If you’ve read my last article, you would know that I am currently an English major. Recently, however, I’ve been thinking of obtaining a degree in Visual Arts as well. Because having one useless degree isn’t enough for me, right? …Right?
As an aside, I just need to rant about the fact that the students at my college’s Pratt School of Engineering are known as “Pratt Stars,” and the students at the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences are referred to as “Trinitards.” Let that marinate in your heads for just a bit. That should hopefully give you an idea of how obnoxiously pretentious the STEM students at my university are.
Anyways, with that aside, whenever my self-righteous peers in my top-tier STEM-oriented university (or any “Pratt Star” for that matter) ask me what I plan to do with my degrees, I always explicitly tell them: “I have no idea.”
But that doesn’t mean I’m clueless. And that doesn’t mean I’m wasting my time at college. It just means that majoring in Humanities will allow me to develop a variety of skill sets—each of them viable for a different set of potential occupations. Unlike STEM degrees, in which you need an Engineering degree to be an Engineer or a Science degree to become a Scientist, you don’t need a Philosophy degree to become a Philosopher, or an Art Degree to become an Artist. Because everyone is born a philosopher, and everyone is born an artist.
The point of these majors is for you to hone your skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. This obviously has its pros and cons: It allows you to become a versatile job applicant, but also means that you have no specified direction to follow. Unfortunately, when it comes to pure art majors (Visual Arts, Theater, Music, etc.), they are stuck in this limbo of gray area in which they follow a specified, professional track, without the monetary guarantee that many STEM degrees offer.
So if you’re thinking of majoring in a Visual Arts track and are fearful of your future, worry not! Well, worry a little. But I’m here to alleviate most of your irrational worries. Here are some occupational options for your future:
1. Enter the workforce!
Every company needs an artist. It’s as simple as that. Whether it’s a car company, a record-producing company, or any random sort of small business, artists will always be in the mix somewhere. Because without artists, you can’t create the logos or advertisements that you need to sell your products.
When it comes to a corporate job, you will most likely be working within the marketing committee, where artists across all mediums (fine art, digital art, videography, illustration, etc.) and even non-artists across all disciplines (psychology, journalism, finance, etc.) collaborate as a team to produce an advertisement.
2. Get a graduate degree!
Unfortunately, in order to enter a well-known and high-paying company (think Pixar, Disney, Coca Cola, Riot Games, etc.), you will more often than not need a graduate degree. Because corporate jobs generally provide a very stable income, they also tend to be extremely competitive, and will require an advanced degree and an experienced skill set.
3. Go to teaching school!
Teaching is not only a stable and paying job, but it is also an extremely rewarding job as well. But do keep in mind that depending on your state, and depending on whether your school is private or public, you may or may not need a master’s degree in education to become a teacher.
The downside to becoming a teacher is how competitive it is to enter the workforce. Despite teaching growing as a field, the overabundance of people with teaching degrees means that it is extremely difficult to be hired. Especially in this economy, when art and music programs are most often the first to go, a teaching degree may not exactly be your safest option.
However, art is a versatile field in which you don’t have to necessarily teach at a public school. You can open a private practice, become a teacher at an art academy, or even give online lessons! Be creative! You’re an artist!
4. Become a freelancer!
Some of the best artists I have ever seen in my life are freelance workers. Some of them are trained and talented artists who directly work with the big dogs, and some of them are creative minds who pursued art as a hobby and landed work with the big dogs. The interesting thing about being an artist is that no matter how many degrees you have, your skills and creativity will always outshine the amount of cash you pumped into your diploma. It doesn’t matter if you went to school for eight years and ended up with three fancy pieces of paper—if you’re not talented, then you won’t be hired as an artist.
This should serve as a beacon of hope for aspiring artists who can’t afford to attend art school. However, this also serves as a critical warning to those who think a traditional college education in the art field can provide them with a high-paying job.
Anyhow, good luck out there in the real world, my fellow artists!