Best Undergraduate Art Schools by Salary Potential

Thinking of getting your bachelor’s degree in art? Before you choose your school, learn about the best art colleges by graduate earnings.

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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 School, Research UniversityBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$52,100$106,10033%6%

1The New School
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,100
Mid-Career Pay$106,100
% High Meaning33%
% STEM Degrees6%
2Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$52,100$105,00045%0%

2Pratt Institute-Main
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,100
Mid-Career Pay$105,000
% High Meaning45%
% STEM Degrees0%
3Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$56,600$99,40050%0%

3California College of the Arts
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$56,600
Mid-Career Pay$99,400
% High Meaning50%
% STEM Degrees0%
4Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$53,300$98,80037%0%

4Rhode Island School of Design
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,300
Mid-Career Pay$98,800
% High Meaning37%
% STEM Degrees0%
5Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$52,100$98,10034%0%

5Otis College of Art and Design
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,100
Mid-Career Pay$98,100
% High Meaning34%
% STEM Degrees0%
6Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$52,600$97,600N/A0%

6The Juilliard School
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,600
Mid-Career Pay$97,600
% High MeaningN/A
% STEM Degrees0%
7Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$51,700$93,000N/A0%

7Laguna College of Art and Design
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$51,700
Mid-Career Pay$93,000
% High MeaningN/A
% STEM Degrees0%
8Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$49,700$90,500N/A0%

8Manhattan School of Music
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$49,700
Mid-Career Pay$90,500
% High MeaningN/A
% STEM Degrees0%
9Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$43,400$89,900N/A0%

9Pacific Northwest College of Art
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$43,400
Mid-Career Pay$89,900
% High MeaningN/A
% STEM Degrees0%
10Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$43,600$89,700N/A0%

10The New England Conservatory of Music
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$43,600
Mid-Career Pay$89,700
% High MeaningN/A
% STEM Degrees0%
11Art, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$48,500$86,10038%0%

11Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$48,500
Mid-Career Pay$86,100
% High Meaning38%
% STEM Degrees0%
12Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$50,000$85,70041%0%

12College for Creative Studies
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$50,000
Mid-Career Pay$85,700
% High Meaning41%
% STEM Degrees0%
13Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$47,800$84,500N/A0%

13New York School of Interior Design
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$47,800
Mid-Career Pay$84,500
% High MeaningN/A
% STEM Degrees0%
14Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$49,900$84,40033%0%

14San Francisco Art Institute
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$49,900
Mid-Career Pay$84,400
% High Meaning33%
% STEM Degrees0%
15Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$45,700$83,80034%0%

15Cleveland Institute of Art
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$45,700
Mid-Career Pay$83,800
% High Meaning34%
% STEM Degrees0%
16Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$53,200$83,10058%2%

16California Institute of the Arts
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,200
Mid-Career Pay$83,100
% High Meaning58%
% STEM Degrees2%
17Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$44,400$82,40039%1%

17Columbia College Chicago
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$44,400
Mid-Career Pay$82,400
% High Meaning39%
% STEM Degrees1%
18Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$46,500$81,90051%0%

18Berklee College of Music
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$46,500
Mid-Career Pay$81,900
% High Meaning51%
% STEM Degrees0%
19Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$46,200$80,90043%0%

19The University of the Arts
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$46,200
Mid-Career Pay$80,900
% High Meaning43%
% STEM Degrees0%
20Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$39,800$80,80050%0%

20Memphis College of Art
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$39,800
Mid-Career Pay$80,800
% High Meaning50%
% STEM Degrees0%
21Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$45,700$80,40042%0%

21School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$45,700
Mid-Career Pay$80,400
% High Meaning42%
% STEM Degrees0%
22Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$41,200$80,10037%0%

22American Academy of Art
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$41,200
Mid-Career Pay$80,100
% High Meaning37%
% STEM Degrees0%
23Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$49,100$79,60037%0%

23Cornish College of the Arts
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$49,100
Mid-Career Pay$79,600
% High Meaning37%
% STEM Degrees0%
24Art, Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$50,500$79,20038%2%

24Marymount Manhattan College
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$50,500
Mid-Career Pay$79,200
% High Meaning38%
% STEM Degrees2%
25Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$43,400$78,60032%0%

25Columbus College of Art and Design
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$43,400
Mid-Career Pay$78,600
% High Meaning32%
% 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 here.

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.

But following your muse doesn’t necessarily translate to a meaningful career. Some art and design majors have a low sense of job meaning; for some schools, less than a quarter of their graduates say that their jobs make the world a better place.


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