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Career Spotlight: The Arts

A career in the arts is often chosen by those with a drive toward developing their natural talents professionally. Careers in music, dance, visual art, graphic art, theater, and film require tremendous self-discipline and artistic rigor. Those employed in the arts may work very irregular schedules, depending on the projects they are engaged with, or they may work traditional hours if they are employed with an arts organization.  
 

Degrees, Training, or Certifications Required for Arts Careers

  • Actors may find work with little formal education, though a Bachelor's Degree in theater, acting, or performance may be helpful in making connections for employment in theater or film. Those with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree have a better chance of being employed by university and regional theaters' professional productions.
  • Dancers benefit from a conservatory type of training offered by some Bachelor's Degree programs. Those with an MFA in dance may also benefit from increased exposure to professional opportunities, including choreography.
  • Visual artists (such as illustrators and painters) benefit from studio training offered by a Bachelor's Degree in the fine arts. Earning an MFA may help visual artists find employment as teachers at the college level.
  • Musicians and composers may find work with little formal education, though a Bachelor's Degree will provide beneficial instruction and training. Earning an MFA degree may increase chances of employment with major music organizations or orchestras, as well as make teaching at the college level possible.
  • Filmmakers benefit from a Bachelor's Degree, and a Master's Degree offers the potential to teach at the higher education level.
  • Directors may find work with little formal education, though a Bachelor's Degree in theater or film may be helpful in making connections for employment. Those with an MFA degree have a better chance of being employed by university and regional theaters' professional productions.
  • Art Historians need a Bachelor's Degree in art history.

 

Career Areas for Arts Careers

Arts careers span many areas. Some common career areas include:

  • Theater
  • Film
  • Television
  • Actors
  • Actresses
  • Directors
  • Screenwriters
  • Playwrights
  • Filmmakers
  • Art Historians
  • Dancers
  • Choreographers
  • Painters
  • Sculptors
  • Illustrators

Potential Earnings and Job Projections for Arts Careers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for Actors in 2010 was $17.44 per hour, with an expected employment increase of only 4 percent between 2010 and 2020. The median annual salary for Dancers and Choreographers was $15.97 per hour, with expected job growth of 18 percent between 2010 and 2020. Craft and Fine Artists had an annual median salary of $43,470, with a growth rate of 5 percent between 2010 and 2020. Musicians and Singers had an annual median salary of $22.39 per hour, with a projected growth rate of 10 percent between 2010 and 2020. Music Directors and Composers had an annual median salary of $45,970 with a job growth rate of 10 percent between 2010 and 2020. Producers and Directors had an annual median salary of $68,440 with a job growth rate of 11 percent between 2010 and 2020. Museum Curators had an annual median salary of $42,310 with a job growth rate of 16 percent between 2010 and 2020.

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