10 High-Paying Creative Jobs & How to Get Them

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover creative roles that empower individuals to channel their imaginations, infuse innovation, and bring distinctiveness to the professional environment.

[Featured Image] A woman searching for a creative job works at her desk.

Creativity is essential to innovating and creating new things in the world. Creative people are often artistically inclined and have a passion for using their imaginations to explore different approaches and techniques to problems and situations.

Creative degrees are available for people who want to express themselves and their imaginations. Finding a job that harnesses that creativity can not only lead to more creative success but also allows for new inventions and new ways to live our everyday lives.

What is a creative job?

Creative careers can come in various forms, but they are typically ones in which you create something new or develop innovative ways of thinking. Creative jobs involve making mistakes, trying new things, and advocating for yourself and your ideas. Each individual’s creative process (and even their definition of creativity) is different. But creativity allows you to accomplish new, innovative ideas that challenge those that already exist.

Benefits of working in a creative job

One of the primary benefits of working in a creative job is personal perseverance and the ability to express yourself daily. Jobs for creative people make room for freedom, flexibility, and the ability to create something new.

When employers allow their employees to use their creativity, they become motivated in the workplace and increased collaboration is present.

Where can creative people work?

Creative people can work in nearly every industry, not just those such as arts and entertainment, which are more synonymous with creativity. They may work as small business owners, translators, or teachers as well. For example, a car salesperson has to use their creativity to pitch a product to a customer uniquely to secure a sale. However, as a creative individual, you can also seek out job opportunities that put your imagination to the test, allowing you to explore new ideas and challenge yourself daily.

Specific creative fields for people looking for creative jobs include the film and television industry, music, writing and publishing, and advertising or marketing. Every occupation can become infused with creativity when a visionary is engaged, as imaginative individuals consistently strive for self-improvement, refine their ideas, and achieve new objectives. There are jobs that specifically highlight the skills of creative individuals, such as web and technology development, writing and artistry, and marketing.

Creative jobs often involve an increased collaborative work environment and the ability to choose when, where, and how you want to work. Creativity strikes unexpectedly, and in a creative profession you're ideally provided with chances to express yourself whenever you find it fitting. Every job has different rules and expectations, but creative jobs generally allow you to be unique in your everyday approach to the job.

Examples of 10 creative jobs

1. Web developer

Median annual US salary (BLS.gov): $80,730 [1]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 16 percent [2]

Requirements: High school diploma, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree in computer science; programming knowledge

Web developers are responsible for creating websites for individuals, companies, and institutions. They can either work for specific companies or as freelancers. Types of web developers include:

  • Front-end developers: Focus on graphics, content, and coding for the website

  • Back-end developers: Construct the website and ensure all components work

  • Web and digital interface designers: Integrate a user interface design and work to make the website represent the company’s look and messaging

  • Webmasters: Fix errors, listen to feedback from users, and make updates

To become a web developer, it’s important to have proper knowledge of coding languages such as Python or C++. A degree in web design, graphic arts, or digital design can help boost your resume and prove your experience in the field and understanding of how web development works.

2. UX designer

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $92,247 [3]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 16 percent [2]

Requirements: Communication skills; problem-solving skills; high school diploma or bachelor’s degree; experience in the field

User experience (UX) designers are responsible for making digital interfaces accessible to users. As a UX designer, you make a mobile app, website, or video game easier for the user to navigate and learn how each aspect of the interface works. As a UX designer, you are also involved in the initial process of developing a website or app and making it as easy to use as possible so that it reaches more people. You work to fix problems within mobile apps and websites, conduct user testing, and answer questions users ask about the product.

A degree isn’t necessarily required to become a UX designer; however, knowledge of technology, interfaces, programming languages, and coding is helpful. To break into the field, prioritize improving your skills on the job, and try new approaches to improve digital products. As a prospective UX designer, you can learn skills through related jobs like programming, visual design, and research positions.

3. Architect

Median annual US salary (BLS.gov): $82,840 [4]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 5 percent [4]

Requirements: Bachelor’s or master’s degree in architecture; internship; a passing score on the Architect Registration Examination; state licensure

Architects come up with unique and creative designs, blueprints, and foundational plans for new buildings. As an architect, you’ll be responsible for providing the groundwork for new housing developments, industrial factories, and business buildings in both small towns and big cities. You’ll work directly with clients to fulfill a vision and make it a reality.

