General Visual & Performing Arts
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 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What General Visual & Performing Arts Majors Need to Know
In an O*NET survey, visual arts majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.
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:
- 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
The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to visual arts:
- 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
Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a visual arts student include the following:
- 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, Drama, and Music Professors||12.0%||$69,960|
|Artists and Related Workers||5.5%||$65,390|
|Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators||6.8%||$49,380|
|Multimedia Artists and Animators||8.4%||$72,520|
Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in General Visual & Performing Arts?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of visual arts majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||345|
|Hispanic or Latino||579|
Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Visual Arts. About 5.5% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- South Korea
How Much Do General Visual & Performing Arts Majors Make?
Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary
Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that general visual and performing arts students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree made a median starting salary of $26,400 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $20,900 (25th percentile) and $28,400 (75th percentile).
One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to visual arts.
Salaries According to BLS
Visual Arts majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $42,770 to $78,230 (25th to 75th percentile). 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.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to General Visual & Performing Arts
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.
|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%|
|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%|
|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%|
Online General Visual & Performing Arts Programs
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 464 schools offered some type of general visual and performing 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)||57||5|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||22||0|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||6||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!
Majors Related to General Visual & Performing Arts
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to visual arts.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Fine & Studio Arts||40,751|
|Design & Applied Arts||36,179|
|Drama & Theater Arts||17,726|
|Film, Video & Photographic Arts||16,756|
|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 Sven Mandel / CC-BY-SA-4.0 under License
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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