Design & Art Schools in Canada

Design and art schools can help get your creative talents moving in a prosperous new direction.

The focused programs you can find at these colleges place a lot of focus on helping imaginative individuals become professionals in vocations they enjoy. With your artistic abilities and enthusiasm, you'll have the chance to develop market-ready skills that pave the way to opportunities in fun industries. And that could mean attaining the kind of inspired life you have always visualized for yourself.

5 Exciting Career Areas to Pursue in Design and Arts

Creativity is what drives everything forward. Artists, inventors, and visionaries are frequently the ones who challenge the status quo and enable progress to happen. Their work is essential to generating the new ideas and innovations that keep Canada's culture and economy strong and dynamic. So employers and clients of many different varieties are frequently on the lookout for talented designers and other creative pros who possess the inventiveness and technical capabilities to make a transformative impact.

That's a big reason why an education in art or design can be a powerful option to pursue. Creative individuals can use targeted training to become their very best. Design schools and programs are abundant in some top Canadian cities, meaning there are enticing opportunities for those in the creative community. Just consider these two examples:

  • Toronto—Canada's largest city has more designers (nearly 28,000 of them) than any other municipality in the country. They represent a part of the workforce that grew over twice as fast as the overall workforce between 1991 and 2006.*

    Plus, the city's entire creative sector now employs over 130,000 people—representing about 25 percent of all Canadian jobs in creative industries.* As a result, art schools in Toronto continue to play a vital role in helping talented students become contributors to that ongoing success.

  • Vancouver—British Columbia's most famous city is another hotbed of creative and artistic talent. Opportunities are especially vibrant for skilled pros who want to go into the interactive and digital entertainment industry, which generates jobs for about 16,000 people in BC.** But Vancouver is also well-known for other industries like film and print media publishing. In fact, the city ranks second in Canada for English-language book publishing.*** And it ranks third in North America for foreign film production.**

    So art schools in Vancouver frequently offer several different program options for aspiring designers and artists who want to work in these or other compelling industries. For example, LaSalle College Vancouver continues to be a popular choice due to benefits like the school's program variety, professional-level facilities, and convenient location that is in close proximity to many potential employers.

The main point is this: A lot of possibilities are likely to keep being generated for people who wish to go into design or the arts in Canada. In fact, according to national projections, nearly 46,500 job openings will become available between 2011 and 2020 for creative designers, artisans, and craftspersons.****

Five of the most intriguing creative vocations are highlighted below. But several more worthwhile options exist, and there is often a lot of overlap. For instance, the whole media arts field is alive with growing opportunity for pros like animators, digital filmmakers, video game designers, web designers, and audio producers. And, of course, it's still possible to find your niche as a fine artist, musician, architect, or industrial designer.

1. Graphic Design

Think about the worlds of marketing, communications, advertising, and branding. They probably wouldn't exist without the talents of skilled graphic designers who specialize in creating visual solutions to the challenges faced by all types of organizations and entrepreneurs. And the same can often be said about the graphic design contributions to areas like print publishing, Web media, and entertainment. Plus, Canadians in this vocation can earn a median salary of about $47,000 or as much as $76,003 or more.****

2. Interior Design

Almost everyone delights in living or working in indoor spaces that have been specially customized to fit their tastes and functional needs. But, with few exceptions, nobody is better at making that happen than professional interior designers. Whether it's working with architects, restaurant owners, corporate executives, homebuilders, or any other type of client, they often get to enjoy giving life to new and creative interior environments. In Canada, their median annual earnings equal $37,440, with high earners in the field sometimes making more than $78,000.****

3. Fashion Design

Style matters. It's part of our cultural currency. Even though apparel trends come and go, Canadians always want clothes and accessories that look good, fit their personality, and provide necessary functional benefits. So fashion designers get to do fun, creative, and important work. And many of them are highly successful at it, especially if they have their own lines of apparel. The top earners in the field make $72,800 or more per year.****

4. Photography

Popular culture is very image-driven. A single photo can have the power to make a story or marketing campaign go viral. And some images say so much on their own that few, if any, words are needed to convey the ideas or feelings they've captured. Plus, professional photographs are still very much in demand by all kinds of people and organizations for both personal and business reasons. That means a talented and motivated Canadian photographer can generate a very successful career. Commercial photographers, especially, can earn a lot—up to $85,342 or more per year in some cases.****

5. Performing Arts

Toronto, Vancouver, and many other Canadian cities have thriving entertainment sectors. From theatrical stage productions to live comedy and music, they provide the backdrop to a lot of different opportunities for performing artists. And the country's film industry adds even more possibilities, some of which pay enticing wages. For instance, the highest-earning actors and comedians in Canada make $68,640 or more in a given year for the equivalent of full-time work.****

Main Sources

* City of Toronto, website last accessed on March 1, 2018.

** Vancouver Economic Commission, website last accessed on February 23, 2015.

*** Creative BC, website last accessed on May 29, 2017.

**** Job Bank, Government of Canada, website last accessed on February 28, 2018.