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General Visual & Performing Arts

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General Visual & Performing Arts Major

General visual and performing arts is a major that typically falls into the Visual & Performing Arts category.

There are 160 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in visual arts, 247 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 41 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 5 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Visual Arts Degree?

This is a less frequently chosen major. Only 2,800 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in general visual and performing arts in 2017. This major is dominated by women with about 56.7% of recent graduates being female.

Racial Distribution

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

  • Asian: 6.6%
  • Black or African American: 9.5%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 13.2%
  • White: 56.5%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 4.8%
  • Other Races: 9.5%
General Visual & Performing Arts Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in visual arts. About 4.8% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending visual arts majors to the U.S. are China, South Korea and Taiwan.

What Will You Learn as a General Visual & Performing Arts Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to visual arts to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Visual Arts Majors

Visual arts majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for General Visual & Performing Arts Majors

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:

Important Skills for General Visual & Performing Arts Majors

Abilities for Visual Arts Majors

As you progress with your visual arts degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

Important Abilities for visual arts Majors

What Can You Do With a Visual Arts Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with visual arts:

Careers Related to General Visual & Performing Arts
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Multimedia Artists and Animators



Artists and Related Workers



Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators



Art, Drama, and Music Professors



Art Directors



Graphic Designers






Craft Artists



General Visual & Performing Arts Major Salary

Visual arts majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $43,000 to $78,000. 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, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Visual Arts Major  ( 43000 to 78000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

The area of the country you choose to work in will also affect your career and salary prospects. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for General Visual & Performing Arts Major Jobs

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.

Find out what the typical degree level is for visual arts careers below.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With General Visual & Performing Arts
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online General Visual & Performing Arts Programs

There are 247 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in general visual and performing arts, with 9 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Online learners benefit from being able to watch lectures remotely and complete coursework on their schedule, but they also take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to dropout.

Is a General Visual & Performing Arts Major Worth It?

The median salary for a visual arts grad is $58,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 50% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $389,400 after 20 years!

general visual and performing arts salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Sven Mandel / CC-BY-SA-4.0 via License

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