Popular Performing & Visual Arts Careers To Consider

Performing and visual arts majors and careers are in a category of their own—they take passion, extreme creativity, and dedication. Artists will probably argue that they put a lot more of “themselves” into their craft than many other, traditional white- or blue-collar workers.

If you study visual and/or performing arts in college, you will find that there is a wide array of possible career paths. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be about 2.2 million Americans working as artists by 2020. Plus, the BLS predicts that there will be a significant growth in arts careers in the next decade. That is surely encouraging for "P&VA" students!.

Graphic Designer
Graphic designers are currently in high demand, and will remain so for a very long time. Every company needs a graphic designer—either in-house, freelance, or on retainer—and they will pay a large sum to get an educated, qualified candidate with a stellar portfolio and experience. Graphic designers usually work closely with marketing personnel, allowing exposure to multiple other professions, tools, and skills. The evolution of digital media also makes graphic design an extremely relevant career choice.

The BLS predicts a 61% growth rate in all Internet graphic design jobs by 2020 (about 40% higher than average). Traditional graphic design jobs in print publications, for example, will grow by 13%. If you love drawing, computer programs, colors, and fonts, graphic designing could be the perfect (and lucrative) fit..

Although architecture can take years of intense schooling to get a degree and can be hard to excel in the field once qualified, it is a specialty profession that many overlook. Students should keep in mind, architects learn more than just art in college—they study physics, engineering, aesthetics, art history, and more—making it easy to make a career change, if necessary.

Plus, the BLS projects a 24% growth in architecture employment, which is higher than the overall growth of the economy. This can be explained by the future need of school districts and universities that have ever-changing structures and aesthetics. Additionally, as the baby boomers grow older, there will be an increased need for nursing homes and retirement facilities.

In the end, if you are passionate about architecture, don’t let the rigorous coursework set you back—you will have many opportunities for employment after college.

Interior Designer/Decorator
Students who love to shop, design, and plan would fit great in an interior designer or decorator role. It takes a lot of skill to know how to make spaces attractive and functional—owners of restaurants, homes, and even businesses will hire an interior designer/decorator to make their space more inviting, aesthetically pleasing, and in some cases, more lucrative.

The projected growth for interior designers/decorators is about 20%, a little higher than average. However, the BLS predicts that designers who focus on “green” living will be even more in demand.

Another benefit to this profession is its flexibility. Many designers choose to work part-time or as freelancers.

Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators
Film and video editors work with producers and directors to organize images and original footage before final production. With a degree in broadcasting, film, or theater, a graduate can work as a camera operator or film editor. These positions require training in computer-imaging software, as they shoot raw footage for advertising, film, TV, and movies.

Although the BLS predicts little job growth in this field, the jobs are very niche, and graduates will not be competing directly with a large group. Furthermore, TV and movies will be around forever, so there will always be a need for students to study these professions and fill a spot! A bachelor’s education makes a candidate even stronger for one of these positions.

Video Design/Projection Design
Video design careers focus on the creation and integration of film and motion graphics in the fields of theatre, opera, dance, and live events. Also called projection designers, this role incorporates slides, film, and multimedia with more traditional stage performances to add dimension, modernity, and interest. This is a relatively new field, so studying these skills in college could really set a student apart.

This unique career could be a smart option for students interested in the juxtaposition of modern and traditional visual arts techniques.

Performing/Visual Arts Teacher:
Secondary or Post-Secondary Many adult artists and performers remember their teachers from years past, and attribute their passion and talent to the creative direction they provided. The visual and performing arts are required in most elementary schools, and are electives or after-school activities in secondary education. In the end, there is always a need for performing/visual arts teachers.

Students can major in either education or the arts if they aspire to be an arts teacher. Perhaps a double major or a minor would be a smart way to fit in both disciplines.

If you love children and have a passion for the arts, this is a great career option. Look back on your early years and remember all of the influential teachers you had in your life—this may be all of the inspiration you need.

Museum/Art Curator
Museum and art curators design and oversee exhibitions and exhibits in museums or art galleries. A person in this role also authenticates and obtains artifacts or art (think art buyer). They also oversee museum tours, with a goal to educate the public about art history.

Museum attendance is set to rise between now and 2020, and the BLS predicts that job opportunities for museum/art curators will grow by 25%. If art history truly fascinates you, try a major in art curating; it’s a sure up-and-comer. Professions in the performing and visual arts are continually evolving. These are just a few professions to think about when looking to your future.

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15 Aug 2017

By Sophie Borden