If creativity, design, writing, performing, or multimedia is in your wheelhouse, welcome to potential careers in the arts, audio/visual, and communications fields!
The good news is that many of the careers in this particular field are growing rapidly, with tremendous potential in the future. The even better news is that you can get started on a career pathway while you are still in high school, thanks to stackable credentials that will give you a leg up in college, or even get you started in the field as soon as you graduate.
We’ll take a look at five careers in the arts, A/V, and communications field, including the aptitudes and interests that will help you succeed, and how they align with your YouScience Discovery results. We’ll also look at what to expect in each career, growth potential, and what you can do now to put yourself on a career pathway toward your dream career.
- Web and digital interface designer
- Film/video editor
- Broadcast and sound video technician
- Marketing manager
Career 1 — professional photographer
Thanks to smartphones, everyone is a photographer these days. To be fair, the iPhone in your back pocket can take some extremely high-quality images. But being a professional photographer involves a lot more than just being able to point and shoot a camera.
A professional photographer captures images of people, landscapes, merchandise, and other subjects, with an eye for composition and lighting. They often use photo-enhancing software to process the images, color-correct, crop, and use other techniques to create the image they or their client is seeking. Most photographers use digital cameras, but some prefer traditional film cameras, and some use both, depending on the type of image they are seeking to capture.
Most photographers specialize in a certain type of photography:
- Aerial photographer takes photographs of buildings and landscapes and uses special cameras with stabilizing equipment to counteract the movement of the aircraft.
- Commercial photographer captures images of buildings, models, merchandise, artifacts, landscapes, and more, but usually not people; they are often on location to take pictures for magazines, engineering projects, or other purposes.
- Drone photographer operates an unmanned aerial vehicle with a built-in camera to capture landscapes, scenery, events, and more. (Revisit our 5 agriculture careers blog to learn about precision agriculture specialists.)
- Fine Arts photographer approaches photography as artwork to sell and uses a highly-developed sense of artistry and creativity, as well as a deep knowledge of composition, lighting, and lenses to create museum-worthy art.
- News photographer (aka photojournalist) captures photos of people, places, and events for newspapers, magazines, and television broadcast stations; often work with digital video.
- Portrait photographer takes pictures of people and events, such as weddings, families, school photos, etc., and generally works on location or in a studio.
- Scientific photographer takes photos of scientific or medical data, often using microscopes to capture subjects too small to be seen by the naked eye.
Is this the career for me?
It takes a lot more than the ability to take a great selfie for your Instagram to make photography a career! That’s why knowing your aptitudes is extremely important to plan your future career.
Visual aptitudes are obviously extremely important to consider a career in photography. According to YouScience Discovery, photographers have a high aptitude for spatial visualization, an aptitude that allows them to see 2D subjects in 3D, as well as an aptitude for high visual comparison speed.
Interest is also important. Photographers, even if they aren’t going to be fine art photographers, need to be interested in artistry and have an eye for detail. They are also realistic, in that they look for practical and hands-on solutions to get the best results in their images. Background for a photo not quite right? Shoot from a different angle. Wind making an outdoor wedding photoshoot difficult? A veil floating on the breeze makes for a beautiful image of the day.
How do I become a photographer?
Most photographers have some sort of post-secondary education, including vocational training, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree; a four-year degree is not required. However, photography classes are invaluable to learn about F-stops, apertures, lighting, and other technical know-how in using their equipment properly, as well as using photography software.
Since many photographers are self-employed, many take business or marketing classes, even earning a bachelor’s degree, in addition to photography in order to successfully be able to run their own studio. Self-employed photographers must be able to make a viable business plan, keep records, set up taxes and billing, advertise and market their business to potential clients, and train other employees if necessary.
Photography is a growing industry! According to O*Net OnLine, the field is expected to grow by 9% over the next 10 years, which is faster than average.
- Median wage: $38,950 annual
- Job openings: 12,500 (2021-2031)
Building toward a photography career now
Most professional photographers will take photography and photo software classes to understand the basic equipment used, such as a digital camera, lighting tools, and computer programs to edit photographs. There are some certifications and licenses available, but anyone can call themselves a professional photographer without them.
