Average Salary Earned With an MFA Degree

With a Master of Fine Arts (MFA), you can work in a number of career areas based on your interests and talents. The job you take and a number of other factors all come into play when determining the salary you’ll receive with this type of degree. Let’s take a look at the average salary you can expect to earn once you graduate with an MFA.

Base Salary with an MFA

The average salary for those with an MFA is somewhere in the $50,000 to $90,000 range. Why such a wide range? Well, with an MFA, you have a wide range of job options, so your salary will depend on the career path you take. Specific jobs for graduates with an MFA, along with their average salaries, include the following:

  • Assistant or Associate Professor of Art: $58,000
  • Art Director: $94,185
  • Assistant Art Director: $70,819
  • Creative Director: $96,917
  • Art Manager: $76,169
  • Painter/Illustrator: $37,410
  • Web Production Artist: $57,237
  • Package Design Manager: $90,698

Of course, these are not the only choices you have when you graduate with an MFA. No matter what job you choose, however, having an MFA will allow you to earn more in your role than if you just had a bachelor’s degree or associate’s degree.

Other Factors that Affect Salary

Want to earn more money? There are factors other than job title that affect salary. For example, location typically plays a huge role in the amount of money you can earn. In a more rural location salaries are generally not as high as in urban environments, with the highest paying jobs found where demand is highest. Your experience plays a role as well – the longer you’ve been working in the field, the more you can expect to earn. Also pay attention to the type of employer when looking at jobs. Positions with the government and private companies are generally higher-paying than positions with nonprofits.


Keep in mind that when you earn an MFA, you also have the option to freelance in some cases, which essentially means that you’re create piece for clients on commission. MFAs are available in a wide range of fields including writing, painting, and film making. While freelancing is definitely a less stable route, the earning potential if you’re a business owner is limitless.

Online Schools Offering MFA and Other Fine Arts Programs

Full Sail University MFA in Creative Writing Full Sail University – In the Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts program at Full Sail University, students are taught the skills required to succeed in the creative writing industry. The curriculum explores storytelling through film, television, animation, and gaming. Screenwriting is also discussed in depth. Courses concentrate on developing leadership, project-management, and research skills.
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