What can I do with a major in the arts if I don't get full-time work as a performer /artist ?

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Our counselors answered:

What can I do with a major in the arts if I don't get full-time work as a performer /artist ?

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Majoring in the arts

Many students who major in the arts also receive a teaching certificate so they always have a fall back job position. Until one is established other jobs will probably be necessary at times. I would also suggest a double major, perhaps an entertainment business management or communications degree. In the current job market it is difficult to get a job even if one has a college degree. Plan on working in another field while pursuing your art career.

Tyler Burton
President Burton College Tours

Tap into your other talents.

While you are waiting to land your dream job you can build your arts resume and develop professional skills in an area that you are skilled in. You will have to be committed to planning your weeks around 12+ hour days. Here is a list of suggestions: 1. Take a look at your living expenses including student loans so you have a realistic idea as to how much income you need to support yourself. 2. Find a paying or volunteer job in a related field that will keep you close to the connections that may land you the big break. Can you work as an arts columnist for the local paper? 3. Volunteer to network, usher at the theater and teach art/ performing art classes to young people in your community. The idea is to stay close to the arts that you love and to keep yourself exposed in the community. 3. If you are young enough, see if you can stay on your parent's health plan. 4. Be open minded about your future career, you went to college to major in what you love to do. You also went to college to become an educated person. You are not failing your dream if you land a job in a different industry.

Frank Don
Partner East West College Counseling LLP

The World is Your Oyster

We live in a specialized world, even an over-specialized world. The humanities, the arts, philosophy and the qualitative aspects of living have become lost to the quantitative aspect of living and its concentration on specialization and a trade school mentality of training for a particular profession. A major in the arts is not limited to a life on stage or as an artist, unless you take the broadest definition of an artist as being one engaged in the art of truly living. Through developing the creativity, allowing the imagination to roam and explore, a major in the arts instills a fuller and broader sense of life and living. In so doing, the world becomes the student's oyster, for all avenues are then open to the major in the arts. Even the professional realm of law, medicine, architecture, and others can be more fully encompassed by the major in the arts, for instead of being focused solely on the rote and regurgitation of book learning, the major in the arts has concentrated on the free flow of ideas, thoughts, feelings and sensations. The great organic chemist Kekule von Stradonitz, while working on a chemistry textbook, conceived of the benzene ring when he fell half asleep and saw a row of atoms wriggling and turning like snakes with one of the snakes seizing its own tail. In affirmation of his discovery, Kekule urged his fellow scientists: 'Let us learn to dream gentlemen'. Some of humankind's greatest discoveries have come from the imagination, the entrepreneur as artist creating and devising something that had never been before.

Jeana Robbins

What can I do with a major in the arts if I don't get full-time work as a performer /artist ?

Have you considered teaching?

Kathryn March
Educational and Career Consultant Kathryn March, M.S., CEP

Careers for students who have majored in the Arts

Obtaining an education in the arts will provide you with many desirable skills that are transferable to several career areas. If you major in performing arts, or theater, you will gain competency in public speaking, creative expression and critical analysis. Although these skills would be beneficial in many careers, some specific ones to consider might be in advertising and promotions, teaching, broadcasting, news correspondence, and the writing of film or theater reviews for publication. If your major is in the area of visual arts you will have developed an eye for color, balance, and design and also the skill of creating what is appealing to a viewer. You may consider work in such fields as advertising, exhibit,stage or window design, as an art director in publishing, or as a museum interpreter.

Rob Cowden
Counselor and Career Pathways Coordinator Eagle Point High School

Those w/ a Degree in the Arts are not limited to working on a canvas, stage or behind a camera lense

Students that earn a degree within the Arts are obviously able to pursue careers within the performing or visual arts; dancer, actor, painter, artist, writer, etc. However, some career fields that aspiring art majors or artists may forget about or not even realize they may be employable with in are those such as; education, an individual or private instructor or tutor for a specific performing or visual art, agent for those interested in pursuing a career within the arts, employee within a museum, gallery, library or park and even an owner of or employee in a gallery, photography studio, bookstore and performing or visual arts studios, just to name a few. However, what many entering college forget to realize or even be told is that any form of post high school education; a two year, four year degree or even certifications is going to open career doors and make you that much more emplyable in the eyes of many. Fair or unfair the reality is post high school education opens doors and allows one to pursue professional careers in a variety of fields and many some would think are completely unrelated to the degree or certification within a specific area. There are a number of employers and many of them within professional fields that are looking to higher college graduates period; they may prefer to higher an employee with a degree specifically related to the job but many will higher individuals simply because they've earned their college degree. I know of many former students that have earned degrees in Business that have secured jobs and careers within law enforcement, education and social service professions to name a few. I'm also aware of individuals and former students that have earned degrees in Social Sciences that are now employed within the preofessional career fields of business, counseling and web page design.

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

there are many options out there for you!

in today's comptitive enviorment, students shall consider major and minor to equipe themselves for work place. the quality of the individual and the skills that needed for many jobs are the same which apply to specific jobs. if you would like to explore minors such as computer, communication, marketing, etc you will find jobs with your skills.

Melanie Hayes
Educational Consultant Gifted/Talented

Private arts teacher for homeschoolers

Homeschooling is growing exponentially and many of those students are gifted and talented. Parents of these students are looking for people who can mentor their child in their area of giftedness. You can develop a lucrative business teaching the arts to homeschoolers. Many of them utilize public charter schools, because the students get around $150/month to pay for private lessons. You can sign up as a "vendor" with those charters and find clients through their lists. These homeschooling families are looking for someone who can present both private lessons and units of study. Growing your own business will allow you to set your own schedule and leave time for your own studio work, auditions, performances, etc. I taught an integrated art and writing class for a few years before I started my consulting business and I can tell you from first hand experience, you can make a living as an artist.

Diane Coburn Bruning
choreographer/counselor in performing arts College Match, Inc, Performing Arts Specialist

Dance Majors

I touch upon this subject in relation to dance at http://collegematchus.blogspot.com/

Marie Bigham

Lots of things!

There are so many great jobs available to students who study the performing and visual arts! Many of the art-focused colleges and conservatories have fantastic job placement records, even in this difficult economy. Beyond working in those specific fields, you can also teach, work as an arts administrator for a museum or theater, consult, or critique. This is also a great question to ask the colleges you are considering as well.