For Parents and Students

Question: What can you do with a degree in the arts?

Answer:  Anything that you want!

  • According to a report recently released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), job prospects for new graduates are both good and improving. NACE’s 2014 survey of nearly 44,000 students, representing 696 institutions, found that the percentage of seniors who received at least one job offer by their graduation day increased from 46% in 2013 to 48% in 2014. The greatest gains were felt by majors in the visual and performing arts, who experienced a 15%-point improvement over the previous year.
  • Approximately 64% of recent arts graduates and 69% of all arts alumni are employed in an area that is either relevant or highly relevant to their area of study compared to 53% for accounting majors, 53% for mechanical engineering majors, and 50% for biology majors (National Science Foundation, 2010; SNAAP data).Over 90% of arts majors rate their education satisfaction at 90% or above.
  • Over 90% of fine arts graduates indicated that they would again choose the same major and the same institution for their education.
  • While the data indicate that there may be up to a 15% differential in initial earnings in comparison to some bachelor degree recipients, arts majors report that they are more satisfied with working in the arts than with potentially receiving greater financial rewards in another area.
  • Because arts graduates frequently seek graduate degrees, they often receive a “bump” in salary following degree completion.
  • Arts graduates are among the happiest professionals in the US (Ivey & Kingsley, 2008; Tepper et al., 2014)
  • Arts graduates are happy with the balance they have achieved between satisfaction at work and their salaries.
  • Arts graduates contribute significantly to their communities and are 14% more likely to volunteer for the arts than the general population.
  • Arts institutions are doing an exemplary job in providing students with unparalleled training in techniques while encouraging experimentation, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving.
  • Arts training assists graduates in their work lives and contributes to their health, well-being, their relationships with others, their ability to collaborate, provide constructive criticism, and creatively solve problems.
  • Arts majors who work outside the arts indicate they are using their creative capacities and training.

(Strategic National Arts Alumni Project data)

 

Our graduates are also encouraged to think creatively about options of applying their skills in non-traditional ways and in unconventional areas outside of customary careers in the arts.

While graduates of our programs in Music, Communications, Theatre, and Art typically work directly and specifically in the area related to their major, graduates from our diverse programs are nurtured and trained in broadly applicable skills including: Critical thinking, various modes of communication, creative problem-solving, dealing with ambiguity and unpredictability, openness to experimentation, and invention of novel ways to work within existing systems. These skills are exactly that for which every employer in every industry is clamoring. An education in the arts produces individuals who can change careers as markets change and as new markets emerge.

Consider this:

  • The S&P list of the top 500 companies was first published during 1957. Forty years later, only 74 of the original companies still existed.
  • Foster and Kaplan suggest that by 2020, 75% of the S&P 500 will be forms of business that have not been created yet.
  • Therefore, everywhere in every field, there is a high demand for creative individuals!

Bottom line: An education in the arts is working for our graduates.