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Creative and Media

Ways in

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There are job opportunities at every entry level. Some entrants have few formal qualifications, but there is strong competition for jobs in this sector and many enter with specific art and design qualifications. Entry requirements for these vary but admissions teams usually want to see a portfolio of work

  • Fine artists Although most are self-employed, many still choose to take formal qualifications, sometimes to post graduate levels (some combine art with a teaching qualification
  • Goldsmith/silversmith Again, no specific academic qualifications are required but many entrants have an art-related (not necessarily jewellery) background 
  • Graphic designers With enthusiasm and a strong portfolio of work, it may be possible to enter without a degree or diploma but most people will have a one and it might make career progression easier
  • Technical illustrator Most technical illustrators have studied design, illustration, etc at higher education level
  • Product designers Some people enter this career via an art related/product design background; others come from the engineering sector. Employers look look for creative skills, technical knowledge and the candidate's ability to work to a design brief.


  • Animators  As they are hired on the strength of their work and talent, (normally demonstrated by a showreel), a higher education qualification in animation might not be essential, although many will have one.
  • Computer games designers Most designers are graduates - employers usually want extremely high level computer skills so a computer science/similar degree might be necessary although people do enter from an arts background. Reports in the media have suggested that not all employers value computer games degrees. Some people gain entry via becoming a computer games tester NB there used to be a relevant apprenticeship for this industry but it is no longer being offered
  • Interactive media designers Most entrants are graduates, not necessarily in art - a portfolio of interactive media work is essential.
  • Photographic technicians There are no set entry requirements to work as a photographic technician although qualifications in technical, photography, digital imaging and scientific subjects are an advantage
  • Publishing editors Most publishing editors have a degree and a background in journalism or editing.
  • Sound technicians There are no specific qualifications for sound technicians, but most have completed a technical course or degree. Practical experience is essential to build up a portfolio of experience, together with a CD demo or DVD showreel of their work. 
  • TV/Film production assistants Entry is extremely competitive and most new entrants have higher level qualifications but they could be in any subject - the important thing is to gain useful work experience and such enthusiasm


Creative Apprenticeships are sometimes available but they are very competitive. For information, see Creative & Cultural Skills

  • Actors  Entry is difficult for anyone, whatever the background or training but it is possible to enter without formal/vocational qualifications (e.g. from an accredited drama school - entry to which is also very competitive)
  • Entertainers There are no set academic entry requirements, and there are a variety of routes into entertainment.  Entertainers may start by doing a formal training course, entering talent competitions, working at holiday centres and theme parks or performing at local clubs.
  • Lighting technicians It is possible to qualify as a lighting technician by doing a vocational qualification or a degree.
  • Make-up artists Most make-up artists have undertaken training - it is useful to study beauty techniques and hairdressing alongside make up to increase the chances of employment.. Relevant work experience e.g. on student films or student fashion shows is important.
  • Music promotions managers No specific qualifications are needed: practical work experience and the ability to spot and promote talent is most valued more by potential employers. .
  • Popular musicians It is very difficult to make a first break into the music industry as a performer, and there is no set training for popular musicians - it is vital to get as much exposure, experience, etc as possible and the more skills you have (song writing, various instruments, etc), the greater the chances of finding work (for instance, as a session musician)
  • Stage managers There is no set entry route into stage management. Previous experience in performing or as backstage crew can be valuable.

For courses in higher education, see UCAS

For courses in schools and colleges, see UCAS Progress

For Apprenticeship information, including vacancies, see the National Apprenticeship Service