Drama & Theater Arts
Types of Degrees Drama & Theater Arts Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many drama and theater arts graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Drama & Theater Arts Majors Need to Know
O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to theater 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 Theater Majors
According to O*NET survey takers, a major in theater should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Fine Arts - Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
- 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.
- Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Skills for Theater Majors
The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to theater:
- 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.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
Abilities for Theater Majors
Theater majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- 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.
- Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
What Can You Do With a Drama & Theater Arts Major?
People with a theater degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Art, Drama, and Music Professors||12.0%||$69,960|
|Directors- Stage, Motion Pictures, Television, and Radio||12.2%||$71,680|
|Entertainers and Performers, Sports and Related Workers||8.2%||NA|
|Poets, Lyricists and Creative Writers||7.6%||$62,170|
|Set and Exhibit Designers||10.3%||$54,270|
Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Drama & Theater Arts?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of theater majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||1,070|
|Hispanic or Latino||1,683|
Theater appeals to people across the globe. About 2.8% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- United Kingdom
How Much Do Drama & Theater Arts Majors Make?
Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary
The median starting salary of students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in theater was $20,100 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $18,000 (25th percentile) and $23,000 (75th percentile).
One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to theater.
Salaries According to BLS
Theater majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $59,790 to $87,610 (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 Drama & Theater Arts
Some degrees associated with theater 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 theater have obtained the following education levels.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Less than a High School Diploma||6.5%|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||10.1%|
|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)||2.3%|
|Some College Courses||8.4%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||6.6%|
|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.||1.6%|
|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.||0.5%|
|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.||3.7%|
Online Drama & Theater Arts Programs
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 1,114 schools offered some type of drama and theater arts program. 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)||100||2|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||56||1|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||13||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||39||1|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||0||0|
Is a Degree in Drama & Theater Arts Worth It?
The median salary for a theater grad is $73,090 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 83% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $663,800 after 20 years!
Majors Related to Drama & Theater Arts
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to theater.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Fine & Studio Arts||40,751|
|Design & Applied Arts||36,179|
|Film, Video & Photographic Arts||16,756|
|General Visual & Performing Arts||5,720|
|Arts & Media Management||4,766|
|Other Visual Art||1,071|
|Crafts, Folk Art & Artisanry||124|
- 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
- Image Credit: By Donald Judge under License
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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