Curator Job Outlook

There are currently an estimated 12,400 Curators in the United States. The Curator job market is expected to grow by 13.7% between 2016 and 2026.

Curator Employability Rating

D Sokanu rates Curators with a D employability rating, meaning this career should provide weak employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 7,500 Curators. That number is based on 1,700 additional Curators, and the retirement of 5,800 existing Curators.

Demand for Curators

Competition for curator positions will continue to be extremely competitive, as the field has a low turnover rate and there are generally more qualified applicants on the market than there are available jobs. Art and history museums are expected to remain the largest employers of curators. Reductions in federal funding, however, may affect expansion and construction of museums and thereby result in fewer openings. In the long term, though, continued public interest in cultural centres and museums will lead to demand for curators to manage their collections. Experience as a museum technician, assistant curator, or research associate is a common career track for curators. Sought-after qualifications for full-time roles include skills in collection management, exhibit design, or restoration; database management; and fundraising and promotion. Job candidates who are comfortable working with digital images and knowledgeable about copyright law further enhance their employability. Those with foreign language skills may have an added advantage. In general, gaining relevant work experience as a volunteer, intern, or part-time employee is essential for securing a permanent position. Curators who perform unique research and produce work that is published in academic journals will be best positioned for advancement with large institutions. Museum curators, for example, may become museum directors.

Supply of Curators

The Curator industry is not particularly concentrated in any state.

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