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General Visual & Performing Arts Major

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General Visual & Performing Arts

3,115 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
372 Master's Degrees Annually
#104 in Popularity
$58,370 Median Salary

Types of Degrees General Visual & Performing Arts Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many general visual and performing arts graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 3,121
Associate’s Degree 1,352
Master’s Degree 372
Basic Certificate 370
Undergraduate Certificate 59
Doctor’s Degree 16
Graduate Certificate 12

What General Visual & Performing Arts Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to visual arts were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Visual Arts Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in visual arts should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • Fine Arts - Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • 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 Visual Arts Majors

When studying visual arts, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • 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.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Abilities for Visual Arts Majors

As a visual arts major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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  • 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).
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • 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.

What Can You Do With a General Visual & Performing Arts Major?

People with a visual arts degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Art Directors 5.4% $92,780
Art, Drama, and Music Professors 12.0% $69,960
Artists and Related Workers 5.5% $65,390
Craft Artists 4.8% $34,240
Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators 6.8% $49,380
Graphic Designers 4.2% $50,370
Multimedia Artists and Animators 8.4% $72,520

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in General Visual & Performing Arts?

3,121 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
57% Percent Women
35% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 3,115 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in general visual and performing arts in 2018, making it rank #104 in popularity. This major is dominated by women with about 57% of recent graduates being female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of visual arts majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Visual Arts Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 206
Black or African American 295
Hispanic or Latino 412
White 1,763
International Students 150
Other Races/Ethnicities 295

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Visual Arts. About 4.8% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • India
  • Canada

How Much Do General Visual & Performing 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 visual arts was $26,400 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $20,900 (25th percentile) and $28,400 (75th percentile).

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It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to visual arts.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $42,770 to $78,230 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to visual arts. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

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.

Median Salary for a General Visual & Performing Arts Major  ( 42770 to 78230 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some careers associated with visual arts require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to visual arts have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 5.1%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 9.9%
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) 3.4%
Some College Courses 13.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 7.7%
Bachelor’s Degree 34.8%
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. 0.2%
Master’s Degree 16.9%
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. 0.4%
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. 0.0%
Doctoral Degree 8.7%

Online General Visual & Performing Arts Programs

In 2017-2018, 453 schools offered a visual arts 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) 57 7
Certificate (1-2 years) 21 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 4 0
Associate’s Degree 160 10
Bachelor’s Degree 7 1
Post-Baccalaureate 57 7
Master’s Degree 41 1
Post-Master’s 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 5 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in General Visual & Performing Arts Worth It?

The median salary for a visual arts grad is $58,370 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 46% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $369,400 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to visual arts.

Major Number of Grads
Fine & Studio Arts 41,431
Design & Applied Arts 37,428
Music 27,188
Drama & Theater Arts 17,242
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 16,684
Arts & Media Management 4,811
Dance 3,063
Other Visual Art 910
Crafts, Folk Art & Artisanry 199

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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