MFA students, faculty, and alumni are an active component of the contemporary and vibrant creative community in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Completing your MFA degree allows you to join professional and/or academic life, having mastered your discipline as a practitioner. Over 93% of MCAD alumni are working and more than half (57.1%) are working in their field.*

Current students and alumni take full advantage of MCAD's Career Development resources, workshops, and events, both in-person and online. 

Potential Careers

Exhibiting Artist

Creates work for a museum or gallery which may be on display temporarily or as a part of the institution’s permanent collection. Exhibitions may be juried or invitational, such as the Whitney Biennial.

Fine Artist

Create original pieces of artwork through a variety of media. Sell work to individuals, galleries, interior designers, architects, libraries, community centers, churches, banks, hotels, government, and elsewhere.


Acquire, care for, develop, display, and interpret a collection of artifacts or works of art in order to inform, educate, and entertain the public.

Community Artist

Work with communities to improve their quality of life using a variety of art forms to explore relevant issues.


Teach classes either part-time or full-time at a college or university. May also design courses or assist with curriculum development.

Secondary School Teacher

Teach art, design, craft, and technology as part of curriculum. Inspire students to pursue their talents and instill a love of learning.

Visiting/Resident Artist

Work for a specified period of time at a school, college, museum, or center to demonstrate and teach techniques and processes in your field of expertise. May be short-term or up to a year-long appointment.

Arts Writer

Write articles, blogs, books, short-form writing, and reviews of exhibitions, artists, films, designers, architecture, experimental sound works and so on, for various publications, both in print and online. Work to tailor writing to both general and specialized audiences, from scholarly works to local blogs.

Graphic Designer

Develops graphics and layouts for products, companies, ideas, and websites. Takes information, some of which can start out abstract, and turns it into compelling visual information your audience can comprehend. This sometimes requires working within the constraints of brand guidelines; other times designers are allowed more freedom with their design direction.

Art Director

Works with a client to create graphics for consumer advertising campaigns and product promotion. Gives presentations and develops liaisons with new clients. Develops market research and plans promotional campaigns. Handles all aspects of studio work on a freelance or staff basis. Designs graphics for use in films and television, storyboards, computer graphics, art direction, set design, advertising, promotional design work, and film titles.

Interactive Designer

Transforms business needs and product requirements into intuitive web, mobile, and product experiences. Strategizes with key stakeholders, analysts, managers, and marketers to create user interface mockups, user flows, and functional specifications so final designs maximize usability and performance.

Production Artist

Designs advertisements and places them in ad layouts for publication. Works in a fast-paced, deadline-oriented environment.

Type Designer

Establishes the look of new fonts using a combination of optical considerations related to legibility as well as expressive potential.

Freelance Illustrator

Design and create images for websites, magazines, publishers, film studios, newspapers, advertising agencies, design firms, museums, and more. Usually specialize in one or two areas.

Advertising Illustrator

Illustrate storyboards for commercials, new product ideas, campaign ideas, and proposals to win new business. Create layout sketches of designs, logo ideas, and illustrations that are included in corporate reports, print materials, direct mail, point of purchase displays, posters, signage, and billboards.

Book Illustrator

Most often paired with a professional writer, book illustrators create drawings and designs that accompany stories or information told in books or educational materials.

Comic Illustrator

Draw, storyboard, and sometimes write narrative stories for comic books. Jobs are split up in larger companies to meet demanding production deadlines.

Courtroom Illustrator

Create drawings of court trials for newspapers and television networks and stations.

Children's Book Illustrator

Create drawings and designs that accompany stories told in children's books or educational materials. Some illustrators write their own books, but most often a publisher pairs them with a professional writer.

Editorial Illustrator

Creates illustrations that tell a story to accompany magazine articles, newspaper stories, or to be used as book covers or in reports.

Fashion Illustrator

Illustrate for fashion magazines, pattern companies, newspapers, department stores, shops, and fashion designers.

Medical or Technical Illustrator

Produce illustrations, technical drawings, and maps for medical, technical and scientific journals, manuals, and books. Often digitally illustration.

Surface Designer

Create patterns for fabric, and clothing, and paper products.

Concept Artist

Develop characters and environments for a variety of genres, including animation, film, television, video games, and toys.

Illustration Agent or Representative

A sales and marketing position representing and promoting illustrators by showing their portfolios to potential clients, marketing and selling their work, and negotiating contracts and prices. Usually paid on a commission basis.

Freelance Photographer

Freelance photographers are hired out on a job-by-job basis, a nice perk for those who prefer to make their own schedule or to work on a variety of different projects. Freelancers do many of the same jobs as staff photographers, but without the consistent schedule. Some freelancers specialize in areas such as portraits, aerial photography, weddings, food, sports, or fashion.

