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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16University of California - Davis (UC Davis)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$396,000
Total 4 Year Cost$133,000
Grad Rate83%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,700
17Harvard University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$387,000
Total 4 Year Cost$244,000
Grad Rate98%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$20,300
18San Jose State University (SJSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$386,000
Total 4 Year Cost$99,200
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,900
19Pace University - New York, NY(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$376,000
Total 4 Year Cost$232,000
Grad Rate55%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$36,500
20University of the Pacific (UOP)(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$372,000
Total 4 Year Cost$232,000
Grad Rate61%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,900
21University of Maryland - College Park(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$367,000
Total 4 Year Cost$96,600
Grad Rate85%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$31,200
22University of California - San Diego (UCSD), Warren College(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$358,000
Total 4 Year Cost$123,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$22,600
23University of Cincinnati (UC)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$357,000
Total 4 Year Cost$110,000
Grad Rate60%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,200
24Michigan Technological University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$356,000
Total 4 Year Cost$107,000
Grad Rate64%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,300
25Emory University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$354,000
Total 4 Year Cost$242,000
Grad Rate89%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,300
26University of California - Berkeley(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$352,000
Total 4 Year Cost$229,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$23,300
27San Francisco State University (SFSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$351,000
Total 4 Year Cost$98,100
Grad Rate50%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,400
28University of California - Irvine (UCI)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$345,000
Total 4 Year Cost$124,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$21,300
29Duke University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$343,000
Total 4 Year Cost$252,000
Grad Rate95%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,000
30 (tie)San Jose State University (SJSU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$341,000
Total 4 Year Cost$144,000
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,900

*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.