While actors, artists, and performers entertain the public, arts and entertainment managers provide the structures for their work. Entertainment managers are responsible for negotiating contracts, promoting acts, and handling finances. Young professionals looking for glamorous jobs can aim for management positions with movie studios, TV networks, and digital media companies. These positions are highly prized and lead to tremendous competition among applicants. The rewards for landing these jobs, however, include working on highly visible projects and moving into the rarefied air of entertainment executives. Aspiring entertainment managers can also find this high risk/high reward atmosphere when working with famed theater companies, orchestras, and musical acts.
The lion's share of arts and entertainment management jobs exists at the local and regional level. Art gallery owners and historical theater operators need management skills to survive in volatile markets. An entertainment management degree can help a graduate land work as a recording studio manager or the head of a visual arts nonprofit. Entertainment managers who hold law degrees can represent local or regional clients as they negotiate their next projects. The small-scale nature of most artistic endeavors means that a mixture of entrepreneurial spirit and creativity is needed to lift projects off the ground. These attributes also help professionals identify gaps in the arts and entertainment worlds not served by existing organizations.
Carnegie Mellon University offers a good overview of the attributes of a successful entertainment manager. The most important skill is the ability to communicate clearly with a variety of audiences. Shifting consumer tastes and funding sources make flexibility paramount for success in the field. Entertainment managers need to be passionate about their field and build mental databases of people, places, and trends that help achieve their goals. The most successful managers possess creative minds that can see opportunities and create solutions. Professionals who see themselves in this description should consider the tangible benefits of pursuing entertainment management careers.
Why Become an Arts and Entertainment Manager?
Careers in arts and entertainment management can provide good salaries for qualified professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) determined that art directors earned $92,780 per year on average in 2018. Museum technicians and curators received median salaries of $48,400, while business managers averaged $90,930. The BLS also found that these career fields featured average to above-average job growth prospects through 2026. Picking the right degree and career path are important to ensuring financial stability in creative fields that often struggle for funding in the long term. The aforementioned salary statistics show that steady career growth is possible on certain trajectories.
Surveys of arts and entertainment professionals reveal the benefits of working in these fields. Monster's list of the 10 best industries for job satisfaction placed arts and entertainment careers at No. 6. The jobs site found that professionals in the field were energized by their colleagues and excited to pursue new and different endeavors. A May 2017 report from a University of Miami researcher followed a survey of orchestral musicians and leaders that resulted in average job satisfaction of 3.85 out of 5. The sacrifices and hard work involved in building an entertainment management career can result in personal fulfillment as well as professional success.
By pursuing a career in entertainment management, a young professional will open doors to moments of magic in the years ahead. Arts and entertainment managers lead organizations, represent clients, and oversee facilities that provide a service to the public. A talent agent might find the next big movie star, and a recording studio owner might develop a pipeline of popular musicians. Local theater producers and nonprofit arts leaders can inspire future generations of artists while entertaining their communities. The bachelor's programs in entertainment management ranked below provide the tools and experiences necessary to facilitate these moments of magic.
Top Management Degrees uses seven data points to rank college programs. Here they are in order of importance:
- A Reputation Aggregate Score from other rankings
- Graduate Average Salary
- Alumni Reviews
- Percentage of Admitted Students Who Graduate
- Admitted Students' Test Scores
- Acceptance Rate
#8. Full Sail University – Winter Park, Florida
Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Business
Full Sail University has designed online and on-campus versions of its Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Business. The online version of this BS program takes 20 months to complete, while the traditional degree path requires a 29-month commitment. Entertainment business students complete up to two courses per month with class topics ranging from professional selling to audience metrics. Every student goes through six portfolio development stages that show competency and develop samples for future job opportunities. The admissions office facilitates monthly intakes so that motivated students can get started toward new careers. Full Sail University encourages distance learners to complete this program with the $20,000 Momentum Scholarship program.
Full Sail University's degree offerings focus on creative endeavors like audio production, sportscasting, and game design. This private school was created in 1979 and shifted from its original Ohio campus to Florida in 1980. Niche's 2019 grades for Full Sail University included an A for Diversity and an A+ for Campus. The ranking site placed the school No. 19 in Colleges with the Best Student Life in America and No. 31 in Best Colleges for Music in America. The U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard found a diverse student body with 41% white, 24% black, and 17% Hispanic students. Full Sail University created its Hall of Fame in 2009 to recognize myriad artists, musicians, and engineers who graduated from the school.
