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 ?

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.

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.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

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

The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) published a study this year entitled "Forks in the Road: The Many Paths of Arts Alumni". This is highly recommended reading for students considering studying either performing or visual arts at the post-secondary level who are wondering about their career options. Definitely, arts students need to be pro-active and take courses in business and management skills in order to prepare for an entrepreneurial and enterprising career. Some occupations for performing artists might be actors, dancers, choreographers, directors, producers or managers in theater and stage, film, TV or video artists, musicians, teachers, arts administrators and arts educators. Training in the arts is also valuable to a range of other careers because it teaches skills that are highly regarded in the workplace such as writing persuasively, thinking critically, working well with groups, and speaking effectively and clearly.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

So Many Transferable Skills!

Obtaining work as a full-time performer or artist can be very difficult -- even in robust economic times. Luckily, arts majors have many transferable skills that can be used in many industries. Art majors have strong creativity skills, analytical reasoning abilities, multitasking talents, and sophisticated communication skills. Be sure to emphasize these valuable traits on your resume! All of these qualities are important in the workplace. Art majors can also find work in arts-related fields as designers, consultants, and instructors. Find out more about career options for art majors here: http://www.scrippscollege.edu/students/career/planning/art.php

Santhe Niedner

Jobs for performer/artists

There are many things you can do until you get that break into the movie/play world. One is in the area of teaching. Schools need enthusiastic people who are interested in the arts and want to share that enthusiasm with the students. Students who are involved in the arts tend to be very good in other areas in school also. Another option would be to go to the business end and be a business manager of artists and performers. People who have actually been involved in the arts themselves understand the profession and can be better at advising than if they have not been in the field. Multimedia artists/animators and graphic design can also be an area to investigate if you want to stay in the field but can't find a job right off in acting.

Erica White
College & Career Counselor Middletown High School

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

I always recommend double majoring when you are talking "arts." Let's face it, its hard to "get discovered" as an artist. So, its always nice to have a back up plan and income while you are picking up part time work or building your artistic resume post graduation. If you can take classes, minor, or double major in any of the following areas you will have more options upon graduation: website development, graphic design, animation, advertising, multi-media design, interior desgin, journalism, fashion, marketing, video production, museum studies, architecture, etc. All of these will allow you to combine your artistic ability with other skills. If you stick with a degree in strickly art, I would look into the following careers: museum curator, gallery preparator, art editor, art teacher, art therapy. The only catch is that many of these careers require a Master of Fine Arts.

Amber Groh
Assistant Director of Student Life University of South Dakota

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

One of the best things you can do with your arts degree is assist in an arts therapy program. Another option would be to work at a youth center helping children practice the arts. Being an art major can make you very well rounded and creative you could highlight those skills in a job interview.

Virginia Sanseau

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

Those who study the arts often have part-time work to subsidize their work as a performer/artist. For example, someone might work as a server in a restaurant and also be an artist. One artist I know works as a PE teacher in elementary schools, and is also a painter.

Ryan John
School Counselor Bethlehem High School

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

Students majoring in the visual/fine arts etc. can pursue internships with advertising companies or museums for example or can pursue higher education to further their marketability and breadth of knowledge. Some students may want to pursue a teaching degree in the arts to vary the opportunities that are available to them also. Students studying the performing arts can reach out and make connections with national and local productions to inquire about any volunteer opportunities available that will add experience to a resume.