What Are the Education Requirements for a Career in Acting?

A career in acting may be a good choice for you if have an active imagination and enjoy performing. No formal training is required to get into acting, but you can take classes or enter into a postsecondary degree program that focuses on acting, theatre, or drama to gain skills. Read on to find out how to prepare yourself for a career as an actor. Schools offering Acting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

As an actor, you might perform in television shows, commercials, movies, or theatre productions. In addition to acting techniques, you might also develop skills in singing and dancing to expand your potential job prospects. To secure acting work, you must typically audition. You may have to read a script or perform a prepared piece during an audition.

Important Information about Studying Acting

Degree Levels Associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees available in theatre and acting
Online Availability Programs in acting not available, but industry-related programs and courses available
Skills Enforced Creativity, memorization, persistence, reading, and speaking
Similar Occupations Dancers, Musicians and Singers, Directors, Producers, Film and Video Editors, Multimedia Artists and Animators, Choreographers, Playwright/Screenwriter

Training and Education

Many actors choose to complete formal acting training, although none is typically required. Theatre companies or acting conservatories may offer formal programs in acting; similarly, programs in acting, theatre, or drama are offered at many colleges and universities.

Such programs typically cover acting techniques, methods, and skills. Classes may include the study of improvisation, acting for television or film, voice, and speech, and stage combat. In addition to acting courses, you may explore movement and voice for the stage. A program may expose you to other aspects of theatre or acting including playwriting, theatre history, costuming, and auditioning. Additionally, programs commonly include or require you to complete live performances throughout the degree program, which can help you gain experience.


Experience is often vital to becoming successful in an acting career. Many actors start gaining experience in high school or community plays. In addition to the experience gained through a formal degree program, you may consider taking small paid or unpaid parts or working as a model. Experience may be gained through work at theme parks, dinner theatres, or on cruise ships. You may also consider getting a casting agent, who can help you secure roles.

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), employment opportunities for actors are projected to grow ten percent from 2016-2026, much faster than the national average predicted for all occupations. The BLS reported that actors should expect competition for roles, but might find additional opportunities in light of the development of new mediums such as video on demand and online television. In May 2018, the median hourly wage earned by professional actors was reported as $17.54 by the BLS.

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