Arts and Entertainment Jobs: What Are My Career Options?

Whether you're interested in designing an eye-catching advertisement, directing a blockbuster movie or producing the next hit song, there are many different opportunities to choose from! Read on to discover a few of the career possibilities in the arts and entertainment field. Schools offering Acting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of the Arts and Entertainment Industry

If you're looking to pursue a career in the arts and entertainment industry, you'll have many different career paths from which to choose. You can choose to work in a variety of establishments, including art museums, movie theaters, sports arenas, and amusement parks. You may be interested in visual arts, musical arts, performing arts or a combination of those fields. You may choose to devote your life to creating art, assisting artists and performers or working at an arts and entertainment facility.

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that budget constraints have reduced the number of available arts and entertainment jobs, you may still choose from a variety of careers ( While the jobs discussed below do not represent all the careers in this industry, if you do choose one of these careers, you'll be involved in one of the most popular occupations in the arts and entertainment field.

Important Facts About This Industry

Actors Choreographers Music Manager/Producer Multimedia Artist/Animator
Key Skills Creativity, persistence, reading, and speaking skills Athleticism, teamwork, and leadership skills Communication, creativity, and leadership skills Creativity, computer skills, and artistic talent
Required Education A bachelor's degree related to drama is helpful, though not mandatory Years of formal dance training, typically starting at a young age; bachelor's and master's degrees are also available Bachelor's degrees in music production and engineering are available, but not always required A bachelor's degree (typically in computer graphics, art, or a related field)
Work Environment Long, irregular hours, sometimes touring Long workdays, typically rehearsing during the daytime and attending performances at night Typically spent in the studio and at meetings Regular business hours, sometimes 50+ a week and on deadline
Similar Occupations Dancer, Announcer, Producer, Director Music Composer, Art Director, Singer Public Relations Manager, Advertising Sales Agent, Fundraiser Computer Network Architect, Graphic Designer, Web Developer

Theater and Film Industries

If you're thinking about a career in the theater or film industries, the BLS reports that many actors, producers, and directors work in either New York City or Los Angeles. You may also find opportunities for employment at a local theater, film production company or television studio. Acting and directing were the most popular career choices in the film industry in 2018, according to the BLS. If you want a job that's not acting or directing, you may choose to become a dancer or a choreographer.


If you want to work as an actor, you may start off working as an extra in a movie or play, which means you won't have a speaking part. Generally, you involved in playing the role of a fictional character in a play or movie. You'll work long hours during rehearsals and film shoots, and the BLS reports that your acting gigs may not last longer than a day or a month. You might have a hard time finding regular employment. You may need to take on other work, such as teaching or coaching, in order to supplement your acting income. However, if you find work that's supported by the Screen Actors' Guild (SAG), you may accrue union benefits ( In May 2018, the BLS reported that actors made a median hourly wage of $17.54. It also reported that job growth for this career would be faster-than-average at 12% from 2016-2026.


If you direct a play or film, you'll be in charge of casting actors, conducting rehearsals and telling the actors how to interpret a script. You'll also be in charge of approving all creative decisions, such as set and costume design, lighting, camera angles, choreography, and music. You may have a team of assistants who help make these decisions. Depending on the production you're working on, you may have to justify your decisions to your executive producer or financier. In May 2018, the BLS reported that producers and directors earned a median annual income of $71,680. They were expected to experience 12% job growth from 2016-2026, which was faster than average.


As a choreographer, you'll work with dancers to create new dance steps. You might work at a theater, a movie studio or a dance school. Depending on your workplace and the production on which you're working, you may have total creative control of your project or your work may be supervised by a director. Generally, your work as a choreographer will be enhanced if you have a background in dance. In May 2018, the BLS reported that choreographers earned a median annual salary of $47,800. Their projected job growth from 2016-2026 was 3%, which was much slower than average.

Musical Arts

If you sing, play an instrument or have an interest in business, you'll have plenty of career choices in the music industry. You may decide to sing or play in a band, you may choose to participate in an orchestra or you may decide to work for a record label, composing and producing music. If you work on the business side of music, your record company may become part of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) (

Musicians and Singers

If you're a musician or singer, you could put your talents to use in a band, opera, theater company or orchestra. Generally, whether you're part of a group or a solo artist, you'll perform music for an audience. The BLS reports that you'll spend lots of time rehearsing and that the majority of your performances will take place at night and on weekends. If you're part of an orchestra, you're more likely to have steady employment. If you're a solo artist, you may have to find another job to supplement your performance income. In May 2018, the BLS reported that singers and musicians earned a median hourly wage of $28.15. Their job growth will be at a slower-than-average rate of 6% over the 2016-2026 decade.

Music Managers and Producers

If you decide to work for a record company, you may end up as a manager or producer. Your duties will include signing new artists to your record label, producing songs for radio play and merchandising your label's music. You might also compose and arrange music for artists to sing. The primary goal of your job is to find hit songs and record them. reported that a music producer's annual median salary was $50,858 in June 2019. The bottom 10% of workers at that time made annual salaries of $26,000 or less, while the top 10% made annual wages of $99,000 or higher.

Visual Arts

If you decide to pursue a career in visual arts, such as painting, drawing, sculpting or illustration, you'll likely be self-employed. Your ability to find work may vary depending on your education and the arts opportunities in your area. Before embarking on a career in this field, you may decide to pursue a bachelor's degree in art. Some common careers in this industry include art director and multimedia artist and animator.

Art Directors

If you work as an art director, you'll be responsible for overseeing a team of designers who'll create layouts, artwork, and slogans for visual media, including advertisements, magazine covers, and websites. You'll also be responsible for presenting your team's work to supervisors and clients. If you work for a corporation or a publishing company, you'll most likely work in an office. In May 2018, the BLS reported that art directors earned a median annual wage of $92,780. Their employment growth from 2016-2026 was expected to be at a rate of 5%, which is as fast as the average.

Multimedia Artists and Animators

As a multimedia artist, you'll have to know how to render images on computers as well as by hand. While your exact responsibilities may vary depending on your workplace, generally you'll create animation and manipulate images using computer programs. Your job duties may include sketching and drawing, creating computerized visual effects, operating cameras and editing film. In May 2018, the BLS reported that multimedia artists and animators earned an annual median salary of $72,520. Their estimated job growth from 2016-2026 was 8%, which is as fast as the average.

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