What is the best career preparation that will ultimately result in landing a curatorial job in museums? That’s the question that this article unpacks through a study of 100 curators of contemporary art from museums across the united states. The article summarizes observations from this research and provides suggestions for prospective art curators to consider.
One thing quickly became clear: You don’t need a PhD to succeed as a contemporary art curator. Only 27 percent of those we surveyed had one. Fifty percent had a master’s degree as their highest level of education. The remaining 33 percent had bachelor’s degrees or visual art degrees, also known as BFAs.
These days, it feels like you can't swing a canvas tote without hitting a newly credentialed curator. As art institutions expand and biennials proliferate, the population of curators has grown in lockstep. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now more than 12,400 full-time curators in America.