Good news for art majors
Turns out, they're doing just fine. Or at least the ones responding to they survey are....From The Pacific Standard.
Given the economic malaise of the past five years, opting to earn a degree in the arts—never a surefire route to a big salary—has been widely viewed as particularly risky. But a new survey suggests those recent alumni, as a group, are actually doing more than OK.
“Arts graduates are among the happiest professionals in the U.S.,” insists the just-released report Making It Work: The Education of Recent Arts Graduates from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project based at Indiana University.
Disputing the “gloomy myths around the value of an arts degree,” the report finds overall job satisfaction for people who have graduated with an arts degree over the past five years is quite high, at 75 percent. That figure is down only slightly from that of older graduates, 82 percent of whom say they are satisfied with their current job.
The study suggests universities and other institutes of higher learning are getting better at training arts graduates in the more practical aspects of pursuing their craft.
The report tracked 17,000 alumni who completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in the arts up to five years before being surveyed, along with 88,000 who earned degrees before that time. By far the biggest group of recent graduates—32 percent—earned a degree in fine and studio arts, including photography. Another 15 percent earned a degree in design, with nine percent earning theater and music degrees.
Unsurprisingly, one of the problems they’re facing is the same one faced by graduates in virtually every discipline: Higher debt loads than previous generations. Only 31 percent reported they graduated with no student-loan debt, compared to 46 percent of those who graduated before the recession struck. Fourteen percent carried debts of $16,000 or more, which was true of only four percent of their older counterparts.