Fine Art Photographer

Fine art photographers sell work to individuals, galleries, interior designers, architects, libraries, community centers, churches, banks, hotels, government, and elsewhere on a freelance basis or by commission. Fine art photographers enjoy creative freedom not generally allowed to freelance or staff photographers, but they must also be extremely self-motivated.

Medical or Forensic Photographer

This photographer may document medical symptoms and patient progress, crime scenes, and evidence, as well as autopsy results. Education or experience in criminal justice is often important in these positions.


A photojournalist documents history with a camera by photographing newsworthy people, places, or events. They typically work for a website, newspaper, journal, magazine, or television network and produce powerful photographs that capture the facts of the story they are covering.

Staff Photographer

Staff photographers produce images for websites, magazines, advertisements, brochures, catalogs, corporate reports, publishers, architects, or other individuals and businesses that want an event documented or an image that conveys a specific thought or story.

Studio Owner

Photography studio owners administrate independent studios or divisions of a larger firm, such as an advertising agency or a marketing division of a large corporation. This position requires business savvy in addition to artistic talents.

Art Director

Involved with scenic design. This includes working with budget, location, sets, props, and sometimes costume design.

Associate Producer

Assists with keeping track of records, working the budget, files, and scripts. Always a step ahead of the producer in planning but a step back in decision making.

Assistant Director

Aids the director with location scouting, daily shooting schedules, and calls to actors and extras. Works closely with the production manager. In documentary production the assistant director also holds the responsibilities of the production manager.

Camera Operator

Directly accountable for what the camera sees, this person is responsible for the proper technical functioning of the camera.


Works with director in hiring key technical production crew and scouting locations. Determines lens to be used, camera placement and movement, film stock, lighting for day and night, and oversees the follow-up in lab and final processing.


Interprets and develops scripts. Works with the producer to choose key crew members, cast actors, select locations, and coordinate budgets and shooting schedules. A background in graphic design and fine arts (painting, composition, drawing, and color) are beneficial. In documentary productions the director often assumes the roles of producer, writer, and camera operator as well.

Film Editor

Organizes and edits film footage. Works with the director, producer, and writer to select footage to be used. Responsible for the final rhythm of the film and can in some cases determine the actual content. Combines picture and sound track and sees the film through to the complete print.


Primarily raises money for the production of the film. Also hires the director, delegates staff responsibilities, and approves the script, set, costumes, and budget. Collaborates with the writer and the director on creative decisions.

Production Assistant

An entry-level position and a good way to get your foot in the door. Works with production manager, but assists the entire film unit with all phases of production.

Production Manager

Takes care of the financial and business side of production by organizing details such as budgeting, records of expenses, obtaining permits, hiring police protection, supervising travel arrangements, and providing housing. Production managers act as peacemakers who ensure the whole production goes smoothly.


Purchase product lines of furniture and accessories from manufacturers and furniture makers to be sold in retail stores. Stay up-to-date on industry trends and consumer behaviors.

Fixture Designer

Develop and design retail store fixtures, display units, mannequins, etc.

Furniture Designer

Create furniture for everything from mass production to custom or "art furniture." Custom furniture is often designed and produced for individual residences, museums, specialty stores, and other businesses that have specific needs.

Furniture Fabricator

Construct furniture in assembly type fashion or aid with custom construction. Expert craftsmanship and attention to detail is necessary.

Lighting Designer

Entails a range of work from designing specialized theater or interior lighting to designing lighting for retail sale.


Draw comic strips, caricatures, and spot illustrations for syndicated newspapers, magazines, trade or business publications, tee-shirts, calendars, greeting cards, books, and more. Utilize story-writing skills as well as humor, irony, or cynicism.

Comic Editor

Working with an artist and a publishing house, help guide a comic to print while ensuring that quality and production needs and deadlines are met.

Comic Artist

Entrepreneur, freelancer, or staff artist that draws and writes narrative stories for comic books.

Comic Writer

Conceives of a story and develops a plot and script, either of their own narratives that they self-publish or submit to publisher, or as a hired writer working on a pre-existing character. Either works with a comic artist to illustrate the story or create the artwork themselves.

Writer, Penciler, Colorist, Letterer, Inker

In traditional monthly comic book companies jobs are frequently split up to meet demanding production deadlines. Writers develop the plot and script for the story. Pencilers create comic book layouts and pencil illustrate the story from the writer’s script. Inkers work with the penciled illustrations to create finished artwork using India Ink. Colorists digitally color and separate either the pencilers’ or the inkers’ line art. Letterers are typographers who digitally or by hand set the script and balloons on the page.


*Based on the 2019/20 MCAD Alumni Survey. Includes graduates from 1990–2019 reporting full-time, part-time, and freelance/self employment.

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