President Obama recently ruffled some feathers when he stated that "...folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree...". In fact, he has already issued an apology to an Art Historian from the University of Texas who emailed the White House to complain.
Are his claims truthful? According to the data on our own website, the earnings potential within the field of fine arts is poor. Graduates with a fine arts degree start with an average salary of $34,663, and have an average mid-career salary of $52,775.
However, it gets a little bit more interesting when you view our list of the highest-paid fine and studio arts graduates. For example, graduates from Princeton University with a fine arts degree, have an average starting salary of $48,460, with a mid-career salary of $78,141. That's starting to look whole lot better!
Of course this doesn't take into account what career path students eventually followed, who they may have networked with to get their jobs, or if they received additional education after graduating college. However, it does show you what's possible for graduates to achieve, if they know what they want and where they are heading.
All you aspiring art historians, sculptors and painters can take heart that you are not necessarily doomed to poor earnings!