Cool Job of the Month

Art Curator

Do you have a creative personality and a natural appreciation for artistic talent? Do you find yourself evaluating places and objects for their aesthetic appeal? If you have a love for art then perhaps you would enjoy a career as an Art Curator.

Why it's cool

  • It's a creative and captivating job in which you get paid to work with art!
  • The job requires self-expression and the work does not follow a clear set of rules.
  • Curators collect, exhibit, interpret, appraise, maintain, and protect works of art in museums, art galleries, libraries, historic sites, and private collections.
  • Visit artist's studios to learn about their work and style.
  • Select pieces to be displayed in gallery spaces and organize traveling exhibitions.
  • Curators educate the public about the art by writing for catalogs, brochures, books, and magazines.
  • Oversee, plan, and conduct research projects on specific pieces of art.

Requirements for the Job

  • Interest in, and knowledge of art appreciation and appraising works of art for their aesthetic and monetary value.
  • Some knowledge of art history.
  • Good organizational skills, ability to run a department or institution.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Creativity for making displays and planning exhibitions.
  • Strong communication skills for dealing with the public and giving talks.


Pursuing a career as an art curator requires at least a four-year Bachelor's degree and often a graduate degree in restoration science, curatorship, art history, museum studies, history, chemistry, or business administration. A Ph.D. and five years field experience is required to become a curator at a national museum. Practical experience in the art and museum field is essential, and research and publication in academic journals are significant for advancement in the field. The market is very competitive and the academic standards are quite high.

Career Path/Average Salaries

Art curators work approximately 45 hours per week. The average starting salary is about $26,400 US, and after 10-15 years is about $66,050 US.

Related Occupations

  • Art Historian
  • Art Critic
  • University Professor
  • Museum Educator and Director
  • Museum Technician and Conservator
  • Historian
  • Archeologist

JVIS Report

  • You should consider this job if you score above average on the following Basic Interest Scales: Creative Arts, Performing Arts, Life Sciences, and Nature-Agriculture.
  • Your JVIS Report should show one or all of the following occupation groups under your Top 3: Occupations in Fine Art, Occupations in Commercial Art.

For more information contact:

  • CARFAC Canadian Artists' Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens
    2 Daly Avenue, Suite #250
    Ottawa, ON K1N 6E2
    Tel: 613-233-6161
  • Canadian Museums Association
    280 Metcalfe St., Suite 400
    Ottawa, ON K2P 1R7
    Tel: 613-567-0099
  • Architecture Canada (RAIC)
    55 Murray Street, Suite 330
    Ottawa, ON K1N 5M3
    Tel: 613-241-3600
  • American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works
    1156 15th Street NW, Suite 320
    Washington, DC 20005
    Tel: 202-452-9545
  • American Alliance of Museums
    1575 Eye St. NW, Suite 400
    Washington, DC 20005
    Tel: (202)289-1818
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
    140 George St.
    The Rocks NSW 2000
    Tel: (+612)9245-2400