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What career path should i choose to gain credibility in the field of performing arts and arts education?

I currently work at a private performing arts academy as a dance teacher and head of the academic department. I am in charge of creating curricula for the program and supervising the production team to give artistic input in departments such as scenography. I first started as a student in 2019 and then became part of the teaching team in 2020 due to my advanced dance knowledge (I have been dancing professionally for over 10 years), my experience as a dance assistant in the past and the lack of dance teachers at the academy back then. Since then, I have worked my way up the ranks and now have this good position I mentioned at the beginning.

However, I don't have a degree in anything, I have been guided, directed and instructed by the director of the academy and she has helped me develop my leadership skills and helped me get to where I am now. I have discovered my passion for leadership in the performing arts and the world of arts education because of her support and belief in me.

But the reason I ask this question, regardless of my current professional position, is because I know that this world is primarily driven by the degrees or masters you have, and in order to enhance my professional development and get more opportunities in the artistic and/or academic world, I may need to get one. So with that thought haunting me every day, I've been searching for degrees that will help me to accredit my current work.

That being said, the biggest struggle I have been dealing with in the last few weeks, is the lack of information I currently have about careers that might offer what I am interested in and also the lack of flexibility of careers to study online so I can continue to work and keep my expenses as a freelancer.

I have found names of interesting careers but they end up being master's degrees and not bachelor's degrees.

I would like to know where are those degrees where I can study something related to directing or artistic education that can be achieved online, or in a short period of time in person.

Or, I would like to have a chat with someone who can give me other degree options that might interest me as well and add to the skills I already have and acquire new knowledge. I am very interested in learning more of the educational academic world around the arts field, I also like topics related to human behavior, psychology and anatomy, if that helps give a broader context of the type of degree I am looking for.

I have talked to mentors, co-workers, professors, colleagues, professional artists, and they have given me good advice on how to further develop my professional skills without a degree, but no one has helped me find detailed information on bachelor's degrees.

I am still looking on my own because I know in the end I will be the one making the final decission, but I would really appreciate more detailed information/advice coming from professionals in the field and I think this is a good place to start.

+25 Karma if successful
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Subject: Career question for you


6 answers

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Jerome’s Answer

I have wanted a career that involves education. I was able to volunteer for local non-profits who allowed me to teach workshops and learn skills that would benefit that desire. That lead to me volunteering with a college and ending up on their board.

By sharing the above online through Social Media, it's allowed me to build up that aspect of my resume. When I apply for speaking engagements, people can see the work I have done and that adds credibility.

Long post short, maybe look for associations or local groups that are in the space you want to be in. Volunteer and network. The right connection can be very beneficial.
Thank you comment icon Hey jerome! I didn't think about something like that, it might be helpful for me! thank you for the advice :) Mariel
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Karin’s Answer

Hi Mariel,

Have a look at Berklee online (link below). Maybe you find something that works for you. They have lots of different programs. There also seems to be an option to pick and choose to create your own program. They also give credit for prior learning, so you may not need the whole undergrad program.

The Royal Academy of Arts has an online Masters program. It says they welcome applications from experienced dance teachers without formal degrees. Doesn't hurt to ask.

I hope this helps! Good luck!


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Thank you comment icon hey karin! thank you very much for the links :) I will definitely take a look into it. The berklee option of creating your own program sounds fascinating. Thank you so much again! Mariel
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome! Karin P.
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Junied’s Answer

To gain credibility in the field of performing arts and arts education, consider the following career path:

Education: Obtain a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as theater, dance, music, visual arts, or arts education. During your undergraduate studies, focus on developing your skills and knowledge in your chosen area of specialization. Participate in performances, exhibitions, or teaching opportunities to gain practical experience.

Specialization: Choose a specific area of focus within the performing arts or arts education, such as acting, directing, dance choreography, music composition, visual arts instruction, or arts administration. Specializing in a particular discipline will allow you to develop expertise and credibility in that area.

Advanced Training: Consider pursuing advanced training or a graduate degree in your field to further enhance your skills and knowledge. This could include a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in performing arts, arts education, or a related field. Advanced training can provide specialized instruction, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

Professional Experience: Gain practical experience and build your portfolio by working in the performing arts industry or arts education field. This could involve performing in professional productions, working as a teaching artist or arts educator, directing or choreographing performances, or contributing to arts organizations and initiatives.

Certifications and Credentials: Obtain relevant certifications or credentials to demonstrate your expertise and commitment to excellence in the field. For example, you could pursue certification as a teaching artist, arts educator, or arts administrator through professional organizations or educational institutions.

Networking: Build relationships and network with professionals in the performing arts and arts education sectors. Attend industry events, workshops, conferences, and performances to connect with peers, mentors, and potential collaborators. Networking can provide opportunities for professional development, collaboration, and career advancement.

Continuing Education: Stay current with developments in the field of performing arts and arts education through continuing education opportunities, workshops, seminars, and conferences. Keep abreast of trends, best practices, and innovations in teaching, artistic practice, and arts administration.

Community Engagement: Get involved in community-based arts initiatives, outreach programs, or arts advocacy efforts. Contributing to the cultural life of your community and engaging with diverse audiences can enhance your credibility and visibility in the field.

By following this career path, you can gain credibility and establish yourself as a respected professional in the field of performing arts and arts education. It's important to continue learning, growing, and actively contributing to the vibrant and dynamic world of the arts.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Mariel,

Boost Your Career with a Performing Arts Degree

To establish a strong reputation in performing arts and arts education, consider pursuing a relevant degree. This will not only give you a firm grounding in the arts but also a recognized qualification that can boost your career opportunities.

