Arts And Entertainment - Career Information

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Arts and Entertainment: Schools and Careers 

Whether its in Los Angeles, New York City, Orlando or Nashville, people are employed in a broad range of arts and entertainment careers around the U.S. This includes disciplines ranging from acting to the fine arts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of November 2014, more than 2.1 million people are employed in the arts and entertainment industry.

The BLS shows that the majority of people in the industry are employed as amusement and recreation attendants, but others are also employed as musicians and singers, and even as actors and actresses.

Often, the fields of arts and entertainment can be categorized into two groups: The first includes live performances or events, such as local and national theatrical performances. The second comprises historical, cultural, or educational exhibits which focus on the preservation and exhibition of objects, natural wonders, and historic sites.

Although occupations in the arts and entertainment industry each have unique requirements, many individuals in the field possess similar skills, such as the ability to visualize, be creative, have exceptional communication skills, and exhibit a passion for culture or the outdoors. They may also like the flexible schedules that can come with a creative job and the ability to live or work in different locations. In fact, the BLS reports that, on average, people working as artists or other creative workers in this industry are employed 24.9 hours a week, and have an average hourly pay of $19.73. Compiled data for a broad number of these occupations puts the annual median pay in the field at $44,610, according to May 2013 BLS data.

Top Careers in Arts and Entertainment

Although the careers that are available in entertainment vary greatly, below are a few well-known occupations:

  • Actors
  • Art Directors
  • Athletes and Sports Competitors
  • Coaches and Scouts
  • Dancers and Choreographers
  • Craft Artists
  • Fine Artists
  • Models
  • Multimedia Artists and Animators
  • Musicians and Singers
  • Music Directors and Composers
  • Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials

Brief description of some of these specialties are provided as follows, using BLS data:

Career TypeWhat they DoNumber Employed in the U.S., as of 2013Where they Usually Work
Art directorsCreate and manage the overall design and implementation of projects.32,250Advertising and public relations firms, publishers, design service firms
Coaches and scoutsLook for new athletic players based on skill and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of teams.206,680Sporting fields, and for high schools and colleges, professional sports
Craft artistsCreate art for sale and for exhibition.4,750Self employed, private sector industries or government
Fine artistsDesign and create art pieces for aesthetic value.11,980Self employed, private sector industries or government
ModelsPose for artists, customers, photographers, often for the purpose of producing some type of advertising.5,470Studios and runway fashion shows
Musicians and singersPlay instruments or sing in front of audiences or in concert halls.39,260Arenas, clubs, concert halls
Multimedia artists and animatorsCreate visual effects and animation for various entertainment mediums, including television and movies.30,790Motion picture and video industries, advertising and public relations firms
Umpires, Referees and Other Sports OfficialsOfficiate competitions, games and sporting events.16,140Indoors and outside, often at various times of the year

Arts and Entertainment Career Training & Schools

Students interested in a career in the arts and entertainment industry may want to complete an undergraduate education. Although some occupations, such as those for craft artists and modeling, do not require any type of college education, students may still find that they benefit from postsecondary learning by being introduced to new techniques. Theatrical and musical academies can provide a way for some students to advance their skills and to build connections. Various types of education programs are listed below along with the types arts and industry careers that may require that type of learning, according to the BLS.

Type of programNumber of years to completeTypes of careers that require this
DiplomaAround six monthsArt, culinary arts
CertificateNine months to two yearsArt business, arts administration, history of art
Associate degreeTwo yearsFine arts, graphic design
Bachelor's degreeFour yearsArt directors, coaches and scouts, fine arts, multimedia artists and animators


"Arts, Entertainment and Recreation: Industry at a Glance," Bureau of Labor Statistics,

27-0000 Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations,Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Schools for Arts And Entertainment are listed in the column to the left.

Careers and Salary Data

This table shows summary data on occupations in the US. Clicking on any occupation name brings you to a page showing job prospects and salaries for that occupation in hundreds of metro areas across the country, with data updated through 2022.(Where data is denoted by an asterisk (*), summary info was not available.

Click each Occupation title for more details.

Arts, Entertainment and Sports

Median Pay
% Growth
Actors52,620    N/A    0.9%
Art Directors42,890    $94,220    0.9%
Artists7,550    $64,490    2.2%
Athletes and Sports Competitors11,330    $51,370    6.2%
Coaches and Scouts241,390    $34,840    10.5%
Craft Artists4,640    $34,710    -0.3%
Dancers and Choreographers9,690    N/A    0.6%
Fine Artists12,350    $50,550    0.8%
Models2,320    $28,350    -5.7%
Multimedia Artists and Animators29,340    $75,270    4.2%
Music Directors and Composers10,580    $51,670    1.2%
Musicians and Singers41,130    N/A    0.2%
Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials20,120    $28,550    6.0%
Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Selected Schools for Arts And Entertainment (including any online schools)

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