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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RankSchool NameSchool TypeEarly Career Pay
Mid-Career Pay
% High Meaning
% STEM Degrees
Rank:1School Name:Art Center College of DesignSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$63,200Mid-Career Pay:$106,100% High Meaning:42%% STEM Degrees:4%
Rank:2School Name:California College of the ArtsSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$58,900Mid-Career Pay:$103,300% High Meaning:48%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:3School Name:Pratt Institute-MainSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$54,000Mid-Career Pay:$102,300% High Meaning:43%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:4School Name:The New SchoolSchool Type:Art, Private School, Research UniversityEarly Career Pay:$54,600Mid-Career Pay:$101,700% High Meaning:34%% STEM Degrees:6%
Rank:5School Name:Rhode Island School of DesignSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$55,500Mid-Career Pay:$100,600% High Meaning:39%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:6School Name:The Juilliard SchoolSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$53,600Mid-Career Pay:$97,400% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:7School Name:Otis College of Art and DesignSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$54,000Mid-Career Pay:$97,200% High Meaning:34%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:8School Name:Laguna College of Art and DesignSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$53,600Mid-Career Pay:$94,700% High Meaning:47%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:9School Name:Manhattan School of MusicSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$52,000Mid-Career Pay:$94,000% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:10School Name:California Institute of the ArtsSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$52,500Mid-Career Pay:$91,000% High Meaning:57%% STEM Degrees:2%
Rank:11School Name:College for Creative StudiesSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$51,200Mid-Career Pay:$89,800% High Meaning:40%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:12School Name:San Francisco Art InstituteSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$49,800Mid-Career Pay:$89,600% High Meaning:35%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:13School Name:Massachusetts College of Art and DesignSchool Type:Art, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$50,400Mid-Career Pay:$89,400% High Meaning:36%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:14School Name:New York School of Interior DesignSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$49,200Mid-Career Pay:$88,300% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:15School Name:Cornish College of the ArtsSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$49,000Mid-Career Pay:$86,400% High Meaning:39%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:16School Name:Marymount Manhattan CollegeSchool Type:Art, Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$50,900Mid-Career Pay:$86,300% High Meaning:37%% STEM Degrees:2%
Rank:17School Name:The New England Conservatory of MusicSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$46,600Mid-Career Pay:$85,400% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:18School Name:Pacific Northwest College of ArtSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$46,300Mid-Career Pay:$85,000% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:19School Name:Minneapolis College of Art and DesignSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$47,400Mid-Career Pay:$84,700% High Meaning:39%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:20School Name:Maryland Institute College of ArtSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$49,000Mid-Career Pay:$84,500% High Meaning:40%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:21School Name:Berklee College of MusicSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$48,400Mid-Career Pay:$84,200% High Meaning:50%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:22School Name:The University of the ArtsSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$46,900Mid-Career Pay:$83,300% High Meaning:41%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:23School Name:Cleveland Institute of ArtSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$46,100Mid-Career Pay:$83,000% High Meaning:37%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:24School Name:Columbia College ChicagoSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$45,600Mid-Career Pay:$82,800% High Meaning:39%% STEM Degrees:1%
Rank:24School Name:School of the Art Institute of ChicagoSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$46,400Mid-Career Pay:$82,800% High Meaning:41%% STEM Degrees:0%

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College Student

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.