Best Undergraduate Art Schools by Salary Potential

Want to make a career out of your passion for art, but afraid of being a starving artist once you graduate? Check out design college rankings by graduate salary.

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Bachelor's Only
Salary data for alumni who earned a bachelor's degree and did not go on to earn any additional degrees.
All Alumni
Salary data for all alumni who earned a bachelor's degree, including but not limited to those who went on to earn additional degrees from any school.
Rank 
School Name 
School Type
Degree Type 
School Sector
Early Career Pay
 
Median salary for alumni with 0-5 years experience
Mid-Career Pay
 
Median salary for alumni with 10+ years experience
% High Meaning
 
% alumni who say their work makes the world a better place
% STEM Degrees
 
% degrees awarded in science, technology, engineering or math subjects
1Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$52,200$106,30046%0%

1Pratt Institute-Main
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,200
Mid-Career Pay$106,300
% High Meaning46%
% STEM Degrees0%
2Art, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$52,600$104,70037%6%

2The New School
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,600
Mid-Career Pay$104,700
% High Meaning37%
% STEM Degrees6%
3Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$53,500$99,50038%0%

3Rhode Island School of Design
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,500
Mid-Career Pay$99,500
% High Meaning38%
% STEM Degrees0%
4Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$57,000$97,70050%0%

4California College of the Arts
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$57,000
Mid-Career Pay$97,700
% High Meaning50%
% STEM Degrees0%
5Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$52,300$97,20034%0%

5Otis College of Art and Design
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,300
Mid-Career Pay$97,200
% High Meaning34%
% STEM Degrees0%
6Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$53,000$95,800N/A0%

6Manhattan School of Music
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,000
Mid-Career Pay$95,800
% High MeaningN/A
% STEM Degrees0%
7Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$51,800$93,60050%0%

7Laguna College of Art and Design
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$51,800
Mid-Career Pay$93,600
% High Meaning50%
% STEM Degrees0%
8Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$48,800$87,800N/A0%

8New York School of Interior Design
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$48,800
Mid-Career Pay$87,800
% High MeaningN/A
% STEM Degrees0%
9Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$44,400$86,700N/A0%

9Pacific Northwest College of Art
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$44,400
Mid-Career Pay$86,700
% High MeaningN/A
% STEM Degrees0%
10Art, State SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPublic$48,800$86,20041%0%

10Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$48,800
Mid-Career Pay$86,200
% High Meaning41%
% STEM Degrees0%
11Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$49,600$85,90062%0%

11The Juilliard School
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$49,600
Mid-Career Pay$85,900
% High Meaning62%
% STEM Degrees0%
12Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$53,300$85,00058%2%

12California Institute of the Arts
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,300
Mid-Career Pay$85,000
% High Meaning58%
% STEM Degrees2%
13Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$45,800$84,40034%0%

13Cleveland Institute of Art
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$45,800
Mid-Career Pay$84,400
% High Meaning34%
% STEM Degrees0%
14Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$50,200$83,70044%0%

14College for Creative Studies
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$50,200
Mid-Career Pay$83,700
% High Meaning44%
% STEM Degrees0%
14Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$47,200$83,70052%0%

14Berklee College of Music
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$47,200
Mid-Career Pay$83,700
% High Meaning52%
% STEM Degrees0%
16Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$46,500$83,20042%0%

16The University of the Arts
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$46,500
Mid-Career Pay$83,200
% High Meaning42%
% STEM Degrees0%
16Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$49,600$83,20033%0%

16San Francisco Art Institute
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$49,600
Mid-Career Pay$83,200
% High Meaning33%
% STEM Degrees0%
18Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$44,700$83,00040%1%

18Columbia College Chicago
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$44,700
Mid-Career Pay$83,000
% High Meaning40%
% STEM Degrees1%
19Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$44,600$82,000N/A0%

19The New England Conservatory of Music
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$44,600
Mid-Career Pay$82,000
% High MeaningN/A
% STEM Degrees0%
20Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$39,700$81,60050%0%

20Memphis College of Art
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$39,700
Mid-Career Pay$81,600
% High Meaning50%
% STEM Degrees0%
21Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$46,200$81,00043%0%

21School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$46,200
Mid-Career Pay$81,000
% High Meaning43%
% STEM Degrees0%
22Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$49,100$80,80039%0%

22Cornish College of the Arts
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$49,100
Mid-Career Pay$80,800
% High Meaning39%
% STEM Degrees0%
23Art, Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$50,800$80,50045%2%

23Marymount Manhattan College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$50,800
Mid-Career Pay$80,500
% High Meaning45%
% STEM Degrees2%
23Art, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$41,100$80,50037%0%

23American Academy of Art
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$41,100
Mid-Career Pay$80,500
% High Meaning37%
% STEM Degrees0%
25Art, State SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPublic$46,200$80,40049%0%

25University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$46,200
Mid-Career Pay$80,400
% High Meaning49%
% STEM Degrees0%
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Good news – you can study art without ending up as a starving artist. Just pay careful attention to PayScale’s ranking of art colleges by graduate earnings for alumni who received their bachelor’s degrees at the art and design schools listed above. Art school has a bad reputation for leaving heavily indebted grads with low-paying jobs, but some art and design school alumni fare pretty well in terms of post-grad salaries.

The Art Center, a design-focused private not-for-profit university in Pasadena, California, often produces alumni with high early career salaries, and the Pratt Institute frequently produces alumni with high median mid-career salaries.

In general, private not-for-profit art schools rank better in PayScale’s College Salary Report than private for-profit art schools.


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