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General Visual & Performing Arts Major

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General Visual & Performing Arts

373 Master's Degrees Annually
14 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#165 in Popularity (Master's)
$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
Master’s Degree 373
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

A major in visual arts prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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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

A major in visual arts will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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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?

Below is a list of occupations associated with visual arts:

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 Master’s Degree in General Visual & Performing Arts?

373 Master's Degrees Annually
54% Percent Women
25% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 54% of the graduates are women, and 46% are men.

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 Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 29
Black or African American 19
Hispanic or Latino 37
White 180
International Students 75
Other Races/Ethnicities 33

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Visual Arts. About 20.1% 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?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of general visual and performing arts students with a master’s degree is $40,150 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $36,825 (25th percentile) and $43,475 (75th percentile).

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Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a visual arts degree.

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 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.

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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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some degrees associated with visual arts 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.

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

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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
Music 8,012
Fine & Studio Arts 3,854
Design & Applied Arts 2,088
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 2,066
Drama & Theater Arts 1,884
Arts & Media Management 1,166
Other Visual Art 354
Dance 243
Crafts, Folk Art & Artisanry 2

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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