FAA Career Services

Performers, artists, researchers, architects, planners, teachers, and designers should feel confident when they're looking for work. FAA Career Services provides specialized resources and events to help you locate the right outlet for your creative energy.

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Contact Us

Check with FAA Career Services (faacareersvcs@illinois.edu) throughout the year to learn about workshops, job fairs, and events with experts in your field. You can also contact FAA Career Services with questions about your future as a professional in the arts or to make an appointment to have your résumé, cover letter, or portfolio reviewed. Additionally, you have access to The Career Center, where you can learn about campus events and resources to help you reach your goals and schedule an appointment.

Arts Careers

Alumni from arts programs across the nation are highly motivated entrepreneurs who can create their own job opportunities. Graduates say that their teachers helped hone specific skills, and more than 75 percent would attend their schools again. Many are especially happy that their work reflects their personalities and values. And even in our challenging economic times, arts alumni have low student debt, which empowers them to be even greater risk takers and to follow their passions after graduation.

Our students have recently secured jobs or internships here and at many more organizations around the world:

Our Students Have a Global Impact

Creativity, innovative problem solving, collaborative emphasis, effective decision making, critical analysis, technological expertise—these qualities are in demand by billion-dollar corporations, nonprofits, universities, world-class performing groups, startups, and distinguished organizations. Our graduates are making a difference at them all. A degree in the arts focuses on these critical components for success, and students are also encouraged to discover their identities as members of a global community, create distinctive work, identify connections, adapt, and see both the fine details and the big picture.

Our graduates work as toy designers, producers, recording engineers, yoga instructors, historic preservationists, video artists, mechanical engineers, scholars, choreographers, art teachers, green energy consultants, theatre critics, construction managers, professors, artistic directors, surveyors, event planners, conductors, lighting designers, arts administrators, and much more!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • The median wage for art and design positions was $49,600 in May 2020, which was above the average for all careers.
  • Dancers and choreographers are expected to have significantly increased employment opportunities through 2030.
  • Urban planning offered a median salary of $75,950 in 2020 and had a robust amount of job openings.
  • People with skills in animation and visual effects will be in high demand in the coming years as media platforms expand.
  • The job outlook for producers and directors is good: much faster than average growth is expected for the next decade.

The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project reports that as of 2017, 67 percent of arts alumni were directly working in an arts-focused job, and 98 percent were staying involved through volunteer work, hobbies, attendance at events, or monetary donations. Many credit their training in critical thinking, problem solving, using feedback, and artistic technique for their success. And they’re happy with their college experience: 86 percent would recommend their institutions to degree-seeking students.

Job Prospects by Field

When you focus your studies on architecture, you develop analytical expertise, enhance your presentation skills, learn software, and become adept at formulating concise plans. With an undergraduate degree you might work as a general contractor, handle the production design for a movie, build a business as a real estate developer, or continue your education toward certification as an architect.

Each spring the School of Architecture hosts Career XPO, where you can meet and interview with employers. The school’s career office also provides mock interviews, assists with job searches, and helps graduating students connect with professional firms.

The field of art and design—everything from multimedia theatre to product design to art education to ceramics—provides a rich ground for experimentation, cultivates a respect for ancient traditions, builds a broad knowledge base of world cultures, and offers avenues for gaining valuable expertise. You might develop a fine eye for detail, an ability to analyze and produce thoughtful solutions, or killer communication skills. Careers ranging from toy designer to advertising director to museum curator are within reach with a degree from the School of Art and Design at Illinois. And you can expand your knowledge and gain experience through training at Krannert Art Museum and Japan House.

Graduates from the Department of Dance have performed with the Joffrey Ballet, are professors at Spelman College and the Boston Conservatory, have danced in the national touring company of West Side Story, run yoga studios, choreograph around the world, and are artistic directors. Beyond developing their artistic abilities, dance students learn life skills such as discipline, analysis, teamwork, and creative problem solving that are valuable in all professions.

The department has a powerful network of alumni, and many regularly return to campus to teach, dance, and choreograph. Visiting experts in diverse dance forms teach, create new pieces, and collaborate with both faculty members and students. All of these experiences help undergraduates make connections with professional artists around the planet. In addition, the department keeps a job board and a list of summer intensives, conferences, and training opportunities.

Landscape architects work outdoors and inside to create beautiful, livable spaces. They might start from an empty lot, a landmark building, or the devastated site of an abandoned factory to complete their visions for grand gardens or industrial parks. With our culture’s renewed focus on health and well-being, more attention is being paid to greenscapes, and landscape designers are needed to oversee their design and cultivation.

A love of music might fuel a career as an orchestrator, a performer, a historian, an agent, a critic, or a recording engineer. Plus numerous other paths are open to music students because of their highly developed sense of teamwork, discipline, leadership skills, and ability to communicate with people of many cultures.

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts is not only where you’ll give concerts: it’s a world-class location to experience music, dance, theatre, multimedia productions, and other creative works that can’t be captured in a few words. Musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, drummer Moussa Bolokada Conde, opera stars like Nathan Gunn, the members of Kronos Quartet, and hundreds of others perform there and also present master classes and give talks. Undergraduates in the School of Music find mentors and develop long-term professional partnerships through these global connections.

The field of sustainable design continues to grow as more organizations hire people like our graduates to analyze and promote sustainability programs. The broad academic experience in both graphic and industrial design, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning; a familiarity with sustainability concepts; graphic and written communication skills; experience with building energy systems, LEED standards, and life-cycle analysis; and interdisciplinary team skills developed in sustainable design coursework will be valuable to hiring organizations.

If theatre makes you think only of actors, set designers, directors, costume designers, and stagehands, try again: theatre graduates are also business managers, master electricians on movie sets, critics, technical directors for stage shows, playwrights, vocal coaches, lighting technicians, agents, sound effects designers, and producers on Broadway.

The Department of Theatre‘s comprehensive programs train you to do it all: you might be in charge of getting all of the costume pieces to the actors for one show, run the lighting board on the next one, play a lead role the following spring, and help with the rigging in a fall production. That makes you versatile, adaptable, resourceful, and ready to solve problems under stress.

Green jobs are on the rise around the globe, and urban planners can fill the need for professionals with vision, meticulous organizational abilities, and expert critical analysis in organizations from local governments to utility boards to private foundations.

Planetizen.com ranked the Department of Urban and Regional Planning as one of the top 10 in the nation in 2017, which means you’ll have a distinct advantage on the job market. The department maintains a list of job resources, and the close relationships that develop between students, faculty, and staff in this small program ensures that you will have numerous encouraging colleagues to support you after graduation.

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