TMD Ranking Score: 94.09
#7. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay – Green Bay, Wisconsin
Bachelor in Arts Management
The Bachelor in Arts Management from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay focuses on community and regional entertainment. This BA program trains future leaders of local theaters, community arts organizations, and media outlets. Upper-level students complete a four-course core including arts promotion and financial issues in the arts. Electives like jazz history, history of photography, and gallery and museum studies shape a student's degree path. Prior to graduation, arts management students can arrange internships with local organizations like the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and the Meyer Theatre. The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay houses the Sheepshead Review literary magazine and a Wisconsin Public Radio station.
The primary focus of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay from its founding in 1965 has been environmental education and sustainability. Students can select from 45 undergraduate degrees from accounting to women and gender studies at four campuses in northeast Wisconsin. The campus is located minutes from the shores of Green Bay and features an arboretum and abundant recreational opportunities. U.S. News & World Report showed the university's regional prominence with a No. 94 place in Regional Universities Midwest for 2019. Niche's 2019 college grades included a B+ for Diversity and a B for Value. The Phoenix athletics teams have achieved some success in the 21st century with NCAA tournament appearances by the women's basketball and softball teams.
TMD Ranking Score: 95.64
#6. Long Island University Post – Brookville, New York
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Arts Management
Long Island University Post, better known as LIU Post, was ranked No. 120 in Regional Universities North by U.S. News & World Report. Programs like the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Arts Management has moved LIU Post among better-known universities in the Northeast. BFA students select concentrations in theater, music, dance, general arts, and visual arts to set their degree paths. The School of Performing Arts requires completion of 34 credits in major courses like public speaking and grant writing that are essential for arts management jobs. Elective courses covering topics like the history of rock music and major forces in cinema offer glimpses into all forms of artistic expression. The final step when completing this BFA is an internship that exposes upper-level students to New York's arts scene.
Students and faculty at LIU Post enjoy the quiet environs of Long Island's North Shore, while New York City is only 30 minutes away. This campus of the Long Island University system was created in 1958. The school's academic offerings stretch beyond the arts with degrees in disciplines like veterinary science, economics, and philosophy. Forbes placed the school among its Hot Colleges in the Making for 2018. Niche gave LIU Post an A- for Diversity and a B for Value in 2019. The site also placed the university No. 322 in Best College Athletics in America with the women's lacrosse team winning four national championships between 2001 and 2013.
TMD Ranking Score: 96.03
#5. Drexel University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Science in Entertainment & Arts Management
Drexel University's Bachelor of Science in Entertainment & Arts Management combines artistic appreciation and business lessons. Students establish their degree paths by selecting visual arts, performing arts, or media management concentrations. The performing arts management specialization features sub-concentrations in dance, theatre, and general performing arts. Media management students can dig deeper into the field with digital media and cinema and television sub-concentrations. The College of Media Arts & Design require all students in the program to complete major courses like copyrights and entertainment promotion. High-performing students interested in arts leadership positions gain automatic admission to the university's Master of Science in Arts Administration and Museum program. The university also offers a joint BS/MBA program that guarantees completion of both degrees in five years of full-time study.
Drexel University opened for classes in 1891 and focused on technical degrees until receiving its current name in 1970. The university has attracted world-class scholars to research institutes like the Data Mining & Bioinformatics Lab and the Center for Health Equality. Niche gave the university an overall grade of A- in 2019 including an A for Value and an A- for Academics. The site's rankings for Drexel University included a No. 85 place for Most Diverse Colleges in America and a No. 89 rank in Colleges with the Best Professors in America. Forbes supported the school's national reputation with a No. 236 place in Top Colleges for 2019.
TMD Ranking Score: 97.09
#4. Western New England University – Springfield, Massachusetts
Bachelors in Arts and Entertainment Management
Western New England University has expanded beyond the business and law classes offered to its inaugural class in 1919. The Bachelor in Arts and Entertainment Management draws on this business background while exploring creative fields. Core requirements in the major explore topics like venue operations and labor-management relations. Every student has to complete an internship prior to graduation. The program also requires completion of a practicum with an on-campus organization like the Art Gallery and the Stageless Players. Western New England University rewards high-GPA business students with the Nonprofit Board Experience, which places participants with regional nonprofit boards for two semesters. The College of Business also improves post-graduate prospects with add-on options like SAP certification and study abroad opportunities.
