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2021 Highest Paid Drama & Theater Arts Graduates

12,791 Bachelor's Degrees
$20,591 Avg Salary
$23,238 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Drama & Theater Arts School for You

Highest Paid Drama & Theater Arts GraduatesOut of the 338 majors we analyze each year, drama and theater arts was ranked #39. In fact, 12,791 bachelor's degrees were handed out in 2018-2019. Since the program you select can have a significant impact on your future, we've developed a number of rankings, including this Highest Paid Theater Graduates list, to help you choose the best school for you.

This year's Highest Paid Drama & Theater Arts Graduates ranking analyzed 179 colleges that offered a bachelor's degree in theater.

The numbers used in this ranking are early career salaries, which we define to be 10 years after a student started college. This is the salary typically earned 4-6 years after graduation, but may be different depending on how long a person takes to complete their degree.

Comparing Average Salaries of Drama & Theater Arts Majors

The average drama and theater arts major who graduates from a school in the United States earns about $20,591 per year during the early years of their career. If salary is one of the most important things on your career list, you may be disappointed to hear that this is 48% less than the salary of a typical college graduate.

Average Salary for Theater Graduates from Schools Nationwide  20,591
0K
41,200
National Average Salary for All College Grads (Regardless of Major)  39,802
0K
41,200

College Combat

To further help you make the college decision, we've developed a unique tool called College Combat that allows you to compare schools based on the factors that matter the most to you. When you have some time, check it out - you may want to bookmark the link so you don't forget it.

2021 Highest Paid Drama & Theater Arts Grads in United States

The highest paid theater majors graduate from the following colleges and universities.

Top 25 Best Schools for Highly Paid Theater Graduates

University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus landed the #1 spot in our 2021 rankings for highest paid drama and theater arts school. CU Anschutz is a very large public school located in the large city of Denver. Upon graduating with a bachelor's degree, theater majors make an average salary of $32,500.

Theater majors at CU Anschutz take out an average of $25,331 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $270, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

Full Drama & Theater Arts at University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Report

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#1

Yale University

New Haven, CT

The #1 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Yale University. Located in the medium-sized city of New Haven, Yale is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

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#2

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN

University of Notre Dame landed the #2 spot in our 2021 rankings for highest paid drama and theater arts school. Located in the suburb of Notre Dame, Notre Dame is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. Students who receive their bachelor's in theater from the school go on to jobs that make an average salary of $30,800.

On average, theater graduates from Notre Dame take out $17,855 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $202.

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#2

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Our rankings recognize University of Pennsylvania as the #2 school in this year's rankings. Located in the city of Philadelphia, UPenn is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

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University of Nevada - Las Vegas earned the #3 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the city of Las Vegas, UNLV is a public school with a fairly large student population. Upon graduating with a bachelor's degree, theater majors make an average salary of $30,400.

On average, theater graduates from UNLV take out $18,070 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $168, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#3

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Our rankings recognize Stanford University as the #3 school in this year's rankings. Stanford is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Stanford.

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#4

Brown University

Providence, RI

Brown University comes in at #4 in this year's ranking. Brown is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Providence.

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Our rankings recognize University of North Carolina School of the Arts as the #4 school in this year's rankings. Located in the city of Winston-Salem, UNCSA is a public college with a small student population. Upon graduating with a bachelor's degree, theater majors make an average salary of $29,900.

Theater majors at UNCSA take out an average of $23,720 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $280, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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CUNY New York City College of Technology landed the #5 spot in our 2021 rankings for highest paid drama and theater arts school. Located in the large city of Brooklyn, City Tech is a public school with a fairly large student population. The average salary for a student who gets a bachelor's degree in theater from the school is $28,900.

On average, theater graduates from City Tech take out $10,124 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $89, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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The #5 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Columbia University in the City of New York. Columbia is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of New York.

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#6

Full Sail University

Winter Park, FL

Our rankings recognize Full Sail University as the #6 school in this year's rankings. Full Sail University is a very large private for-profit school located in the large suburb of Winter Park. Students who receive their bachelor's in theater from the school go on to jobs that make an average salary of $28,400.

On average, theater graduates from Full Sail University take out $24,531 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $202.

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Our rankings recognize University of Wisconsin - Madison as the #7 school in this year's rankings. Located in the large city of Madison, Wisconsin is a public college with a fairly large student population. The average salary for a student who gets a bachelor's degree in theater from the school is $28,000.

On average, theater graduates from Wisconsin take out $20,175 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $198.

Full Drama & Theater Arts at University of Wisconsin - Madison Report

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#7

Kenyon College

Gambier, OH

Kenyon College comes in at #7 in this year's ranking. Kenyon is a small private not-for-profit school located in the distant town of Gambier.

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The #8 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. SIUE is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of Edwardsville. Upon graduating with a bachelor's degree, theater majors make an average salary of $27,900.

After completing their bachelor's degree, theater graduates from SIUE carry an average student debtload of $23,619. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $254.

