Quick Facts: Craft and Fine Artists
2012 Median Pay $44,380 per year
$21.34 per hour
Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Long-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2012 51,400
Job Outlook, 2012-22 3% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 1,300

What Craft and Fine Artists Do

Craft and fine artists use a variety of materials and techniques to create art for sale and exhibition. Craft artists create handmade objects, such as pottery, glassware, textiles or other objects that are designed to be functional. Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators, create original works of art for their aesthetic value, rather than for a functional one.

Work Environment

About half of all craft and fine artists are self-employed; others are employed in various private sector industries or in government.

How to Become a Craft or Fine Artist

Formal schooling beyond a high school diploma is not required for craft and fine artists. However, many artists take classes or earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in fine arts, which can improve their skills and job prospects.


The median annual wage for craft and fine artists was $44,380 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of craft and fine artists is projected to grow 3 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth of artists depends in large part on the overall state of the economy, because purchases of art usually are optional.

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