Hilbert College Global Online Blog

5 Art History Careers You Can Pursue with a Liberal Studies Degree

Written by: Hilbert College   •  Feb 8, 2024
People View Paintings in a Museum.

5 Art History Careers You Can Pursue with a Liberal Studies Degree

There is little doubt that art plays an important role in our lives. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, between July 2021 and July 2022, more than half of U.S. adults created some form of art, and nearly half of U.S. adults attended an event centering on art.

Whether they are making art or simply appreciating it, people rely on art to enhance and enrich their lives. A passion for art can also lead to a range of careers. For example, individuals who have expertise in art history can pursue careers.

Anyone who may be considering enrolling in a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies program can benefit from exploring examples of art history careers and what working in those careers entails. 

What Is Art History, and Why Is It Important?

Individuals who are mulling studying humanities vs. liberal arts, considering earning a liberal studies degree or exploring other educational paths related to art can benefit from understanding what the discipline of art history is. 

The study of art history looks at how art develops over time and the context in which art evolves. It can include topics such as:

  • Analysis of art and its relationship to time periods and cultures
  • Various theories of art
  • Art conservation and preservation
  • Innovations in art
  • The part that artists play in society

The study of art history is important because it can help individuals to:

  • Develop a deeper appreciation of culture
  • Understand the connections between the past and the present
  • Acquire new insights into history and past civilizations
  • Enhance their skills in areas such as critical thinking and analysis of visual images

Knowledge of art history and an understanding of the importance of humanities can be valuable in art history careers at a wide range of organizations, such as:

  • Museums and art galleries
  • Publishing firms
  • Educational organizations
  • Archivist organizations
  • Libraries
  • Historical sites

5 Art History Careers

Learning about specific careers can provide insight into the types of work that an individual with art history expertise can pursue. Examples of art history careers are described below.

1. Museum Technician

Museum technicians care for and maintain a museum’s artifacts. They have responsibilities and related skills in areas such as:

  • Restoring, cleaning and storing the artifacts in a museum
  • Creating displays to exhibit a museum’s artifacts
  • Organizing artifacts in a manner that ensures their safety

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for museum technicians and conservators was $47,270 as of May 2022. The BLS has projected 10% job growth for museum technicians, conservators and archivists from 2022 through 2032. That growth rate exceeds the BLS’s projection of 3% average job growth across all occupations during the same time frame.

2. Tour Guide

Tour guides help people learn about locations or items of interest. They provide customers with information that enables them to more thoroughly appreciate what they are observing. Tour guides have the opportunity to impart their expertise and educate people about things they may see only once in a lifetime.

Tour guides benefit from developing strong skills in communication, time management and the provision of clear information.

The median annual salary for tour and travel guides was $34,440 as of May 2022, according to the BLS. The BLS also expects 8% job growth for tour and travel guides between 2022 and 2032.

A gallery director or manager oversees the operations of an art gallery, organizes exhibits, promotes the work of artists and cultivates a customer base. The position can also entail budgeting and marketing responsibilities.

Working as a gallery director or manager is a type of art history career in which skills in business operations, interpersonal communication, negotiation and organization are beneficial.

As of January 2024, the median annual salary for an art gallery director was approximately $60,500, according to Payscale. Although the BLS does not make job growth projections for gallery directors, it has projected 4% job growth for craft and fine artists from 2022 through 2032.

4. Author

Expertise in art history can be valuable to anyone who works as a writer or author, particularly when creating content related to the arts. Authors rely on their skills in writing, communication and conveying clear information concisely. They can focus on writing books or magazine articles, but they can also create content for museums, galleries and other types of organizations whose operations are related to art.

As of May 2022, the median annual salary for writers and authors was $73,150, according to the BLS. The BLS has also projected 4% growth in jobs for writers and authors between 2022 and 2032.

5. Art Director

When working as an art director, an individual designs and oversees the visual look for a wide array of items from publications to the packaging for products. Art directors use their skills in developing design elements and visually conveying concepts in fields such as publishing, advertising or television production. 

The BLS has reported that the median annual salary for art directors as of May 2022 was $105,180. Art directors can look forward to 6% job growth from 2022 through 2032, according to the BLS.

Benefits of a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies

Earning a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies is a good way for students to acquire art history expertise and pursue the art history careers described above. Students in liberal studies programs also learn about how art intersects with a wide range of other academic disciplines. 

The subjects that comprise a liberal studies program—for example, art history, political science, philosophy and religion—give students broad knowledge that they might not receive from other academic programs. Liberal studies students also get to choose from a variety of electives, which enables them to focus their education on the topics they find most interesting.

Pursuing a liberal studies degree allows students to expand their perspectives, strengthen their critical-thinking skills and form a broad understanding of culture and society. Students also have opportunities to sharpen their practical skills in writing as well as analyzing and synthesizing information from a variety of disciplines.

Expertise in Art History Can Be Valuable in Many Career Pursuits

People who have expertise in art and how it has evolved over time can pursue a variety of careers in art history that are personally fulfilling. Acquiring that expertise through a liberal studies program also enables people to understand the interrelationships between art history and other fields. 

Individuals who are interested in pursuing education in liberal studies can explore Hilbert College Global’s online Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies degree program to learn how it can help them achieve their goals. Offering students the opportunity to acquire broad-ranging expertise in a variety of disciplines, the program could help build the foundation for a rewarding career. Start your educational journey in liberal studies today.

Recommended Readings

How to Become a Graphic Designer

How to Make a Documentary: A Step-by-Step Guide

Unlocking the Value of a Liberal Arts Education


Fine Art Shippers, “Why Everyone Should Study Art History”

Indeed, “The Best 25 Liberal Studies (Arts) Jobs That Pay”

Indeed, “Explore 21 Art History Careers (with Salaries)”

Indeed, “How to Become a Museum Technician (With Job Duties)”

Indeed, “Tour Guiding Skills: Definition and Examples”

Jobzilla, Art Gallery Manager Job Description

Journal of Cultural Economics, “The Economics of Art History”

National Center for Education Statistics, Art History, Criticism and Conservation

National Endowment for the Arts, “New Data Reveal How Adults Participated in the Arts During COVID-19”

Payscale, Average Art Gallery Director Salary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Art Directors

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Craft and Fine Artists

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Writers and Authors

Learn more about the benefits of receiving
your degree from Hilbert College