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2020 Dance Degree Guide

Do you have a passion for dance? Do you envision yourself performing on stage or choreographing routines? A degree in dance may be for you.

Students who major in Dance take classes in the many different styles including jazz, ballet, hip hop, modern, tap, ethnic, and folk dance to continue training in a field they are passionate about. Since a career in dance is extremely competitive, students who pursue this degree to become professional dancers and choreographers have been training for years and have a genuine talent for the art.

Since there are many styles of dance, students often focus on a specific area once entering college. Along with the general Dance major, a popular area of study is Ballet.

Dance Degrees Decreasing

#180 Most Popular Major
3.1k Degrees Awarded
-2.3% Increase in Graduates

In 2017-2018, dance was the 180th most popular major nationwide with 3,063 degrees awarded. This 69 less than the prior year, a decrease of 2.3%.

The United States has 227 different schools where you can get a degree in dance. Explore this or one of our many other custom dance rankings further below.

Dance Degree Requirements

Students who pursue a career in dance have typically been taking classes and been involved in performing from a young age. They have excellent balance and coordination to ensure they can move their bodies quickly and fluidly while performing. Creativity allows dancers and choreographers to create new styles and moves. Other necessary skills include persistence and stamina for long rehearsals, leadership for directing dances, and a passion for the art.

A career in dance is fulltime and can often lead to long hours. Those in companies or involved in performing arts studios may practice during the day and perform at night. Irregular hours are common when working with others and scheduling around other responsibilities. Choreographers at studios may work typical workdays, but spend hours at night or on weekends creating new routines.

Training for a career in dance usually starts at a young age, but some students have begun training in high school. Participation in junior dance companies or summer training programs allows students to gain more experience and improve their skills before pursuing a degree.

Since a career in dance is typically short, some Dance majors pursue a degree in another field for a later career.

Getting Accepted Into a Dance Program

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Specific dance careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Dance Degree Types

Dance degree levels vary. Dance programs offered by schools range from a first year certificate to a research/scholarship based doctorate, which is the highest dance degree you can get. Depending on the dance degree you choose, obtaining your diploma can take anwhere from 1 to 4+ years.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A high school diploma or equivalent is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to dance, with approximately 21.7% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to dance tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Master’s Degree 31.2%
Doctoral Degree 18.0%
Bachelor’s Degree 14.9%
High School Diploma 13.6%
Less than a High School Diploma 7.9%

About 65.3% of workers in careers related to dance obtain at least award taking 1 to 2 years. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in dance have received.


The education level required is different depending on the dance career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In Dance Graduate

Average Number of Jobs
$20.9k Average Starting Salary
11% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Dance graduates work for a variety of performing arts studios around the world. Some dance majors have become members of a company, such as the New York City Ballet, while other pursue careers as cruise ship, theme park, or casino performers.

Choreographers find work at dance studios, with professional companies, on Broadway, or at a variety of smaller entertainment companies. Dance and choreography is found in many areas of entertainment, giving dance graduates a variety of job opportunities.

Although the career is growing at an average pace, there is intense competition for positions in performing arts companies or as choreographers. Many people want to perform or choreograph, but there are only a limited number of positions available.

Solid Growth Projected for Dance Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your dance degree? Dance careers are expected to grow 10.8% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to dance.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Art, Drama, and Music Professors 137,200 12.0%
Dancers 14,100 4.4%
Choreographers 7,100 2.9%

How Much Money Do People With a Dance Degree Make?

Recently graduated dance students earned an average of $20,940 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $13,800 to as high as $38,400. As you might expect, salaries for dance graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Dance Majors

Salaries for dance graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers dance grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Art, Drama, and Music Professors $82,560
Choreographers $53,560

Getting Your Dance Degree

With over 501 different dance degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased dance school rankings to help you with this.

Dance is one of 9 different types of Visual & Performing Arts programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 41,431
Design & Applied Arts 37,428
Music 27,188
Drama & Theater Arts 17,242
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 16,684

View All Dance Related Majors >


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