Best Value Colleges For Art Careers

If you've always dreamed of a job that lets you use your creativity, but are discouraged by the fear of becoming a starving artist, pay close attention to the following College ROI rankings.  Read More

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1University of Massachusetts (UMass) - Lowell Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$596,000
Total 4 Year Cost$104,000
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$28,500
2University of Massachusetts (UMass) - Lowell Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$538,000
Total 4 Year Cost$161,000
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$28,500
3The New School(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$517,000
Total 4 Year Cost$246,000
Grad Rate60%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$38,000
4Loyola Marymount University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$509,000
Total 4 Year Cost$233,000
Grad Rate78%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$32,500
5 (tie)Fashion Institute of Technology - New York, NY(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$504,000
Total 4 Year Cost$87,600
Grad Rate74%
Time to GraduateN/A
Loan Amt$32,000
5 (tie)Georgia Institute of Technology(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$504,000
Total 4 Year Cost$96,200
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$31,700
7California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) - San Luis Obispo(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$485,000
Total 4 Year Cost$98,300
Grad Rate75%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,400
8Fashion Institute of Technology - New York, NY(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$468,000
Total 4 Year Cost$123,000
Grad Rate74%
Time to GraduateN/A
Loan Amt$32,000
9University of California - Berkeley(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$446,000
Total 4 Year Cost$136,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$23,300
10California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) - San Luis Obispo(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$440,000
Total 4 Year Cost$143,000
Grad Rate75%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,400
11California College of the Arts(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$436,000
Total 4 Year Cost$229,000
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,500
12Georgia Institute of Technology(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$426,000
Total 4 Year Cost$174,000
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$31,700
13University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$418,000
Total 4 Year Cost$131,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,000
14Cornell University - Ithaca, NY(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$411,000
Total 4 Year Cost$250,000
Grad Rate93%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,200
15Otis College of Art and Design(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$404,000
Total 4 Year Cost$225,000
Grad Rate63%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,200

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

Our Best Schools For Art Jobs category incorporates everything from art directors, to audio and video technicians, to copywriters to graphic designers. By using PayScale data to find out which art schools provide the best ROI, you can study a subject you love and still find a way to pay back your student loans and eat more than Top Ramen every night.

A school that seems to perennially excel in any and all areas of study, including fine art, the University of California, Berkeley ("Cal") often comes in near the top of PayScale's College ROI Report when it comes to earning a degree in the arts. Notable UC Berkeley alums who went on to a have successful career in the arts include actor Chris Pine ("Star Trek"), musician Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles), and legendary actor Gregory Peck ("To Kill a Mockingbird", "Roman Holiday" and "Moby Dick").

The Academy of Art in San Francisco in yet another California school on this list. This private art school in Northern California typically has a low graduation, and students often take more than four years to graduate, so weigh this decision carefully.

If you live for Fashion Week and have always dreamed of having your creations appear in the pages of Vogue, then The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City, may be the best school for you. Despite the fact that fashion jobs are some of the hardest arts jobs to come by and that fashion is a competitive field, FIT alumni who go on to work in their chosen field often see a solid return on their educational investment. Most people don't know that the Fashion Institute of Technology is a public school, which may explain how it keeps costs down for students. Reem Acra, Nina Garcia, Nanette Lepore and Calvin Klein all attended FIT.

These days, pursuing a career in the arts requires more than just raw talent if you want to be able to pay your bills. Most art jobs now require some technological know-how, whether it's familiarity with the software used in graphic design, video production or fashion, or a little knowledge of computer programming and coding. You can absolutely have a successful career in the arts, but before you choose that professional path, it's imperative that you learn complementary skills and do your research to find out which art schools provide their alumni with the best return on investment.