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San Jose State University comes in at #8 in this year's ranking. Located in the large city of San Jose, San Jose State is a public school with a very large student population.

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Pennsylvania State University - Berks landed the #9 spot in our 2021 rankings for highest paid drama and theater arts school. Penn State Berks is a small public school located in the suburb of Reading. Theater majors who obtain their bachelor's from the school make an average salary of $27,300.

After completing their bachelor's degree, theater graduates from Penn State Berks carry an average student debtload of $24,329. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $270, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

Full Drama & Theater Arts at Pennsylvania State University - Berks Report

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The #9 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of California - Berkeley. Located in the midsize city of Berkeley, UC Berkeley is a public school with a very large student population.

The average amount in student loans that theater majors at UC Berkeley take out while working on their bachelor's is $16,967. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $196.

Full Drama & Theater Arts at University of California - Berkeley Report

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Pennsylvania State University - University Park comes in at #10 in this year's ranking. Penn State University Park is a fairly large public school located in the small city of University Park. Theater majors who obtain their bachelor's from the school make an average salary of $27,300.

After completing their bachelor's degree, theater graduates from Penn State University Park carry an average student debtload of $24,329. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $270, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

Full Drama & Theater Arts at Pennsylvania State University - University Park Report

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#10

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH

Dartmouth College earned the #10 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the town of Hanover, Dartmouth is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population.

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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor landed the #11 spot in our 2021 rankings for highest paid drama and theater arts school. U of Michigan is a fairly large public school located in the midsize city of Ann Arbor. The average salary for a student who gets a bachelor's degree in theater from the school is $27,200.

After completing their bachelor's degree, theater graduates from U of Michigan carry an average student debtload of $15,965. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $187, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#11

Dickinson College

Carlisle, PA

The #11 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Dickinson College. Dickinson is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Carlisle.

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#12

Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

Grand Canyon University landed the #12 spot in our 2021 rankings for highest paid drama and theater arts school. Grand Canyon University is a fairly large private for-profit school located in the large city of Phoenix. Students who receive their bachelor's in theater from the school go on to jobs that make an average salary of $27,000.

The average amount in student loans that theater majors at Grand Canyon University take out while working on their bachelor's is $22,931. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $232, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#13

San Francisco State University

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco State University landed the #13 spot in our 2021 rankings for highest paid drama and theater arts school. SFSU is a very large public school located in the city of San Francisco. Upon graduating with a bachelor's degree, theater majors make an average salary of $26,600.

Theater majors at SFSU take out an average of $17,730 in student loans while working on their bachelor's degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $187, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#13

Colgate University

Hamilton, NY

Colgate University comes in at #13 in this year's ranking. Located in the distant town of Hamilton, Colgate is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

Full Drama & Theater Arts at Colgate University Report

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#14

George Washington University

Washington, DC

The #14 spot in this year's ranking belongs to George Washington University. GWU is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Washington.

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Rest of the Top Schools for Highest Paid Drama & Theater Arts Graduates

#26

Oklahoma City University

Oklahoma City, OK
#27

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC
#28

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA
#32

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA
#34

Bucknell University

Lewisburg, PA
#35

Whitman College

Walla Walla, WA
#37

Bates College

Lewiston, ME
#40

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN
#44

Seton Hall University

South Orange, NJ
#47

Pepperdine University

Malibu, CA

Remaining Award Winners

This list represents the rest of the schools awarded a Highest Paid Drama & Theater Arts Graduates badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 179 different United States drama and theater arts schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
75 Catholic University of America Washington, DC
76 Abilene Christian University Abilene, TX
77 Trinity University San Antonio, TX
78 Skidmore College Saratoga Springs, NY
79 Colby College Waterville, ME

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Theater students seeking high pay that almost earned our Highest Paid Drama & Theater Arts Graduates award.

Rank College Location
27 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
28 Rhode Island College Providence, RI
29 University of Minnesota - Duluth Duluth, MN
30 Purchase College Purchase, NY
31 Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
32 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
33 Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi Corpus Christi, TX
34 Pace University - New York New York, NY
35 University of New Orleans New Orleans, LA
80 Fairfield University Fairfield, CT
81 Gettysburg College Gettysburg, PA
82 Franklin and Marshall College Lancaster, PA
83 California State University - East Bay Hayward, CA
85 Carleton College Northfield, MN
86 University of Denver Denver, CO
88 Barnard College New York, NY
90 Oberlin College Oberlin, OH
93 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
94 Miami University - Oxford Oxford, OH
96 Pomona College Claremont, CA
97 Emory University Atlanta, GA
98 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
99 Westmont College Santa Barbara, CA
101 Trinity College Hartford, CT
102 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
103 Augustana University Sioux Falls, SD
106 Whittier College Whittier, CA

Drama & Theater Arts by Region

View the Highest Paid Drama & Theater Arts Graduates for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
The Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

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

Related Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 25,815
Design & Applied Arts 19,137
Music 15,747
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 11,308
General Visual & Performing Arts 3,315

View All Theater Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Donald Judge.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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