20 High-Paying Creative Jobs To Build Up Your Career

Christina J Colclough

By Christina Colclough

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High-Paying Creative Jobs

Fresh out of college, creative minds are spoiled with choices in the job market. Even without experience, their boundless creativity and innovative vision are highly sought after by headhunters like me. And, of course, with their talent comes a juicy paycheck. If you’re resourceful and confident in your creative abilities, consider my list of top-paying creative careers to land your dream job!

Creative Business Jobs & Their Benefits

For some, especially fresh graduates, creative jobs are still ambiguous territory that most don’t dare venture into. For that, I say creativity appears in all kinds of roles out there, but some positions simply demand more innovative ideas to stay ahead of the industry. It’s all about trying new things, making mistakes, and developing something new that rivals what already exists.

Creativity isn’t just for artists! Fields like marketing, writing, entertainment, and even tech development thrive on resourceful minds who can generate unique and useful ideas.

Pursuing professions for creative people enables you to express your inner self freely, fostering a sense of ownership and purpose for your work. In a workplace that embraces creativity, employees are more motivated to perform at their best and collaborate more effectively with other members.

20 Creative Jobs That Pay Well

Note: All the annual salaries are current as of June 2024, according to Zip Recruiter.

1. User Experience Designer or Director

UI and UX designers

UX designer’s annual salary: $106,224

UX director’s annual salary: $117,556

Have you ever wondered why a website looks neater and more user-friendly than others? Give a nod to UX designers. They are responsible for creating accessible and enjoyable products, apps, and websites.

So, why is a creative mindset needed? It’s because each business targets a different niche audience, and your job is to design tailored products that users can navigate effortlessly. 

In particular, being a UX designer involves carrying out research to gather users’ data and then testing and developing wireframes based on those insights. They will also have to address common UX issues, like findability and usability while collaborating with sales and marketing teams to ensure the final product resonates with users. 

A UX director, meanwhile, monitors UX designers as they develop software and websites, maximizing customer satisfaction. They will work closely with researchers, analysts, and UX developers to create the final product.

2. Creative Director

Annual salary: $129,330

A creative director can wear multiple hats, but their general duty is to point the artistic direction towards the brand’s vision and message. You need a comprehensive and innovative vision to keep the company’s image consistent throughout a project. 

To do this, creative directors must work side-by-side with other creative minds, such as illustrators, art directors, copywriters, interior designers, fashion designers, graphic designers, etc., to brainstorm new concepts. When everyone is on the same page, and clients’ goals are transparent, creative directors will oversee the whole team, ensuring the project is within the budget and timeline. 

Such a demanding role requires solid communication skills and leadership. Also, racking up some first-hand experience in related fields, like graphic design, marketing, or brand development, is necessary.

3. Product Designer

Product Designer

Annual salary: $144,360

The name is self-explanatory: a product designer develops the features and functions of a product. It can be our daily things like electronics and furniture or digital products like apps and software.

Sounds similar to a UX designer, right? However, a product designer’s main duty is to shape a functional and practical product that draws people to buy. In contrast, a UX designer aims to craft a more accessible and user-friendly product.

If you have great drafting and drawing skills, product designing is up to  your alley. As one of the best-paying creative jobs, it can involve a lot of tasks, from reaching users and defining features that will resonate with them to sketching, modeling the product, and bringing it to life.

4. Animator

Animator

Annual salary: $81,974

Illustration and animation offer a limitless playground for creative minds. Just think of how an award-winning Disney or Ghibli movie comes out on the screen; all are credited to animators who bring together separated frames into seamless movement and expressions within a scene. They are also the professionals behind animated series, video games, commercials, and other types of videos.

There are multiple paths to becoming an animator. Some choose to traditionally turn hand-drawn pictures into 2D or 3D frames. It doesn’t necessarily need a degree; all it takes is an innovative vision, skillful drawing ability, critical thinking, and some know-how in illustration software.

5. Web Developer

Web Developer

Annual salary: $93,848

Web development is a challenging and rewarding field, which requires both your creativity and extensive knowledge of technology. They can be divided into three types:

  • Front-end developers are responsible for a website’s visual factors, such as its graphics, layout, content, and HTML enhancements.
  • Back-end developers are the innovative minds behind a website’s structure. They write and test the code to ensure that all parts of the website function properly.
  • Full-stack developers can wear both front-end and back-end developer’s hats and build a whole website alone.

