Visual Arts

Program Overview

Program Requirements 

Acquired skills

University education stimulates the development of many valuable skills transferable to the workplace. Employers increasingly demand a set of skills from their employees; communication, research, data use, analytical, decision-making, problem-solving, planning and organizational, responsibility, adaptability and autonomy, and teamwork skills are sought after. While they can seem limited to each program of study, skills are adaptable and extendable to a variety of situations and they can also be used to acquire other aptitudes and abilities hence ensuring the development and advancement of ones career (to further develop your skill set, see Experience section). The list of skills below can then help in the process of choosing occupations that best fit your education and aptitudes and it can also be used to communicate your employability.

General Skills

Specific Skills

  • Sharp attention to detail
  • Ability to listen actively
  • Ability to collaborate with other professionals
  • Ability to formulate ideas and synthesize these into coherent visual concepts
  • Ability to create original artwork using a variety of media and techniques, including painting, sculptures, photography, video and new imaging technology
  • Ability to use knowledge of disciplines such as art history and theory, cultural studies and psychology in combination with artistic skills
  • Capable of formulating visual concepts and presentation approaches for communication media
  • Multimedia presentation making skills

Further studies

Many graduate programs are available for people with an undergraduate degree interested in expanding their knowledge, specializing or conducting research. The graduate programs below are examples selected from the list of graduate programs offered by the University of Ottawa. While they are related to this program of study, it is important to consult the admission requirements of the programs as not all types of degrees qualify one for admission. Moreover, additional programs and other universities could be considered depending on your career plan..


Graduate programs

Potential occupations

Universities studies lead to multiple occupations. Furthermore, certain professions require talent, special aptitudes, additional skills and experience beyond degrees themselves. By targeting a profession, it can make decisions easier during your schooling, throughout your job search and, finally, when choosing among job offers. The choices can change over time based on academic, personal, and professional paths and on the knowledge of occupations and of the labour market.

In order to list your choices, visit the Job Bank Canada website and, using the National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes, view job postings, wages, employment prospects and other important information that can help you make a decision. If need be, additional and complementary information can be found via two online career exploration tools (Careercruising and Choices Planner)* also designed to facilitate your career advancement. The occupations found below are examples derived from the National Occupational Classification. They are presented by their occupational group title, in bold, followed by bulleted occupational titles specific to the program of study. Immediately after the occupational titles

The hyperlinked NOC code for the occupational group is provided. Overall, the occupations are presented side by side with their employment requirements and the establishments where to find a job.

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2016 is the authoritative resource on occupational information in Canada providing a standard taxonomy and framework for dialogue on Labour Market Information. It gathers more than 30,000 occupational titles into 500 Unit Groups, organized according to skill levels and skill types.

Occupations related to this program


Painters, sculptors and other visual artists

  • Artist
  • Painter
  • Sculptor
  • Video artist

Creative ability and talent, as demonstrated by a portfolio of work, and knowledge of the safe use of materials, tools and equipment are required


Secondary school teachers

  • Art teacher, secondary school
  • Fine arts teacher, secondary school

Teachers of academic subjects require a bachelor's degree in education which is often preceded by a bachelor's degree in the arts or sciences; to specialize in special education or English or French as a second language, additional training is required; a provincial teaching certificate is required; membership in a provincial or territorial teachers' association or federation may be required


Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations

  • Art educator
  • Artist agent
  • Artistic agent

A university degree in business marketing, public relations, communications, journalism, museology or a discipline related to a particular subject matter is usually required; practitioner in public relations may require an APR (Accredited in Public Relations) designation


Graphic designers and illustrators

  • Advertising artist
  • Caricaturist
  • Cartoonist
  • Graphic artist
  • Graphic designer
  • Illustrator

A university degree in visual arts with specialization in graphic design, commercial art, graphic communications or cartooning; creative ability and artistic talent, as demonstrated by a portfolio of work, are required for graphic designers and illustrators



  • Evidence photographer
  • Multimedia picture illustrator
  • Photographer
  • Photojournalist

A bachelor's degree in visual arts with specialization in photography; experience in, or knowledge of computerized photography or digital imaging may be required; creative and technical ability, as demonstrated by a portfolio of work, are required


Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers

  • Exhibit designer
  • Fashion designer
  • Fishing lure designer
  • Set designer
  • Theatre designer

A university degree in fine arts or visual arts with specialization in theatre design, clothing design or exhibit design; creative ability, as demonstrated by a portfolio of work, is required; use of computer-aided design (CAD) software may be required


Technical occupations related to museums and art galleries

  • Cataloguer
  • Frame fitter
  • Museum interpreter
  • Preparator
  • Registrar

