Creative Careers: Turn Your Passion into a Profitable Profession
Article by Chloë Dowley

If you're most content when creating and designing, whether it be on paper, on a computer screen, or even on your living room floor, consider yourself lucky. The world needs more innovative thinkers, and with the right training you could make a living using your natural artistic inclinations.

Here are 5 career ideas for the creative mind:

1. Marketing & Advertising
Use your creativity to land a corner office as you bring together your business brain and artistic soul.

- Training: With a marketing degree, your creative nature can earn lucrative contracts and profits, whether you choose to work in business, entertainment, media, or any other field of your liking. Earn an MBA degree and give yourself a chance to really work your way up the corporate ladder.

- Salary: Advertising GMs earned median hourly wages of $55.06 in 2004.

2. Digital Graphic ArtsGet in on this growing multi-billion dollar profession that includes career opportunities in entertainment, print media, the internet, television, movies, business, and more.

- Training: You'll need graphic arts training from a respected art school, where you can apply your creative vision with the most recent software applications. After art school, a world of cutting-edge careers becomes available. You can specialize in, 3d animation, web design, marketing design, and even video game design. If you can visualize it, you can design it.

- Salary: Average salaries in digital graphic design professions range from $50,000 to over $60,000.

3. Fashion Design & Merchandising
There's always room for the next Vera Wang or Calvin Klein in this highly competitive field. If you have an eye for style, you may be suited for a career in fashion.

- Training: Two years of fashion school training is typically required for most entry-level jobs. If you've ever dreamed of seeing your creations on thousands of people, fashion school is the perfect way to focus your talents.

- Salary: $55,840 was the median annual salary in 2004.

4. Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management
Make mouths water while you make a living. Or, if you prefer to work outside of the kitchen, a career as a restaurant manager might be your cup of tea.

- Training: To become a chef or restaurant manager at a premier restaurant, a minimum of two years of culinary arts school or hospitality management training is essential. After that, the world is your oyster. You can focus your talents on food preparation and presentation, customer service, finance and budget, employee relations, or all the above.

- Perks: Median hourly earnings were $14.75 in 2004.

5. Interior DesignAn eye for colors, textiles, and spatial relations is key in this profession. You can choose to be a general interior decorator, or specialize in areas such as kitchen and bath design.

- Training: Complete an interior design training program, and put in one to three years as a designer's apprentice. Twenty-three states require you to complete a licensing exam as well. Whether you specialize in home decorating or corporate design, interior design school will give you the tools you need to create dream interiors for your clients.

- Salary: Interior designers earned a median salary of $40,670 in 2004.

Tips for Success
The same great features that attract you to creative occupations are compelling thousands of other qualified individuals as well. Use these tips to set yourself apart from the masses.

1. Do Your Research
Interview a professional in the field about the best and worst parts of their jobs and follow them around for a day to see the reality of the job.

2. Train for Success
Most jobs in the creative sector are competitive, so the more creative training you get, the better qualified you may be for a position. Find an accredited educational program that can prepare you with the skills you need for your chosen career.

3. Build Your Portfolio
In the design and creative fields, your work represents you. Save copies of your finished products to show potential employers.

4. Network
Meet as many professionals as you can. The more people you know, the greater your chances of finding a job.

There's no doubt that your hobby could become a full-fledged profession.


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