Proficiency in coding languages, like CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, is a must, and a degree in computer science, programming, web design, digital design, or graphic arts can boost your resume greatly.

6. Software Engineer

Software Developer or Engineer

Annual salary: $147,524

Similar to UX designers or web developers, software engineers focus on developing software products, such as Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Word, Google Chrome, etc. They use their coding expertise and understanding of software development to design, build, and test software solutions that solve problems and meet client needs.

As a software engineer, you have to team up with programmers and other roles in the software development team to come up with functional, effective software that satisfies clients’ needs.

A strong foundation in software engineering, computer science, or a related field can give you a head start in this exciting career. However, practical experience is equally important. Seek internship opportunities at software companies to gain hands-on experience and build your resume.

7. Agile Coach

Annual salary: $139,505

As more businesses shift towards an agile workflow that promotes cross-functional teams, we’re seeing a rising demand for agile coaches. These are professionals who guide a specific team or organization in adopting agile workflow approaches and helping teams work more effectively as a whole.

If you are proficient in agile methodologies, like Scrum or Kanban, and are a good listener, this role might be a great fit for you. Every day, you might become a mentor and problem-solver to help people execute their plans at this moment. Next, you can see yourself as a cheerleader willing to listen to others’ self-doubts and help them get back on the right track. 

Getting into this field requires deep insights into agile workflow methodologies and a blend of creative skills. In particular, you need to be emotionally intelligent and have a good sense of visuals to deliver information in a well-organized manner, like using task boards or flowcharts.

8. Social Media Director

Annual salary: $94,507

A social media director is needed to build and polish a brand’s image on social media platforms. This pro will research the target audience and develop tailored strategies to expand the brand’s online presence and reach more potential customers. 

Specifically, they manage a team of social media specialists and analyze past and current metrics on social media platforms. Their duties also involve keeping tabs on content channels to measure their success and adjust the strategies accordingly.

This job is tailored for those with great creativity and aesthetic sensibility. Strong analytical skills, copywriting, video and photo editing skills, and critical thinking are all valuable assets. Before working your way up to a director position, you need to start as a marketer or social media coordinator to gain hands-on experience.

9. AI Developer

Annual salary: $129,348

AI apps have taken the world by storm in 2023, marking the beginning of a new era of artificial intelligence. And with that comes a surge in the need for AI developers. Think ground-breaking software like Chat GPT and Gemini or AI assistants like Siri and Alexa; they are the products of AI developers.

Proficiency in programming languages like C++, Java, or Python is a must, but their tasks go beyond writing codes. They also have to research carefully the problems AI can address, use that data to train the models and evaluate their performance to refine their effectiveness continuously.

Besides, critical thinking and problem-solving skills play an important role in your career.

10. Senior Technical Copywriter

write email

Annual salary: $76,412

Freelance copywriting has become a sought-after career after the pandemic, but only those ahead of the curve can make a lucrative income. I mean, everyone can write, yet only seasoned writers with deep industry knowledge and creativity can dive into different technical fields inclusively.

Subjects like marketing, IT, or construction can feel like dense manuals. That’s where technical copywriters step in, transforming those dry materials into more digestible and engaging content for everyone. 

In-house copywriters often collaborate with social media managers, designers, marketers, and product development teams to achieve this goal.

11. PR Manager

Annual salary: $83,626

Public relations are goldmines for people to unleash their creativity. PR managers tell a brand’s story in an engaging and compelling way to build rapport with customers. They act as the brand’s voice, using their creativity to shape a positive perception.

As a PR manager, you might have quite a busy daily schedule. It can be as simple as writing emails, invitations, and press releases or as complicated as planning events, working with KOLs and influencers, and monitoring digital campaigns. Working in this field offers you ample room for promotion; you can climb up to the management position as a PR assistant or coordinator.

12. Data Analyst

Data Analyst

Annual salary: $82,640

These days, most, if not all, businesses thrive on a data-driven approach. Data analysts help them deal with tons of data daily, analyzing, interpreting, and using insights from collected data to inform the business’s decision-making process. In addition, they create databases and systems to maximize data quality and efficiency.

Teaming up with the management team is also part of their duties. Collaboration allows them to define customers’ needs, behavior, and demographics, thereby creating tailored solutions that resonate with customers.