You can start building foundational knowledge and skills now to build a career in photography for the future. Precision Exams offers several stackable certifications in the arts, A/V, and communications field that you can take while still in high school that will teach you the basics of film and digital photography. Talk to your school counselor to see which classes at your school offer them.
- Commercial Photography I covers digital photography basics, such as purchasing a digital camera, image capture, image editing, and image output, as well as Adobe Photoshop.
- Commercial Photography II brings an emphasis on professional jobs and assignments used in commercial photography, and provides the opportunity to build your portfolio.
- While digital photography has quickly overtaken film, Film Photography trains you in specialized camera and equipment operation, film processing, dark room procedures, maintenance, and applications to commercial and industrial needs, as well as photography business operations.
Career 2 — Web and digital interface designers
It’s hard to find anyone these days who isn’t plugged into the web. But behind every website, there’s a person or team responsible for designing and coding it to make it usable to the public.
A web and digital interface designer develops and tests website layouts, interfaces, functionality, and navigation menus to ensure compatibility and usability across browsers and devices. They are generally responsible for creating the look and feel of a website or interface with regard to photos, color, font type and size, graphics, and layout.
Are there websites you like due to the layout and design? You can thank a web and digital interface designer.
Is this the career for me?
Your YouScience Discovery results will help you understand if a career behind the computer screen is a good fit for your overall aptitudes and interests.
Those who go into a career in web design and development have a strong aptitude for idea generation, the ability to generate ideas. If you come up with ideas quickly and easily, think on your feet, and enjoy a good brainstorming session, you most likely have this aptitude, which comes in handy when designing a site that rivals others or stands out from the crowd.
Web and digital interface design is also a career for people with investigative interests; that is to say, you are interested in work that is intellectual and theoretical in nature. You enjoy exploring ideas, conducting research, and gaining knowledge to solve problems. If this sounds like you, you just might be a great fit for this career!
How do I become a web and digital interface designer?
Although there are plenty of user-friendly interfaces out there that allow the regular user to build a simple website, becoming a full-fledged web and digital interface designer requires a four-year degree and a robust portfolio of your best work to show off to potential employers.
The job outlook for web and digital interface designers is booming! According to O*Net OnLine, this career field is growing at an accelerated pace, about 23%, which is much faster than average.
- Median wage: $79,890 annual
- Job openings: 10,800
Building toward a career in web development now
A four-year degree and the long list of computer software and technology knowledge needed to become a web and digital interface designer might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You can start building toward a career in the web development field today with these exams:
- Business Web Page Design I gives you the fundamentals of website design and principles, as well as utilizing HTML, website publishing, and design software to create web pages.
- Business Web Page Design II teaches how web publishing software and HTML are used to develop the competencies of creating, formatting, illustrating, designing, editing/revising, and publishing documents on the World Wide Web.
- There’s a fair bit of artistic skill involved in digital web design, which is why courses in digital media are important to build your knowledge. Digital Media I will teach you how to analyze and design interactive media.
- Ever seen a website from the 1990s? It was mostly text and very few graphics. Today’s web searchers expect a much more user-friendly and immersive experience. Digital Media II helps you create and learn digital media applications while using elements of text, graphics, animation, sound, video, and digital imaging for various formats.
- Digital Media Advanced helps you develop advanced skills to plan, design, and create interactive projects using the elements of text, 2-D and 3-D graphics, animation, sound, video, digital imaging, interactive projects, etc.
Career 3 — Film/video editors
Who wants to be the next Steven Spielberg or JJ Abrams? OK, technically they are movie directors, but they work closely with film and video editors to see their vision on the big screen.
But not all film and video editors are Hollywood-bound. Those commercials you see on TV? Spliced together by a video editor. Those web ads that pop up before your favorite YouTube video? Another editor put that together. Even the news clips you watch were cut and edited by a film and video editor.
Strictly speaking, a film and video editor is someone who edits moving images on film, video, or other media. They collaborate with a director or producer to achieve a vision drawn from the images captured by camera operators.
Film and video editors use computers and electronic editing systems to piece together raw footage of moving images to make a continuous whole. Very often, they will also insert audio files and synchronize soundtracks, as well as graphic effects.
