Careers Paths

10 Higher National Certificate art careers to examine

A Level 4 occupational qualification called a “Higher National Certificate” (HNC) in art can provide you with a solid basis for careers in art and design. Throughout your one-year HNC degree, you can develop practical artistic talents and business skills that you can immediately transfer to a career in the creative industries. Finding out about some of the careers you can pursue with an HNC in the arts will help you decide where to apply after your studies are over. In this post, we provide a list of Higher National Certificate art careers and describe each position’s primary duties.

10 Higher National Certificate art careers

Higher National Certificate art careers cover a wide range of fields such as photography, fashion, design, and media. Many of these positions can greatly benefit from having an HNC in art, while some positions might not have any special educational requirements. After obtaining your art certificate, you can further your education to strengthen your application. Below is a list of careers you can look into once you receive your certificate:

1. A production assistant

National average yearly pay: £18,186

Primary responsibilities: On a movie or theater set, production assistants in Higher National Certificate art careers support the directors, producers, and other creative workers. They assist in the production of films, television shows, and live theater performances by handling administrative tasks like setting up equipment, producing photocopies of scripts, organizing transportation, taking phone calls, and running errands behind the scenes. Helping the cast get ready for the day, keeping track of the production schedule, and coordinating with other departments are additional duties.

2. Studio assistant

National average yearly pay: £20,126

Primary responsibilities: In studio settings throughout various creative professions, studio assistants in Higher National Certificate art careers serve musicians, producers, and artists. Studio helpers may collaborate with a single artist or several artists who share the same studio. They assemble supplies for a project, set up tools, keep inventories current, place orders for new materials, plan meetings and appointments, record the creative phase of a project, and promote contact with other creatives. Some studio helpers also aid with routine errands, bookkeeping jobs, and other administrative responsibilities.

3. A photo editor

National average yearly pay: £20,812

Primary responsibilities: A photo retoucher in Higher National Certificate art careers uses editing software to apply alterations to photos to produce a particular aesthetic result. They can edit photos to erase imperfections and stray hairs and modify the color, the lighting, or the background. They spot potential editing opportunities in a photo and make adjustments that frequently look organic and harmonious with the image as a whole. Photo retouchers consult with clients to decide how they would like a photo to appear, and then they edit the image, consider client comments, and make more alterations until the job is complete.

4. A marketing assistant

National average yearly pay: £21,063

Primary responsibilities: The marketing executive and other staff members in the marketing division receive administrative and creative support from the marketing assistants. Writing reports, creating visuals for social media, planning and delivering presentations, helping with promotional events, putting data into databases, and interacting with clients are just a few of their duties in Higher National Certificate art careers. The marketing team’s internal communication is facilitated by the marketing assistants, who also follow up with customers to schedule appointments or collect data to get ready for upcoming pitches.

5. Stylist

National average yearly pay: £21,569

Primary responsibilities: Outfits, accessories, and props are coordinated by stylists in Higher National Certificate art careers to create a certain visual style. They might support someone’s style for them or offer styling assistance to production firms. Color schemes, textures, materials, brands, and other visual components that can influence a client’s style are chosen by stylists. They can choose particular items, create clothes, offer stylistic advice during photo shoots, and offer model hair and cosmetics advice.

6. Photographer

National average yearly wage: £24,867

Primary responsibilities: To take pictures for clients, photographers in Higher National Certificate art careers utilize cameras. They can snap pictures for events, commercial materials, and artistic endeavors. Photographers discuss the goals of a photo shoot with their clients, arrange props and equipment, adjust camera settings to create special effects, give instructions on how to position clients and use a variety of photographic techniques to get the desired photos. They can utilize photo editing software to improve images captured with digital cameras or conventional film in a darkroom.

7. A graphic artist

National average yearly wage: £25,781.

Primary responsibilities: A graphic designer in a Higher National Certificate art career creates visual representations of concepts for their clients to convince or inform an audience. When they meet with customers, they go over the project brief and talk about the kind of picture they want, after which they create preliminary sketches to convey their ideas. Graphic designers use traditional art methods or digital design tools to develop a final design after soliciting comments. They are capable of producing a wide range of design tasks, such as infographics, banners, posters, and logos.

8. A merchandiser of fashion

National average yearly wage: £26,819

Primary responsibilities: Fashion merchandisers in Higher National Certificate art careers choose which products to put in clothing stores and how to display them to customers. They carry out market research to find out about vogue trends, then use that knowledge to find brands and goods that might be popular with their target demographic. Fashion merchandisers order items, interact with brands and suppliers, design displays, and develop marketing strategies. To enhance the customer shopping experience, they also decide when to switch out outdated merchandise for fresh stock and modify the store design.

9. A brand expert

National average yearly wage: £26,939

Primary responsibilities: Brand experts in Higher National Certificate art careers provide concepts about how to communicate an organization’s identity to its customers. They work together with managers, marketers, designers, and other experts to provide a consistent message about the goals and values of the brand. Brand consultants can offer advice on a company’s aesthetic design decisions, including its color scheme, website, and logo, and they can offer ideas on how to connect that visual branding with the business’s corporate image. Additionally, they can create brand rules, supervise any brand partners, like sponsors or influencers, and direct posts on social media.

