help clients bring their ideas to life. Source: Luis Robayo/AFP

3. Graphic designer

A graphic designer uses visual elements such as typography, images, colours, shapes and other design techniques to help clients communicate their ideas through various media platforms.

Apart from having a natural intuition for colours and shapes, it’s also important for graphic designers to know how to communicate well as they will often need to liaise with clients to get a clear understanding of their needs.

They’ll need to be able to take direction, work well under pressure and step into their client’s shoes to help bring their vision to life.

Graphic design is among the best majors that’ll lead to a high paying job. The average salary ranges between US$40,000 at the junior level and US$150,000 for those with more experience.

The best unis for graphic design include Royal College of Art and The New School.

4. Digital marketing director

With everything going digital, the marketing industry is no exemption.

Content marketing or digital marketing has become the trendiest creative job to get into. But what exactly do they do?

Digital marketers use a variety of online channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google AdWords to create content, reach customers, build brand awareness, and promote products and services.

Someone in this role should be great at multitasking and can handle multiple projects at the same time.

These include managing social media marketing campaigns, working on search engine optimisation or search engine marketing efforts, and overseeing email campaigns, among many others.

Digital marketers often lead teams involving other positions like copywriters, designers and search engine specialists to help support the overall plan.

You can earn a salary of over US$100,000 and upward of US$150,000 as a digital marketer.

Digital marketing degrees are mostly offered at a postgraduate level but there are online courses available such as Google Digital Garage.

Unis such as Bryant University and Geneva Business School offer one of the best majors in digital marketing at undergraduate level.

5. Web developer

Web developers create and maintain websites — and this includes the layout, design and content.

You do not need a university degree for this but do need to have some basic coding skills, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript — all of which you can learn on your own.

Other skills such as having an eye for design would also help take you far as a web developer.

According to, the average salary of web developer is US$91,692 annually, while experienced developers can earn up to US$130,000.

Arizona State University and SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences are great unis that offer the best majors for web development.

Common questions about the best majors for creative students

1. Is being creative a job skill?

Yes. In fact, The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Reportranked creativity and innovation as the most valuable skills people will need to stay relevant in the workforce and thrive over the next five years.

What’s more, an IBM study of 1,500 executives listed creativity as the most desirable skill — above management skills, integrity, and vision.

2. What jobs let you be creative?

Every job requires us to be creative. Even doctors, engineers and lawyers need to think outside the box to solve novel problems, like if there’s an electricity failure in the middle of a surgey.

But jobs that let you be creative are typically those directly related to the arts and culture.

Jobs such as game designers, graphic designers and copywriters, for example, let your imagination and language flair take flight.

3. Can I make money being creative?

Pursuing a creative career doesn’t mean you can’t make money. As seen in the list above, people working in creative fields can earn as much as those working in more conservative fields.

If you’re wondering how you can make money on the side as a creative while studying a science degree for example, here are some ways you can put your skills to use:

  • Freelance writing
  • Freelance video editor
  • Affiliate marketing

4. How can I turn my creativity into a career?

Making it as a creative can be challenging especially if you don’t have any experience. But it doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Among the more important things to do is to first, find your niche then constantly reach out to people who can add value to your network. Having a portfolio is crucial.

Canva has some tips for you.

5. Are creative careers happier?

A study led by researchers at the University of Zurich in Germany asked participants to list their jobs and then to rate their happiness with that position on a simple scale of 1 (“not happy”) to 10 (“incredibly happy”).

Results showed that artists and other creative types typically rated their overall job satisfaction higher than those in more mundane fields.

In the Zurich study, the average happiness rating in creative jobs rose to levels between 7.32 and 7.67, while the average for non-artistic jobs fell to 7.06.

3 more reasons to pursue a creative career

Creatives have access to many and various jobs. There are opportunities in big companies as well as smaller start-ups or even NGOs.

You could choose between rising through the ranks at a multinational company or pursue the hustler path of a “portfolio” career.

As the creative industries are less structured (compared to an oil rig worker, for example), you don’t need to be at a specific place and time.

Creatives can typically work part-time, take on temporary contracts or go freelance fully.

But beyond having a job that pays the bills, there are further, less tangible benefits to pursuing the best majors for creative students.

You’ll learn important skills that’ll make your life better too.

Art classes reportedly make us more socially responsible.

One study found students selected to visit museums showed greater critical thinking skills, social tolerance, and historical empathy.

“Clearly, however, we can conclude that visiting an art museum exposes students to a diversity of ideas that challenge them with different perspectives on the human condition,” wrote the researchers in New York Times.