Interpreters may require a university degree in a field related to museum and gallery work; for other occupations, technical or on-the-job training programs related to the work are required; museum interpreters may require specific scientific or academic credentials for employment by some museums or other sites


Conservators and curators

  • Conservator
  • Curator

A master's degree in art conservation, museology, art history or a field related to their specific area of work



  • Fine arts archivist

A master's degree in archival studies, archival studies and information science, library science or history may be required


College and other vocational instructors

  • Art teacher, college
  • Fine arts teacher, college

A master's degree in the field of instruction may be required; a certificate, diploma or degree in adult education may be required; additional courses in teaching or a provincial teaching certificate may be required


Library, archive, museum and art gallery managers

  • Art gallery manager
  • Museum manager

A graduate degree related to a particular collection or a training program in arts administration and several years of experience as a curator, conservator or artist or experience in other related museum and art gallery work are usually required


University professors and lecturers

  • Department head
  • Lecturer
  • Professor
  • Visiting scholar

A doctoral degree in the field of specialization is required for university professors; a master's degree in the field of specialization is required for university lecturers; licences or professional certification may be required for professors teaching future practitioners in certain professionally regulated fields, such as medicine, engineering, architecture, psychology or law; university professors who are also practitioners in their field of specialization must have the appropriate licences or certification


Administrators – post-secondary education and vocational training

  • Assistant dean
  • Dean
  • Faculty administrator

Faculty administrators require a graduate degree in a field related to the academic faculty and several years of experience as a university professor or college teacher

Related field

Although many students believe that they will pursue a career path directly connected to their university studies, quite often, graduates tend to work in related fields. Below is a list of possible related fields of work based on a given program of study. These fields present opportunities that are not typically considered as first choices when choosing a career path based on a program of study. Hopefully, this list will allow students to further consider the various fields that are loosely connected to their program of study. These results were compiled through a research of the University of Ottawa's alumni profiles which were found on the business-oriented social networking service, LinkedIn


Related Fields

  • Advertising
  • Architecture
  • Media and communications
  • Art administration and management
  • Design
  • Cinema production
  • Entrepreneurship (art gallery proprietor; interior designer or decorator)
  • Sales (auctions)
  • Consulting (art consulting for corporate or private clients)

Acquiring experience

Experience is acquired by participating and trying new personal, educational and professional activities, where it is possible to discover preferences, increase confidence and improve skills. As for professional experience, it is acquired through volunteering, internships, self-employment and full-time or part-time jobs. And certainly, experience working on campus or in other settings adds to the set of skills acquired in your degree (see Acquired Skills section). The Employability Skills 2000+ presenting the skills employers look for in their employees as well as its complementary checklist can help target experience opportunities that will improve your skill set necessary for employment. In addition to developing these skills, performing work related to your program of study can strengthen your expertise and increase your employability.

All examples of volunteer experience and potential employers were selected specifically for this area of study and according to occupational groups in which it is possible to acquire experience. Examples of volunteer organizations in Canada and abroad are preceded by a list of directories that can help to find more volunteer opportunities. Examples of potential employers in Canada and abroad have been compiled in light of events held in partnership with employers, searches in company directories and well-established rankings.

Volunteer opportunities

In addition to providing an opportunity to apply theories and knowledge learned during your university studies outside the classroom, in real world situations, volunteering is a way to help the community and its many organizations. The Community Service Learning also allows students to contribute to their community by participating in projects that are related to their program of study.





Potential employers

The following examples of employers can offer internships or employment opportunities related to students program of studies. The examples are presented according to geographic location: Ottawa and Gatineau, Ontario, Quebec and other provinces.


In Canada

Ottawa/Gatineau Region




Other provinces 

and territories



The requirements for working abroad consider factors like administrative laws, professional standards and work permits in some countries. To learn about requirements in various countries, visit Skill Clear or MyWorldAbroad (registration with a email is required to use MyWorldAbroad).

Established globally

North America (excluding Canada)


South America








Job search resources

The job search resources are designed to stimulate networking activities, develop marketing strategies and facilitate access to job postings. Networking events offer employers the opportunity to learn about the available workforce, and they give students a chance to be considered in the recruitment process. Career Development Centre offers helpful tips on networking, interview preparation techniques and different tools that can also be used to help with the preparation of resumés and cover letters.

Professional organizations

Examples of professional organizations, presented by location, provide essential information on professional development opportunities and networking activities, the examples can also provide access to publications and job opportunities.



and territorial




Job search sites

Here are a few websites posting jobs available in Canada and abroad related to this field of study.



General Job Search Websites


Date modified: 2016-03-22

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