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Arts, Audio/Visual Technology, and Communications

Careers in this cluster

Cluster definition

Do you like to perform in front of an audience?
Are you interested in working in the movies or television?
Do you like to work with technology?
Is artistic expression important to you?
Are you active with the school or community theatre?
Does computer animation interest you?
Are you visually oriented?

If you answered yes to two or more of the questions above, you might be interested in considering a career in arts, audio/video technology, and communications.

If you are interested in working in this cluster, you have two avenues. One is to be the performer or artist. The other is to work behind the scenes to make the performance or publication happen. As a reporter, actor, or fine artist, you would use your creative talents. To assure that a concert or magazine is successful, you would use computers and sound equipment. The occupations in this cluster allow you to use your creativity, talent, and technical skills.


Audio/video technology and film

In the Audio/Video Technology and Film pathway, you work with the equipment used in producing sounds and images. You would make sure the equipment is available and working. You might work for hotels, convention centers, schools, movie theatres, and stadiums. Another option is to work for companies that rent or sell sound and video equipment.

Journalism and broadcasting

In the Journalism and Broadcasting pathway, you would make sure that radio and television programs and movies reach the public. You could prepare the content and make broadcasts. During the show, you could record or transmit the program.

In addition, you could be involved with the publication of newspapers and magazines. As a writer or photographer, you would produce the stories or articles. As an editor, you would plan the content and assign the work.

Performing arts

As a worker in the Performing Arts pathway, you would be responsible for putting on plays and concerts. You could coordinate all the activities associated with putting on a concert or play. Or you might represent the actors or musicians to help them find jobs. Another option is to put on the live entertainment.

Printing technology

The Printing Technology process has three stages. During the first stage, you would prepare material for printing presses. You would transform text and pictures into digital images or finished pages. Then you would make printing plates of the pages. During the next stage, you would prepare, operate, and maintain the printing presses in a pressroom. You would use computers to perform the tasks electronically. During the third stage, you would join the printed sheets into a finished product.


You would focus on the contact between computer and communications equipment in the Telecommunications pathway. Telecommunications equipment is computerized and can communicate a variety of information, including data, graphics, and video. You would set up, operate, and maintain this complicated equipment.

Communications Equipment Mechanics

Visual arts

Visual artists create art to communicate ideas, thoughts, or feelings. You would use a variety of methods such as painting, sculpting, and illustrating. You would create art to satisfy your need for self-expression. Or you might use your artistic skills at corporations; retail stores; and advertising, design, and publishing firms.

Level of education and earnings

The training and education requirements to work in the occupations included in the Arts, Audio/Visual Technology, and Communications cluster depend on the specialty and the type of work performed. Some occupations require less than one month of on-the-job training; however, archivists and curators need a master's degrees to work in museums.

The information provided in the table below, presents the level of education or training required to work in the occupations related to this cluster and the median wages for those occupations. Note that some occupations may have more than one required level because the type of work performed may vary in specific jobs.

Actors, singers, dancers, and musicians are often paid by the show, day, week, or hour. They usually do not work full time. They may have long periods where they are unemployed. As a result, they often have a second job to support themselves.

Also, keep in mind that there are non-wage benefits that workers receive. For example, these types of benefits are health insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. It is important to consider these benefits when you are looking at pay. Some benefits, such as health care, are worth a lot of money. You should carefully weigh a job that pays well but does not have many benefits against one that has good benefits and lower pay. Remember, how much an occupation pays is only one factor to consider when making career choices.

  National Annual
Median Wage
Washington Annual
Median Wage
Short-Term, On-the-Job Training (Less than One Month)
Announcers$27,720 - $33,220 $44,470
Costume and Wardrobe Specialists$41,190 $48,660
Moderate-Term, On-the-Job Training (One to Twelve Months)
Bookbinders and Bindery Workers$32,890 $37,650
Floral Designers$27,200 $30,630
Photographers$34,000 $44,180
Printing Press Operators$36,220 $39,310
Long-Term, On-the-Job Training (Over One Year)
Dancersnot available not available
Musiciansnot available not available
Singersnot available not available
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Choreographers$47,800 not available
Postsecondary Vocational Training (Certificate or Diploma)
Actorsnot available not available
Audio-Visual Specialists$43,770 - $49,600 $44,690 - $47,350
Communications Equipment Mechanics$54,890 - $56,100 $67,020 - $71,740
Prepress Workers$40,410 $39,490
Professional Makeup Artists$64,250 not available
Sound Engineering Technicians$52,390 $72,970
Associate Degree
Broadcast Technicians$40,080 $46,800
Communications Equipment Mechanics$54,890 - $56,100 $67,020 - $71,740
Page Layout Workers$42,910 $41,750
Bachelor's Degree
Animators and Multimedia Artists$72,520 $90,540
Announcers$27,720 - $33,220 $44,470
Camera Operators$54,570 $64,440
Fashion Designers$72,720 $61,340
Film and Video Editors$62,650 $60,560
Fine Artists$49,380 $35,360
Graphic Designers$50,370 $58,450
Industrial Designers$66,590 $80,510
News Reporters$41,260 - $66,880 $46,310 - $92,220
Proofreaders$39,140 $52,990
Set and Exhibit Designers$54,270 $42,200
Writers$62,170 $61,060
Work Experience Plus a Bachelor's or Higher Degree
Agents and Business Managers$66,040 $57,940
Art Directors$92,780 $102,440
Audio-Visual Specialists$43,770 - $49,600 $44,690 - $47,350
Editors$59,480 $63,540
Music Composers, Directors, and Arrangers$49,630 $60,380
Producers and Directors$71,680 $64,400
Technical Writers$71,850 $85,520
Video Game Designers$90,270 $87,760

Employment & outlook

The job opportunities in broadcasting, journalism, and printing will be limited in the future. Most of the jobs will result when workers retire or go to other jobs. Increased use of technology means fewer workers will be needed. Many people are attracted to these occupations because of the glamour of the jobs. As a result, there are many applicants for broadcasting jobs. There have been changes in current laws regulating ownership of broadcast stations. Many stations are combined under one network and fewer workers are needed.

You may find more job opportunities in films. More movies and programs are needed for the cable and satellite television channels. Most of the jobs will be for those working behind the scenes.

Increased demand for animation and visual effects in video games, movies, television, and on smartphones will create job opportunities for related occupations. As companies continue to increase their digital presence, more art and design workers will be needed to help create websites and other media.