Is this the career for me?
If fame, fortune, and glamor are what you seek, film and video editing is probably not for you (very few editors get to walk the red carpet!). But let’s take a look at your aptitudes to see if they are a fit.
YouScience Discovery lists sequential reasoning, the ability to mentally organize things, as a top aptitude for the job as a film and video editor. Storyboards and a script obviously help, but an editor who can see the big picture (no pun intended) can make or break a film, or be the difference between an Oscar or a Razzie. A non-sequential movie only works a fraction of the time (Memento anyone?).
Film and video editors must also possess a high interest in the arts, as the ability to express creativity to make something original is key to succeeding in this career.
How do I become a film and video editor?
A four-year degree in film or video production or a course in film or video editing is the usual entry-level qualification for a film and video editor position. However, some top jobs may require a Master of Fine Arts degree in film and/or video production, which would require an additional two years of college.
The job outlook is bright for film and video editors! According to O*Net OnLine, the career field is growing at about 12%, which is faster than average.
- Median wage: $62,680 annual
- Job openings: 5,700
How can I build my career now?
While there are tons of ways to practice video production now (hello, your smartphone has an app for that!), you can actually build real-world credentials while still in high school. With these exams, you can start building your portfolio and developing your skills before you even set foot on a college campus:
- Video Production I provides the foundations of video production, including lighting, camera shots, studio productions, and even copyright laws, to give you a great start in the editing world.
- Video Production II goes more in-depth and helps you build a portfolio with hands-on assignments.
Career 4 — Broadcast, sound, and video technicians
A lot of careers in the arts, audio/visual, and communications fields are broad, and this one is no exception. Broadcast, sound, and video technicians set up, operate, and maintain electrical equipment for media programs, including radio programs, television broadcasts, sound recordings, and movies. There is tremendous diversity in this career, from the type of media you work with to the types of programs you work on.
Let’s break down the different types of technicians in this career.
- Audio and video technicians set up, maintain, and dismantle audio and visual equipment such as sound and mixing boards, microphones, speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, and recording equipment. The equipment may be for live or recorded events, such as meetings, concerts, sporting events, podcasts, and news conferences.
- Broadcast technicians (also known as broadcast engineers) set up, operate, and maintain equipment that regulates signal strength, clarity, and ranges of sounds and colors for radio or television broadcasts. They also edit audio and video recordings.
- Sound engineering technicians (also known as audio engineers or sound mixers) assemble and operate sound equipment, which they use to record, synchronize, mix, edit, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects for theater, video, film, television, podcasts, sporting events, and other productions.
Is this the career for me?
Aptitudes are important when choosing the career path that is right for you. YouScience Discovery shows that inductive reasoning, or the ability to make conclusions from the information you are given, is a strength for this career.
Interests are also important when it comes to choosing a career path. For example, a broadcast, sound, and video technician may be a good career for you if you have an interest in “realistic” careers, meaning you prefer work that is practical and hands-on with tangible results.
How do I become a broadcast, sound, and video technician?
Hands-on experience and vocational training are important in this career, although there are some educational requirements. Some technicians receive a two-year, or an associate’s degree, which generally gives them experience with the equipment and type of work required. Certifications also give job candidates a leg up in this field.
With a huge focus on digital media in today’s fast-paced world, the job outlook for broadcast, sound, and video technicians is bright! According to O*Net OnLine, the number of jobs in this field are expected to grow by more than 10% in the next 10 years, which is much faster than average.
- Median wage: $48,820 annual
- Job openings: 8,100
How can I build my career now?
You can start building your career as a broadcast, sound, and video technician before you even graduate. Stackable credentials allow you to learn the skills needed in this field, as well as experience hands-on what you may do on a day-to-day basis in this job. Ask your school counselor if any of these credentials are available in your classes:
- Everyone has to start somewhere. Digital Audio I helps you build a foundation through instruction and hands-on assignments in radio, TV, podcasting, live sound, studio recording, and producing.
- Digital Audio II helps you gain the basic knowledge and skills related to audio broadcasting and production with the focus being radio and podcasting. You’ll create audio programming intended to be distributed through traditional radio, online radio, or distributed through podcasting.
