Jobs in Entertainment: Career Options and Requirements

Sep 22, 2019

Being an entertainer such as an actor, singer, comedian, musician or dancer requires no formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

There are many career options in the entertainment industry. Actors perform in theater productions, commercials, TV shows and movies. Other entertainers include comedians, dancers and musicians.

Essential Information

Entertainment encompasses many genres, but it is a competitive business. A formal college degree is not typically required, but most entertainers have some training through workshops, seminars, or studios.

Required Education None, though degree programs are available
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 1% for actors
Median Hourly Pay (2018)* $17.54 for actors

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics

Entertainment Career Options

Entertainment encompasses many genres, and entertainers can be found in live theater, comedy clubs, the music and television industries, or in film and radio. Stand-up comics, disc jockeys, movie actors or actresses, and ballet dancers are all deemed entertainers.

Professional actors entertain the public with dramatic or comedic performances. They can work in various mediums, including theater, film and television. Skilled dancers may start out performing as part of dance troupes, before moving on to choreography or dance instruction. Singers can have solo careers or perform as part of a musical group. Musicians may compose music and play instruments; they can also be members of orchestras or bands.

Entertainment Requirements

The entertainment field is a competitive business, and entertainers must give themselves every advantage. Aspiring entertainers should ideally have natural talent, such as singing or dancing ability. They must be willing to work hard to develop or perfect their craft over time. A formal college degree isn't required for many jobs in the entertainment industry, but most professionals have some training in their field.

Non-Degree Programs

Specialized training doesn't necessarily result in a degree. For instance, actors can attend acting workshops or seminars in which they study soap opera acting or film acting. Acting studios are another option. These studios are generally found in major cities. They offer flexible schedules and beginner through advanced level training.

Also, some universities have non-degree programs in music education and dance. Music students might take classes in woodwinds, wind instruments, vocal development, music history and music theory. Students may have to interview and audition for such programs.

Degree Programs

Singing hopefuls who pursue degrees can major in voice and study subjects such as music performance and education, keyboards, instruments and liberal studies. Those who want formal education in dance may study ballet, tap or modern dance. Degree-seeking musicians may study fundamentals of music, music theory, advanced vocal ensemble, singing techniques and concert choir.

A school of performing arts can offer excellent preparation for a career in entertainment. Such schools give instruction in music, drama, dance and voice. Individuals must show true potential in order to be admitted to a school of performing arts. Auditions for these schools may be necessary for admission.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that actors will see little to no change in job growth from 2018 to 2028, with an increase of 1% overall (

For some careers where year-round, full-time employment is atypical, the BLS reports salary figures as hourly rates, and some entertainment careers fall within those parameters. The BLS reports that in 2018, actors earned a median hourly rate of $17.54.

A career in the entertainment industry can be pursued without any formal training. Postsecondary studies may enable performers to improve their skills, which may be an asset when seeking employment. Salaries vary widely, depending on the field and level of employment.

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