Many arts majors face difficulty choosing a career path after graduation. With the instability and times getting tougher, many students feel the need to seek degrees in more practical areas (such as business or accounting) instead of following their passions in the arts. While many graduates with a degree in the arts face the stereotype of their degree being deemed useless in the real world, liberal arts degrees have many transferrable skills.
Amanda Pittman, a senior art major at UTSA is an excellent example of many UTSA students who are unaware of what their future holds. Pittman is not altogether certain what she will do with her degree. She says, “I am not sure what I want to do with my major. I really enjoy drawing, I am pretty good at it, but I’ve been told to go into voice acting.”
Because of this unawareness, many art students, such as Amanda Munster-Teiger, feel the need to create a fallback plan. “I am just getting my B.A. Then I will be getting a teacher’s certification, not to teach art because art teaching jobs are very difficult to get. I want to teach elementary school,” she says.
The average annual income for most art majors is around $30,000, according to Forbes, but colleges with more funding for the arts, such as Rhode Island School of Design and California Institute of the Arts, pay their professors between $63,000 and $82,000. At the University of North Texas in Denton, those hoping to obtain a position as assistant art professor can expect an estimated salary of $66,000 per year.
For many art majors, however, finding a career in teaching is not ideal because not everyone can or wants to be a teacher; nor have the social skills. Art is a discipline that promotes pushing the limits and settling to become a professor may constrict these ideals.
Although art majors feel that their degree limits them to take the professor route, many careers involving the creative arts are unknown to these students.
UTSA Career Services offers a wide range of job listings for all disciplines on their website. Students majoring in the arts, art history and music may be the perfect fit for jobs in advertising, teaching or museum curating, among many other fields.
Elizabeth Lyons, who recently became the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center’s program and marketing manager, believes that it is possible for art majors to find jobs in this tough economy. From personal experience as an art graduate, Lyons recommends that art majors seek internships within the community. Glasstire.com, which lists classified ads for wanted artists, is another good resource for graduates.
Other tips to become a successful art student include learning how to market yourself and network with people in other professions as well as your own, do not be afraid to get your name out there. A degree is not the only thing that matters. Consider other employable traits, such as carpentry skills, extracurricular activities and previous job experience.
With much of the job market in question, many graduates may be worried about their status, but as Lyons says “it makes it more exciting because when you find something that fits your interest, like I did, you can’t ask for anything better, I would say stay persistent, stay driven, and realize it’s not going to be really easy, but at least you’re doing something you enjoy.”