10. A web designer

National average yearly pay: £27,205

Primary responsibilities: For their clients, web designers in Higher National Certificate art careers establish the visual organization and design of online pages. They develop the basic idea for a website’s look, including its color scheme and responsive design components. The look of a website is specified by code that web designers create, such as the size of any images and the font size used for the text on the page. They provide design requirements for other developers, test and develop interface design, implement upgrades, and generate templates for potential site development.

Skills needed for art careers

Art careers encompass a wide range of creative fields, from visual arts and design to performing arts and creative writing. The specific skills required can vary greatly depending on the art discipline, but several common skills can be valuable for success in art careers:

  1. Creativity: Creativity is at the heart of all art careers. Artists need to be able to generate unique and innovative ideas, concepts, and solutions.
  2. Technical Skills: Proficiency in the technical aspects of one’s chosen art form is crucial. This might include mastery of specific art techniques, design software, musical instruments, or writing styles.
  3. Visual and Aesthetic Awareness: Visual artists and designers must have a keen sense of visual aesthetics, including an understanding of color theory, composition, and design principles.
  4. Communication Skills: Artists often need to explain their creative vision to clients, collaborators, or audiences. Strong verbal and written communication skills are essential.
  5. Adaptability: The art world is constantly evolving. Artists need to be adaptable and open to learning new techniques, technologies, and artistic trends.
  6. Time Management: Meeting deadlines is important in many art careers. Effective time management helps artists deliver projects on schedule.
  7. Attention to Detail: Especially in visual arts and design, paying attention to small details can make a significant difference in the quality of the work.
  8. Critical Thinking: Artists should be able to analyze their work and the work of others critically. This is important for continuous improvement and innovation.
  9. Problem-Solving: Art often involves overcoming creative challenges and obstacles. Problem-solving skills are valuable in finding solutions.
  10. Entrepreneurial Skills: Many artists are self-employed or freelancers, so entrepreneurship skills like marketing, budgeting, and networking can be essential for success.
  11. Collaboration: In fields like theater, film, and music, collaboration with other artists and professionals is common. The ability to work effectively in a team is important.
  12. Cultural and Historical Awareness: Understanding the cultural and historical context of one’s art form can provide depth and meaning to the work.
  13. Emotional Intelligence: Artists often aim to evoke emotions in their audience. Emotional intelligence can help create more impactful and resonant art.
  14. Resilience: Rejection and criticism are common in art careers. Being able to handle setbacks and continue to create is crucial.
  15. Self-Motivation: Many artists work independently, so self-motivation and discipline are essential to stay productive.
  16. Public Speaking and Presentation Skills: For artists who need to present their work publicly, these skills can be invaluable.
  17. Computer and Digital Skills: In today’s digital age, many art careers require proficiency in digital tools and software relevant to the field, such as Adobe Creative Suite for graphic designers.
  18. Sales and Marketing Skills: Artists who sell their work need to understand marketing and sales strategies to reach a wider audience.

The specific skills needed will vary depending on the type of art career, whether it’s in visual arts, performing arts, writing, or any other creative field. It’s important for individuals pursuing art careers to continuously develop their skills, stay open to learning, and embrace new challenges in their chosen discipline.


Higher education certificates are academic credentials as opposed to professional ones. They generally need one year of full-time study to accomplish this and are roughly equivalent to an HNC.

Art careers are as diverse and dynamic as the creative minds that pursue them. Whether you’re an aspiring painter, a budding musician, a graphic designer, or a novelist, the world of art offers a myriad of opportunities for self-expression and impact. Success in art careers often hinges on a fusion of technical proficiency, creativity, and adaptability, all supported by strong communication and business skills.

Artists enrich our lives with their creations, challenge our perceptions, and reflect the human experience in unique ways. By cultivating your skills and embracing the ever-evolving nature of the art world, you can embark on a fulfilling and meaningful journey in the realm of creative expression. Whether you’re driven by a passion for visual art, performing arts, or any other artistic endeavor, your unique perspective has the power to inspire and connect with audiences across the globe.

Frequently Asked Questions about Higher National Certificate Art Careers

  • What is the higher national certificate equivalent?

Higher National Certificates (HNCs) and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) are higher education degrees with a practical or work-related focus. They are qualifications at levels 4 and 5, respectively.

  • Is an HND the same as a degree?

An HND is equivalent to two years of college; therefore, after completing it, you can enroll in year three of a bachelor’s program.

  • What should I do after HNC?

With an HNC, you have several alternatives. You have the opportunity to pursue a Higher National Diploma after completing your HNC (HND). Alternatively, you might apply for jobs in your field of study using your HNC to break into the workforce.

  • What is a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Art, and how does it benefit art careers?

A Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Art is a higher education qualification that provides students with a solid foundation in art and design. It typically includes a combination of theoretical and practical coursework. HNC programs can be valuable for art careers as they offer a structured curriculum, access to experienced faculty, and the development of fundamental skills and knowledge. Graduates can use their HNC as a stepping stone to enter art-related professions, such as graphic design, illustration, fine arts, or arts education. It can also serve as a pathway to further education, including pursuing a full degree (HND or bachelor’s) in art-related fields.

  • What job opportunities are available for individuals with an HNC in art?

An HNC in art can open doors to various job opportunities in the creative and art sectors. Career options may include being a graphic designer, illustrator, art educator, gallery assistant, or arts administrator. The specific roles available will depend on the individual’s specialization, skills, and interests. Additionally, the HNC can be used as a foundation for further studies, enabling individuals to pursue higher-level degrees or certifications in their chosen art field, which can lead to more specialized and advanced roles in the art industry.

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