There's a wide range of degree programs in performing arts, such as:

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance: Ideal for those aspiring to become professional dancers. This program offers a solid foundation in dance techniques, choreography, and performance.
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Dance: A more liberal arts-focused degree that offers a wider education in arts and humanities. Perfect for those looking to venture into dance education or arts administration.
Bachelor of Music (BM): Primarily focused on classical music performance, this degree is also suitable for those interested in music education or music therapy.
Bachelor of Theatre Arts (BTA): A versatile program that merges theatre, dance, and music. It provides a comprehensive foundation in performing arts, equipping you for a career in theatre education or arts administration.

Remember, a degree isn't the only route to credibility in performing arts and arts education. Other paths include:

Gaining Professional Experience

Acquiring professional experience is another effective way to establish credibility. This could involve working as a performer, choreographer, or director, or in related areas like scenography or stage management.

Professional experience helps you hone your skills and knowledge, expand your network, and offers valuable opportunities to learn from other professionals and showcase your talents.

Pursuing Professional Certification

Professional certification is another avenue to credibility. Various organizations offer certification programs for performing arts professionals, including:

The National Dance Education Organization (NDEO): Offers a range of certification programs for dance educators, including the Certified Dance Educator (CDE) credential.
The American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE): Provides certification programs for theatre educators, including the Theatre Education Certification (TEC) program.
The National Association of Schools of Music (NASM): Offers accreditation for music programs at colleges and universities, as well as professional certification for music educators.
Engaging in Professional Development Opportunities

Lastly, participating in professional development opportunities can help you gain credibility. This could involve attending workshops, conferences, and training events; participating in online learning programs; or pursuing advanced degrees or certifications. Continuous learning and professional growth demonstrate your dedication to excellence in your field and can enhance your career prospects.

God Bless!

James Constantine Frangos.
Thank you comment icon Hi James. Thank you very much for the quick response, I really appreciate it and it is genuinely helpful to me. I will definitely take a look at the certification programs you said as it will most likely be something I can afford to pay for And regarding your last point about attending conferences and participating in online learning programs, do you know of any kind of website or network that I can check out, or newsletters that I can subscribe to to learn more about this kind of thing? I may be asking a lot so if you don't have this information no problem. You have already helped me a lot Mariel
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Éverton’s Answer

Hello Mariel! Isn't it fascinating? I'm a music teacher and saxophone player based in Brazil. Truly, in this profession, a degree isn't a necessity to excel. What truly matters is your determination and hard work. However, if you ever feel the need to broaden your horizons, you can always pursue a specific bachelor's degree. If I may share my personal experience, I took a pause in my life, a decision I made when I was 25. I put a hold on my career to pursue two bachelor's degrees, one to teach music in high school and the other to become a saxophone specialist. This decision allowed me to grow and advance my career in the near future. The most important thing, I believe, is to take a pause and invest in yourself. So, take care and keep moving forward!
Thank you comment icon Hey Everton! I totally understand what you are saying, and that is exactly what I'm trying to do right now as well, enhance my professional development for more work opportunities in the future. Thank you for the good vibes and advice :) Mariel
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Mariel !

You have achieved much greatness and your career sounds wonderful. I do have some advice for you as someone who wants to obtain your degree and be secure for future endeavors.

Your experience and work history would not require a performing arts degree as you are a professional performer right now and in general, one doesn't need a degree for performing as a dancer, singer or actor. However, what I will specifically suggest to you would be to go for a degree in Education and become certified which goes along with the degree (at least in the U.S.). I am familiar with all of this for the U.S., but let us see if it is the same in your South American country. In the U.S. a Bachelors degree with a teaching certificate would allow you to teach in pre-k and elementary school. The Masters and Doctorate would be for teaching in high school and college. Find out this information for your country. Ask what level of degree is needed to teach at what level you want to teach. You would have to be degreed and certified according to your country's laws, regulations and guidelines.

I cannot find colleges that have an online Bachelors Degree offering in Peru as you've requested. I would suggest calling or visiting a local college and they would be able to refer you to whatever programs may exist. You already have the professional level of performing, it's just that the degree in Education would allow you to perhaps teach in public schools later on. The website Lima Easy only has national or world wide organizations that have nothing to do with education or performing arts. I would advise visiting some colleges that have resources which have not been posted on the internet. One good place to go is the Peru equivalent of The Board of Education which is your Ministry of Education. That is where all information about your college path could be found. Visit there to obtain direct and detailed information. I have also provided a link below to the universities that are in Peru.

There does not seem to be much in your country for dancers unions, organizations or professional guilds. I would focus on obtaining information from the colleges. They can ascertain whether they currently offer online degrees. Also, most of the professional dance magazines seem to be from the U.S. and Canada. You will need to be assured that if you get your degree in education as well as the certification that usually accompanies it, that you will be able to work in Peru as a teacher in the public sector. Online study would have to be from Peru. Everything that you've mentioned in your inquiry seems to fit nicely into becoming a teacher with a degree. Something that you already are but will most likely increase your employment opportunities.

If there are no organizations, guilds or conferences that are offered in Peru for either dance or education, perhaps the school you teach at would be interested in developing and hosting one. Ask your director if that could be possible.

I hope that this was a bit helpful and I wish you all the best !

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Thank you comment icon Hey Michelle! Thank you very much for all the mindful advices and information. I agree with everything and will definitely take a look into the links you have sent. I didn't think about asking directly to schools or colleges that can provide me more direct information, that's a really good idea. Hopefully they will help me find something soon and will provide you with updates later :) thank you again! Mariel
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome, Mariel ! Have a wonderful day ! Michelle M.