Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications Education Leads to Creative Jobs in Photography, Interactive Media, Social Media, Illustration, Design, and More

Public schools prepare CTE students for careers in visual arts, social media marketing, audio-video

A variety of industries employ creative skills derived from fine arts, graphic design, and technology.  The Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications CTE cluster prepares students for careers in designing, writing, producing, performing, exhibiting, and publishing multimedia content. These CTE programs include visual arts and performing arts, as well as design, journalism, audio/visual production, and entertainment services.

Visual art is simply art that one can see.  Visual arts express emotion or opinion through visual means. The most common types of visual art are painting, sculpture, and architecture.   


Public school classes in visual art are not limited to classical mediums, but also offer introduction and instruction in exciting creative fields like illustration, fashion, creative writing, advertising, and game design.  Students can learn to use drawing programs and design programs like Adobe Illustrator in high school, which can prepare them for future careers in design.

Beyond high school, art students can major in Fine Arts at many four year universities and  colleges. They might also find art or design college or online art classes. For example: Southwest School of Art, The Art Institutesand at schools like Parsons School of Design in New York, various online courses focus on individual studies in art design like fashion and interior design.

Performance art is defined as art that is performed in front of the public by an artist through live, written, or spontaneous performance.  Performing arts express opinion, emotion, or feeling, through performance like theatre, dance, speech, or music.  


Performing Arts programs and activities in public schools can include theatre arts classes, drama club, public speaking, dance team, or music programs like orchestra, marching band, symphony, and choir. Students that participate in activities like the school band, theater arts, and other performing arts in high school are more confident in future endeavors like public speaking, job interviews, acting auditions, as well as communication and collaboration with colleagues.

Design and Multimedia Arts

The Design and Multimedia Arts pathway explores a broad range of curriculum, including visual arts and performing arts.  CTE’s design courses encompass a variety of design fields like graphic design, industrial design, and video game design.

Graphic design communicates ideas or messages in a visual way. Graphic designers create very simple to extremely elaborate things like business logos, website layouts, advertisements, and animation.

As the graphic design industry remains lucrative and the average graphic designer salary is around $50K, graphic design is a popular career choice for artists.  

Public high school students wanting to explore future graphic design jobs can gain an introduction into graphic design basics.  Students can take classes in art history, graphics, drawing, and website design. They can also participate in projects like the school newspaper or yearbook.

Industrial Design

According to one of the top art and graphic design schools, Savannah College of Art and Design,  “Industrial designers shape our world, from games and gadgets, to bicycles and boats, to highchairs and helmets”.  Industrial designers invent practical solutions to real-world challenges.

Video Game Design

Game designers and video game developers use creativity and design skills to create entertaining or educational video games. Video game design combines unique and interactive stories, characters, rules, and challenges,  

The New York Film Academy describes a few in-demand game design jobs like game animators, game artists, and testers.  Game animators use 2D and 3D techniques to bring characters to life.  Game artists work with creative directors to create the visual elements of games.  Game testers are responsible for finding glitches and identifying areas that need improvement.

Visual Arts and Photography

Photography is a popular visual arts pathway for students in high school.  CTE Photography classes give students an introduction to photography basics and portrait photography, as well as architectural and sports photography.

Photography for beginners online classes can also be found free on YouTube.  Students can also major in photography in college through a Bachelor of Fine Arts program.

Fashion Design

Careers in the fashion industry span all aspects of the fields of textiles and apparel.  Fashion Design program students will learn design and construction techniques as well as the business aspects of fashion including promotion and retailing.

Students can aspire to become future fashion designers, fashion journalists, buyers, pattern makers, retail managers, or textile designers.

Digital Communications

The CTE Digital Communications pathway explores the field of audio and visual media production.  This can include broadcasting, video production, advertising, and cinema production.  This program of study includes learning skills to operate equipment like microphones, speakers, screens, projectors, sound boards, etc.

Communications involve the study of TV and film production, as well as traditional and online journalism.

Film, Animation, and Video Production

In Film/Animation/Video CTE courses, students explore the art of the moving image.  They learn to use tools needed to a creative vision using film, interactive media, animation, and/or installations.  Students can learn to write, direct, produce, and shoot scenes on film, as well as taking video editing courses. They can learn the introductory basics for careers such as cinematography, game design, lighting, sound engineering.

Beyond high school, the Rhode Island School of Design states that students “bounce ideas off each other while focusing on making documentary, experimental and narrative films, or animated work using a wide range of techniques, from CGI to hand-drawn to stop-motion animation and more.”

Journalism and Communications

Journalism CTE students can use writing courses to learn introductions to literary journalism, creative writing, and film writing.  Writers can also use their skills to pursue careers in the online communications field, like YouTubers and other social media platform content writers.

There are many pathways within the study of journalism, including investigative, business, sports, political, and literary journalism.


Literature and journalism combine with literary journalism. Literary journalism, or narrative journalism, is defined by Masterclass as “a style of reportage that presents true stories in a more narrative way, using storytelling techniques to create a gripping and personal form of journalism.”  A literary journalist uses interviews and research to investigate, profile, and report, while using an entertaining writing style to create memorable stories. states that the demand for freelance creative writers has grown as companies need help with forming narratives to sell their products or services. Creative writers tend to focus on artistic self-expression such as poetry, short stories or novels, and their demand has also increased with the growth of the internet.  For this reason, creative writing jobs are always available and valuable.

Writing for Film, TV, and Theater

Courses for movies and television writing are available at many public high schools, as well as higher education institutions, such as The Academy of Art University.

Writing classes can introduce students to the basics of how to write a book, which can lead to writing screenplays and scripts for film, tv, and theater.

Online Content Writers
Content writers have exploded on platforms like YouTube, and careers in this field of CTE are lucrative. Students can learn how to start a YouTube channel, how to become a vlogger, as well as responsible online behavior.  An online personality has a detailed job description, from research and writing content for their audiences to editing footage, promoting videos, and gathering subscribers.

Beginner YouTube vloggers can expect to make about $1-2 per 1,000 impressions from Youtube advertising.

YouTuber Teoh Yi Chie posts tips on how to start your own YouTube channel.

Web Development and Interactive Media Design

Web developers design, build and implement websites.  A web developer designs a website’s layout and maintains a user-friendly interface. A web developer can create content and upgrade pages when needed. 

An interactive media designer creates graphics and animations for media outlets and electronic devices.  These can include cell phone apps, web-based computer games, or interactive websites. CTE coursework that can prepare students for interactive media design can include animation or website development.

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