Western New England University started as a campus of Boston's Northeastern University before becoming an independent school in 1951. Academic research from the Center for the Sciences and Pharmacy and the Western New England University Polling Institute has lifted the school to regional recognition. U.S. News & World Report ranked the school No. 68 in Regional Universities North for 2019. The publication also showed the school's affordability with a No. 44 place in Best Value Schools. Niche's 2019 grades for the school included an A- for Value and an A- for Diversity. Western New England University was ranked No. 327 in Best Small Colleges in America and No. 366 in Best Value Colleges in America by the site.
TMD Ranking Score: 97.77
#3. Pace University – New York, New York
Bachelor of Business Administration in Arts and Entertainment Management
Pace University draws on resources and opportunities in New York City to support students in its Bachelor of Business Administration in Arts and Entertainment Management. BBA students complete 29 credits of required business courses including business analytics and financial management. The program then advances to major requirements covering topics from organizational behavior to managing creativity. Pace University's program electives further shape career paths by providing lessons in sports sponsorship, negotiations, and event management. Students and faculty are treated to lectures by studio executives, producers, and performers with inside information on the entertainment world. The Lubin School of Business has placed students as interns with companies like ABC and Sirius XM Radio.
Pace University started as a business school when its first students enrolled in 1906. The main campus in Manhattan was joined over time by a campus in Pleasantville and a law school in White Plains. The school is known among TV viewers for hosting the interview show Inside the Actors Studio. U.S. News & World Report ranked Pace University No. 172 in Business Programs and No. 195 in High School Counselor Rankings. Niche gave the university an A+ for Diversity and an A- for Value in its 2019 college grades. Forbes also recognized Pace University in its 2019 rankings with a No. 395 rank in Top Colleges and a No. 260 place in Private Colleges.
TMD Ranking Score: 98.93
#2. University of Central Florida – Orlando, Florida
Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Management
The University of Central Florida created the Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Management to leverage the university's proximity to entertainment venues. Orlando is located near Disney World, and dozens of clubs, theaters, and concert venues. This undergraduate program draws on courses from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management and the College of Arts and Humanities. Students who work at Disney World or another Disney facility can apply for full tuition coverage when pursuing this degree. The University of Central Florida maintains study abroad partnerships from England to China that can expand student familiarity with the entertainment industry. BS students who want to start their own entertainment business can seek feedback and funding through the annual Entrepreneurship Competition.
Academic programs at the University of Central Florida have extended beyond its original mission to train space program participants. Students choose from more than 200 undergraduate degree options from anthropology to senior living management. The university has built a network of eight campuses throughout Florida to serve students outside Orlando. Forbes acknowledged the school's value to students with a No. 119 rank in America's Best Value Colleges for 2019. The publication also placed the school No. 271 in Top Colleges. U.S. News & World Report highlighted the university's academic excellence with a No. 34 rank in Best Undergraduate Teaching and a No. 167 place in High School Counselor Rankings.
TMD Ranking Score: 99.32
#1. Columbia College Chicago – Chicago, Illinois
Bachelor of Arts in Arts Management
Columbia College Chicago's Bachelor of Arts in Arts Management allows students to select from seven specializations. From international arts management to sports management, students learn the skills needed for myriad entertainment careers. Each specialization features core courses, like entrepreneurship and writing for managers, with essential lessons for future arts leaders. Columbia College Chicago offers electives ranging from music publishing to sponsorship that fill out a student's skill set. The college houses experiential opportunities for program participants including record labels, a gallery, and a marketing agency that are run entirely by students. Professionals who have already completed undergraduate degrees in other disciplines can enroll in the school's expedited second BA program.
Columbia College Chicago's focus on the arts and entertainment since 1890 helped vault the school to the top of this list. In addition to arts management, students select from undergraduate degrees in composition, computer animation, and other creative disciplines. Graduates of Columbia College Chicago join a long list of Academy Award winners, Saturday Night Live cast members, and musicians. Niche's 2019 ranks for the college included a No. 56 in Best Colleges for Film and Photography in America and a No. 67 in Best Colleges for Performing Arts in America. U.S. News & World Report highlighted Columbia College Chicago's reputation in the Midwest with a No. 128 place in Regional Universities Midwest for 2019.
TMD Ranking Score: 100.00