13. Mobile Designer

Annual salary: $122,500

What makes a website more effortless to navigate than others? That’s the job of a mobile designer. If UX and UI designers take care of user experience as a whole, mobile designers focus on creating a well-organized and easy-to-use interface. Of course, these three roles must collaborate closely to make the final product accessible to everyone.

To develop such interfaces, you need a solid understanding of programming languages. A degree in graphic design, computer science, or software engineering will give you an edge on your resume, but that’s not always necessary. The most important thing is to gain hands-on experience in software design.

14. Art Director

Annual salary: $121,757

The art world is a haven for creative minds, allowing them to unlock their full potential. And becoming an art director is everything it takes to describe a creative job. You will be responsible for the artistic and aesthetic development of a project. 

Art directors are visual storytellers who communicate the business’s vision to the audience in a compelling way. Their talent is highly valued in a variety of projects, such as social media, magazines, commercials, film and television production, live performances, music videos, and short stories. 

A degree in visual arts, design, or other related fields definitely provides a strong foundation for a career as an art director. However, an artistic passion will fuel your motivation and creativity to advance further in this career.

15. Content Creator

social media vlogger

Annual salary: $116,615

Like art and writing, content creation is where you can let your creativity run wild. It encompasses everything from written pieces and captivating photos to engaging videos. However, with the rising dominance of TikTok, video making now takes the lead as a promising land to monetize.

As a content creator, your mission is to craft unique and engaging content that sparks conversation and excitement with your audience. This creativity can be monetized in various ways, such as paid partnerships, sponsorships, and monetization programs.

While working in a business is a choice, being a content creator allows you to be your own boss and set your own schedule. It doesn’t require a degree but great filming and editing skills.

16. Game Designer

Annual salary: $149,118

Game designers are the creative minds behind game titles with iconic characters and captivating narratives. They take care of every in-game factor, ensuring the game’s compelling look and feel.

A game designer’s day might begin with brainstorming innovative ideas and crafting storyboards to bring them to life. They’ll then work closely with programmers to translate these concepts into visual details, test and fix bugs, and keep updating the game after it launches. This heavy workload calls for technical skills, logical thinking, problem-solving skills, and, of course, creativity.

17. Brand Manager

Annual salary: $84,160

Strong branding is the cornerstone of business success, and brand managers hold the key. As the lead strategists, they craft unique branding strategies for companies, overseeing and directing marketing programs to ensure a cohesive message across all channels.

These tasks require extensive prep work, such as researching the market and industry trends, interpreting data to inform branding strategies, and managing the marketing budget.

18. Email Marketing Manager

Annual salary: $87,236

Email marketing is the unsung hero many downplay, but the number says it all: businesses can make $42 for every $1 spent on this marketing strategy. That’s why the role of an email marketing manager is becoming increasingly important, especially in dealing with a large volume of emails daily.

To work in this position, you need an all-rounded blend of creative skills, such as writing and graphic design. Strong communication and analytical skills are also indispensable to effectively communicate the brand’s message to customers via email.

19. Business Development Manager

success of business people

Annual salary: $85,602

Business development managers shape the path for a business’s growth. They can identify new markets to enter, develop strategic alliances to achieve financial goals or negotiate with other companies for partnerships. The ultimate goal is to explore more sources of revenue for the business.

Most of your time might be spent networking and persuading potential partners and clients to seal the deal. This role requires a mix of public speaking, social skills, and creativity to secure “yeses” from those partners.

20. Graphic Designer

Graphic Designer

Annual salary: $55,951

Graphic designers skillfully combine technology and art to create visual elements for a product or project. Their tools encompass images, shapes, colors, and even texts, which are transformed into eye-catching and organized designs.

Good communication skills enable you to grasp the brand’s core identity, while great creativity empowers you to craft designs that resonate with clients’ needs.

Conclusion

Since innovative ideas are always welcomed in businesses, there is no shortage of creative professions that pay well out there. The best part is that some might not even require a degree. Just remember to consider your abilities when deciding on the best career!


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Christina J Colclough

Christina J. Colclough

Dr Christina J. Colclough is an expert on The Future World of Work and the politics of digital technology advocating globally for the importance of the workers’ voice. She has extensive regional and global labour movement experience, is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach, and strategist advising progressive governments and worker organisations.

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