Becoming an art director is a great choice for people who are highly creative and who have excellent managerial skills. Not only are these careers fun and exciting, but they offer job opportunities in a broad range of work settings. But just how does one become an art director? There are several steps that people will need to complete before they can begin a career in this field, and the following sections briefly discuss each of these all-important steps.

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Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Program

The first thing that aspiring art directors will need to do is earn a bachelor’s degree in art, art management, graphic design, or a related field. The ideal program will show students how to combine the fundamentals of art and design and teach them how to direct teams that may include such persons as artists, graphic designers, photographers, and copywriters. Other topics students may examine during their programs include principles of design and layout, marketing concepts, and developing advertising campaigns.

Participate in an Internship

Another thing that can help students become an art director is to participate in an internship while completing their bachelor degrees. In some cases, internships are included in bachelor degree programs, but if they are not, students can locate one through their school’s advisement or job assistance office. Internships provide students with valuable practical experience in their field of choice, helps them build their portfolios and helps them create a network of professionals in the field of art and design.

Assemble a Portfolio

A portfolio is a carefully selected collection of an artist’s work. This collection can be compiled in digital format, in a file folder, or a binder. It is a smart idea for art students to begin compiling a portfolio while they are still in school. In this way, they will be able to show prospective employers their work after graduation. When compiling a portfolio, students will want to make sure that they include only their best pieces of work, and they will also want to make sure that they include a variety of work to show that they are flexible.

Obtain an Entry-Level Job in Art and Design

After completing a bachelor’s degree program and compiling a portfolio, the next step involved in becoming an art director is to obtain an entry-level position in art and design. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salary for entry-level positions in art and design was just over $46,000 in May of 2018. Since most companies require art directors to possess three or more years of experience in the art and design industry, this step is highly important. Possible entry-level positions to consider are as follows:

  • Graphic Designers
  • Photographers
  • Layout Professionals
  • Copywriters

Apply for a Position as an Art Director

After working in an entry-level art and design position for at least three years, the next step involved in becoming an art director is to apply for an available position. Persons seeking to become art directors can choose to apply for a position in the same company they are currently working for, or if there is not an available position at the moment, they may want to consider applying for an art director position with a different company.

Complete Continuing Education Coursework

It is always a smart idea for prospective art directors and those already employed as art directors to complete various continuing education courses to stay current with the field of art and design. These types of courses help art professionals remain current in the industry and can help persons in art and design obtain promotions or employment as art directors. Many community colleges offer these types of courses, and topics may vary widely.

Complete a Master’s Degree Program

Although completing a master’s degree program in art, art and design, or art management are typically not required to obtain a position as an art director, it can certainly help to broaden one’s job opportunities. Since much of the coursework that students complete during their bachelor’s degree programs may be transferable, a master’s degree program may take only about two years to complete. And in many cases, an internship will be required for graduation from a master’s degree program.

There are many great jobs available to people who are creative and have excellent managerial skills. But one of the most popular jobs in the field of art and design is that of an art director. To become an art director, there are several steps that people will need to complete, and these steps can be found in the sections above.

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