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General Visual & Performing Arts Major

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General Visual & Performing Arts

3,314 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
373 Master's Degrees Annually
#99 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 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 3,315
Associate’s Degree 1,563
Master’s Degree 373
Basic Certificate 343
Undergraduate Certificate 111
Doctor’s Degree 14
Graduate Certificate 1

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:

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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

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to visual arts:

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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

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a visual arts student include the following:

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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?

3,315 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
57% Percent Women
40% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 3,314 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in general visual and performing arts in 2019, making it rank #99 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 237
Black or African American 345
Hispanic or Latino 579
White 1,660
International Students 182
Other Races/Ethnicities 312

Geographic Diversity

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:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • India
  • Canada

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).

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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.

Median Salary for a General Visual & Performing Arts Major  ( 42770 to 78230 )
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250K
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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250K

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 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
Associate’s Degree 166 15
Bachelor’s Degree 8 1
Post-Baccalaureate 57 5
Master’s Degree 40 3
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 40,751
Design & Applied Arts 36,179
Music 26,968
Drama & Theater Arts 17,726
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 16,756
Arts & Media Management 4,766
Dance 3,234
Other Visual Art 1,071
Crafts, Folk Art & Artisanry 124

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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