Design & Applied Arts
Types of Degrees Design & Applied Arts Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many design and applied arts graduations there were in 2020-2021 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Design & Applied Arts Majors Need to Know
O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to design and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.
Knowledge Areas for Design Majors
This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Fine Arts - Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Skills for Design Majors
A major in design prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Abilities for Design Majors
As a design major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
What Can You Do With a Design & Applied Arts Major?
People with a design degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Art, Drama, and Music Professors||12.0%||$69,960|
|Artists and Related Workers||5.5%||$65,390|
|Commercial and Industrial Designers||4.3%||$66,590|
|Multimedia Artists and Animators||8.4%||$72,520|
|Set and Exhibit Designers||10.3%||$54,270|
Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Design & Applied Arts?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of design majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||1,293|
|Hispanic or Latino||2,683|
Design appeals to people across the globe. About 9.4% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- South Korea
How Much Do Design & Applied Arts Majors Make?
Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary
The median starting salary of students who graduated in 2017-2019 with a bachelor’s degree in design was $32,733 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $28,051 (25th percentile) and $38,075 (75th percentile).
Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a design degree.
Salaries According to BLS
Design majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $61,020 to $82,560 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Design & Applied Arts
Some degrees associated with design may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.
How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to design have obtained the following education levels.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Less than a High School Diploma||1.8%|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||4.4%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||1.4%|
|Some College Courses||9.4%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||11.3%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||1.5%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||0.3%|
|First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession.||3.8%|
Online Design & Applied Arts Programs
In 2020-2021, 1,229 schools offered a design program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||0||0|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||404||21|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||38||2|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||8||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||0||0|
Is a Degree in Design & Applied Arts Worth It?
The median salary for a design grad is $71,430 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 79% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $630,600 after 20 years!
Top Ranking Lists for Design & Applied Arts
Explore Major by State
District of Columbia
Majors Related to Design & Applied Arts
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to design.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Fine & Studio Arts||37,413|
|Drama & Theater Arts||17,341|
|Film, Video & Photographic Arts||16,778|
|General Visual & Performing Arts||6,355|
|Arts & Media Management||4,788|
|Other Visual Art||912|
|Crafts, Folk Art & Artisanry||119|
*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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