“What are you going to do with THAT?”
It’s a question nearly every fine arts major has had to face from a gloomy relative or dinner party guest. Well, research suggests art students can reply with confidence, “Have a good career and earn a middle-class income.”
A 2011 report from the [Georgetown University’s Center on Education] found that the unemployment rate in the first two years for those graduating with bachelor of fine arts degree is 7.8%, dropping to 4.5% for those out of school longer. The median income is $42,000.
For artists who go on to earn graduate degrees such as an MFA, the unemployment rate is 5% and their median yearly income rises to $50,000.
Artists are also happier at work:
The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University conducted a survey of 13,000 graduates of visual and performing college-arts programs between 1990 and 2009; 2,817 were in the fine arts.
Among the findings: Almost 83% worked the majority of their time in some arts occupation, such as art teaching or in a nonprofit arts organization.
“Arts graduates are resilient and resourceful,” says Curb Center Associate Director Steven J. Tepper. Sixty percent of the fine-arts graduates in the survey work more than one job, he says, “but they are happy with what they put together.”