Architects require formal training, usually in the form of an internship or residency after completing a Bachelor of Architecture. You’ll need to complete an internship at an architectural firm to practice skills learned in college and build experience, and take the Architect Registration Examination if your state requires it. Upon passing the exam, you may be eligible for your license to begin your career.

4. Digital marketer

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $52,462 [5]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 6 percent [6]

Requirements: Bachelor’s or master’s degree in marketing; internship

Digital marketers participate in the process of creating content and advertisements for companies. As a digital marketer, you are an advertiser and content creator in the digital world, using online platforms such as websites, mobile apps, and social media to gain customers and promote products..

Digital marketing requires creating content that is innovative and unique to the brand or company you are working for. The idea is to make an impact on your audience and entice them to buy whatever product the business is selling. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in marketing or digital communications is recommended for this role.

5. Copywriter

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $59,717 [7]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 4 percent [8]

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in English or communications; portfolio

Copywriters use their creativity to come up with written language for marketing campaigns and advertising agencies. As a copywriter, you may have the option to freelance or work directly for an advertising company. Your responsibilities typically involve researching a product or brand, brainstorming ideas, and presenting these ideas to an account manager or client.

Prospective copywriters require a degree in a communications field such as journalism, public relations, or marketing. You may also have a degree in English. When interviewing for a job, you want to present a portfolio of samples of your work, so a potential employer can get a sense of your creativity and writing style.

6. Software engineer

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $109,901 [9]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 25 percent [10]

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or related field; internship; knowledge of programming

Similar to web developers and UX designers, software engineers play a vital role in the development of online programming and software. Unlike those other roles, software engineers are more engineering-focused, using specific IT knowledge to run a program and develop software for a company.

As a software engineer, you’ll be required to have the necessary training and practice working on programming and coding projects. You need a degree in your specific field and must have strong interpersonal and critical thinking skills.

7. Graphic designer

Median annual US salary (BLS.gov): $57,990 [11]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 3 percent [11]

Requirements: Associate or bachelor’s degree in graphic design or fine art; portfolio

Graphic designers use their artistic talent to create visual designs for products and businesses. Graphic design includes graphics you see on a mobile app, video game, or editing photos and videos. You put your creativity to use by coming up with logos and images for brands to use to promote their company.

As a graphic designer, you require technical skills such as knowing how to edit and transform digital pieces of media, artistic talent, and general creativity. A portfolio of past work, either performed for a job or examples created in school, will accompany your resume and cover letter when applying for a graphic design position.

8. Animator

Median annual US salary (BLS.gov): $98,950 [12]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 8 percent [12]

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in animation, fine arts or computer graphics; portfolio

Animators are responsible for creating designs and graphics for videos and other moving images. You may work with movies, video games, commercials, and other digital imagery. As an animator, you tell a story with moving pictures, using your own artistry and ideas from clients or collaborators.

Like other creative jobs, an employer might ask for a portfolio of your work in addition to your resume. This proves that you have experience with animation, and a good portfolio will show a wide range of projects you completed or worked on. 

9. Technical writer

Median annual US salary (BLS.gov): $79,960 [13]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 7 percent [13]

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in English, communication, or similar field

Technical writers focus on the more refined copy of a business, whereas copywriters use their imaginations more. This involves writing language for a business manual, guide, or even instructions on how to install something or assemble it. As a technical writer, you use specific, formal language to explain a process while also adhering to client requests and brand guidelines.

Technical writing requires a bachelor’s degree in a subject such as English or business. For more specific technical writing roles, you may also need experience in coding or programming. A potential employer may also ask for examples of your writing to determine if you are a good fit for the role.

10. Social media marketer

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $46,011 [14]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 6 percent [6]

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in marketing or advertising; portfolio; internships

Social media marketers are responsible for creating content, developing a brand, and posting images and videos on social media for a company or person. You study a brand’s message and aesthetic with the intention of promoting their product through recent trends and interactive media.

In order to become a social media marketer, it’s important to have examples of your work, even if it’s for your own personal brand, in a virtual portfolio. You may also need a background in marketing and advertising, preferably with a degree and internships in the field. Experience proves to employers that you have knowledge of the industry and are eager to continue learning about social media practices.

Next steps

Creative jobs are great ways to put your imagination to use and explore your passions. If you’re just starting out in a creative field, consider building your skills and earning a degree within your prospective industry. If you already have experience, showcase it in your resume and cover letter. For more information about creative jobs and developing skills, explore Be Your Best Creative Self by the University of Colorado Boulder on Coursera.

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Web Developers and Digital Designers: Pay, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm#tab-5.” Accessed September 8, 2023.

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