Career 5 — marketing manager
Anytime you watch a commercial, see an advertisement pop up in your social media news feed, or get an email from an organization you’ve either purchased from or expressed interest in, you’re being targeted by marketers!
A marketing manager plans programs to generate interest in a product or service, usually working with a variety of people like art directors, sales agents and managers, financial staff managers, customer survey houses, and service vendors. They estimate the demand for products and services that organization or company offers, identify potential markets, and monitor trends. Marketing managers work within manufacturing, financial, insurance, technology, or a professional services company in an office environment.
The good news is that a career in marketing is a fit for virtually any type of company or organization out there. Every company has a “product” to market to consumers, whether it be a physical product, an event, a service, a cause, etc.
From the private and public sectors and non-profit organizations to the small businesses that employ 10 people to large corporations with offices around the globe, all of them can use a marketer. If you have a knack for marketing, you can do it for anyone.
Is this the career for me?
Like all careers, certain aptitudes make you a better fit than others in marketing. YouScience Discovery suggests that students with an aptitude for idea generation and numerical reasoning are strengths in this career. Idea generation is simply the act of coming up with ideas, which is critical for a career in marketing. Part of the job is coming up with new and innovative ideas to reach customers and compel them to purchase your product or service.
Additionally, numerical reasoning, the aptitude for processing numerical patterns logically and easily, is key for marketing managers. Numeral reasoners easily process, analyze and interpret numerical charts, trends, and relationships, which is important when analyzing purchasing data and possibly setting price points on your product.
Marketing managers are also very interested in enterprising careers, those which let them be persuasive and competitive. If your interests lean more toward enterprise, you like taking risks, hopefully, ones that pay off.
How do I become a marketing manager?
For starters, no one becomes a manager right out of college or high school. A manager is a job that one usually works toward, with a career in the marketing field to gain experience. A four-year college degree is generally required for all entry-level marketing positions, with courses in business law, management, economics, accounting, finance, mathematics, and statistics being advantageous. Internships while in high school or college also help you gain valuable experience.
The job outlook for a career in marketing is bright! O*Net OnLine predicts careers in marketing management to increase by more than 10% over the next 10 years, which is faster than average.
- Median wage: $135,030 annual
- Job openings: 32,200
How can I build my career now?
Since marketing is a career that almost always requires a four-year degree in addition to experience, it’s an area where getting a leg up in high school will be invaluable down the line. Precision Exams offers an entire cluster of 27 stackable credentials that let you learn basic marketing principles and skills to set you on a path to be a manager before you know it! Here are three exams in this career cluster:
- Marketing Fundamentals introduces you to a wide range of Marketing Education courses related to the Marketing Pathway, Marketing Careers, and DECA –Student Leadership Organization.
- Digital Marketing exposes you to the fundamental concepts and principles of digital marketing, including, eCommerce, media planning, branding, online advertising, display advertising, digital campaigns, social media marketing, and mobile marketing.
- Understanding basic business principles and how marketing fits into the business structure is foundational knowledge for any potential marketer. Business Management teaches the four basic functions of management and helps you build decision-making abilities, long-range planning knowledge, human relations expertise, and motivational skills.
Added credentials for every arts, A/V, and communications career pathway
Here are some additional certificates to add to your “stack” no matter what career pathway you choose to head down.
21st Century Skills
21st Century skills – also known as soft skills or employability skills – are cited by 92% of hiring managers as equally or more important than hard skills. These include skills like dependability, teamwork and collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking, flexibility and adaptability, and communication. These are skills high school students can start learning or enhancing before they even set foot on a college campus.
The Precision Exams 21st Century Success Skills certification from YouScience gives you tangible proof of your employability skills, which include critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, leadership, teamwork, and collaboration skills, and more.
There are many arts, A/V,, and communications careers available to you, and more are sprouting up every day as technology advances. If you want to find your best-fit career, take Discovery to uncover your aptitudes, your matching careers, and the education pathway – including CTE certifications – to get you there.
Ready to discover 200+ stackable credentials and aptitudes and aptitude-based resume language?
Ask your school about YouScience. Or buy your own copy of Discovery to uncover your natural talents, best-fit careers, and aptitude-based resume language.