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.

How employable are curators?

CareerExplorer 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.

Are curators in demand?

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.

What’s the supply of curators?

The curator industry is concentrated in New York, California, Massachusetts

Curator job market by state

State Name Employed Curators
New York 1,410
California 910
Massachusetts 650
Texas 600
Pennsylvania 560
Florida 510
Ohio 420
North Carolina 410
Illinois 390
Michigan 340
Washington 320
Virginia 310
Colorado 260
Wisconsin 240
Georgia 230
Arizona 230
Minnesota 210
Missouri 200
Louisiana 200
Indiana 170
Tennessee 160
Kentucky 160
Maryland 160
Connecticut 160
Oklahoma 160
District of Columbia 160
Oregon 140
Iowa 140
Wyoming 120
South Carolina 110
Kansas 110
New Jersey 110
New Mexico 110
Nevada 100
Nebraska 90
New Hampshire 90
Utah 90
Alabama 90
Montana 80
Maine 80
South Dakota 70
Alaska 70
Delaware 60
Arkansas 50
Idaho 50
Vermont 40
Hawaii 40
West Virginia 40
Mississippi 40
North Dakota 30