Looking for facts and figures about fine arts majors? You’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find data about enrollment, gender distribution, employment, and salaries for fine arts majors. These statistics come from reputable sources only, including the National Center for Education Statistics, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
If you are interested in a specific field, such as music or theater studies, you can find a detailed report on degrees conferred by program, too.
Enrollment statistics for fine arts majors
According to a 2019 report from the National Center for Education Statistics, 108,688 fine arts degrees were conferred within the United States in 2019 across all academic levels. Of those degrees, 38.6% were conferred to men and 61.4% were conferred to women.
Here’s what the gender distribution looks like for each academic level of fine arts degrees:
- Bachelor’s degrees: 62.2% conferred to women, 37.8% conferred to men.
- Master’s degrees: 58.6% conferred to women, 41.4% conferred to men.
- Doctoral degrees: 50.6% conferred to women, 49.4% conferred to men.
You can see these gender distributions in the three pie charts below.
Below are the actual number of degrees conferred within the United States in 2019.
This is the breakdown of fine arts degrees conferred by academic attainment:
- Bachelor’s degrees: 82.6%.
- Master’s degrees: 15.7%
- Doctoral degrees: 1.7%
In the chart below you can view the number of graduates from various fine arts programs in the year 2019, as recorded by the National Center for Education Statistics.
|Bachelor’s degrees||Master’s degrees||Doctoral degrees|
|Visual and performing arts, general||1,553||553||1,000||116||50||66||14||4||10|
|Crafts/craft design, folk art and artisanry||95||21||74||2||0||2||0||0||0|
|Design and visual communications, general||2,817||942||1,875||432||154||278||4||2||2|
|Commercial and advertising art||940||268||672||11||3||8||0||0||0|
|Industrial and product design||1,570||882||688||215||120||95||0||0||0|
|Game and interactive media design||1,236||879||357||134||71||63||1||0||1|
|Design and applied arts, other||696||218||478||242||85||157||19||2||17|
|Drama and dramatics/theatre arts, general||8,652||3,143||5,509||894||355||539||83||35||48|
|Technical theatre/theatre design and technology||583||222||361||165||58||107||0||0||0|
|Playwriting and screenwriting||274||131||143||349||177||172||0||0||0|
|Theatre literature, history and criticism||40||8||32||9||2||7||3||2||1|
|Directing and theatrical production||133||37||96||87||39||48||0||0||0|
|Dramatic/theatre arts and stagecraft, other||523||214||309||55||18||37||2||1||1|
|Cinematography and film/video production||4,792||2,778||2,014||1,038||529||509||4||1||3|
|Film/video and photographic arts, other||1,033||555||478||50||20||30||3||0||3|
|Art/art studies, general||10,180||2,907||7,273||647||223||424||2||0||2|
|Fine/studio arts, general||8,949||2,542||6,407||1,350||475||875||0||0||0|
|Art history, criticism and conservation||2,285||368||1,917||877||130||747||229||50||179|
|Ceramic arts and ceramics||90||23||67||50||19||31||0||0||0|
|Fiber, textile and weaving arts||137||7||130||36||5||31||0||0||0|
|Metal and jewelry arts||105||14||91||42||3||39||0||0||0|
|Fine arts and art studies, other||555||146||409||227||60||167||1||0||1|
|Music history, literature, and theory||110||58||52||37||22||15||12||7||5|
|Music performance, general||4,062||2,180||1,882||2,190||1,094||1,096||469||233||236|
|Music theory and composition||533||364||169||329||227||102||55||41||14|
|Musicology and ethnomusicology||48||26||22||48||16||32||44||21||23|
|Voice and opera||341||99||242||285||95||190||13||4||9|
|Arts, entertainment, and media management, general||531||233||298||307||81||226||0||0||0|
|Fine and studio arts management||594||140||454||483||91||392||9||1||8|
|Theatre/theatre arts management||206||58||148||53||18||35||0||0||0|
|Arts, entertainment, and media management, other||203||94||109||191||106||85||0||0||0|
|Visual and performing arts, other||481||202||279||311||96||215||11||6||5|
Employment statistics for fine arts majors
There are approximately 2,646,600 fine arts graduates on the market today, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number would include visual arts, music, theater, and art history in most institutions. 50% work in roles that require a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 23% work part-time.
Most importantly, though, are the most common jobs held by fine arts majors, which you can see in the bar graph and the chart below.
The data from the BLS indicates that fine arts grads gravitate toward teaching and design, witch graphic design being the single most common occupation.
|Job for fine arts majors||% of grads in job||Growth, 2020 – 2030|
|High school teachers||2%||+8%|
These are the main areas in which fine arts majors work:
- Art, design, and entertainment: 21%
- Education and libraries: 16%
- Management: 13%
- Sales: 8%
- Administration: 8%
- Other: 34%
Those tend to be median figures, which include fine arts majors at all stages of their careers. Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicates that fine arts majors have a high unemployment rate soon after graduation at 5.6%.
You can see the comparison graph below.
Fine arts majors also experience a high underemployment rate in their early careers, reaching as high as 58.4% (also reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York). In the liberal arts and humanities, only anthropology exceeds that number. You can see the comparison in the bar graph below.
Salary data for fine arts majors
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for fine arts majors in the United States is $42,000.
That’s on the low end of earnings for humanities graduates when compared to other median salaries recorded by the BLS. This is how those medians compare.
- Archaeology and anthropology average salary: $66,000
- Political science average salary: $64,000
- History average salary: $60,000
- Philosophy and religious studies average salary: $55,000
- Law average salary: $53,000
- English average salary: $51,000
- Visual and performing arts average salary: $42,000
However, you can see the median salary earned for fine arts majors on an annual basis right here. This data comes from the Hamilton Project, a part of the Brookings Institute.
The data shows that fine arts majors represent a fairly large portion of college graduates, but they often struggle to build momentum in their early careers. They also tend to have lower median salaries than other disciplines, even when compared to graduates from other programs within the humanities.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the fine arts are a “poor choice.” The data also shows that the most popular jobs among fine arts majors are in teaching and design, which are both popular career paths with the potential for high earning power and relative job security.
Sources: NCES, BLS, FRBNY, Hamilton Project
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