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Voice Actress: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a voice actress. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and career outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

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A voice actress can perform in many roles, including providing narratives in commercials or playing characters in animated films or video games. While there is no mandatory education standard, many voice actresses have acting training and stage experience.

Essential Information

A voice actress lends her voice to animated TV shows or movies, dubbed films, commercials, documentaries or video games. While formal education isn't necessary, many voice actresses have had training and experience as stage actors. Courses in voice acting are offered at a number of schools that have performing arts programs.

Required Education No educational requirements for this career
Projected Job Growth* 10% between 2014 and 2024 (all actors)
Median Wage (2015)* $18.80 per hour (all actors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Voice Actress

Voice actresses can perform in a variety of projects, from completing voice-overs for commercials and movie trailers to portraying various animated characters. Depending on the project, a voice actor might work alone or with a group. Most of the work is done in a recording studio, with the voice actress reading lines in a recording booth while a sound engineer observes from the control room.

Voice actors are self-employed and typically have an erratic work schedule. They may experience times when there is a lot of work available, as well as times when they have few projects. Jobs for voice actresses can be long term, such as providing the voice for the main character in an animated series, or they may be very brief.

Voice Actress Duties

Good voice actresses are able to speak in multiple tones of voice and with various accents. The ability to speak clearly and with a pleasing voice is essential. Unlike stage, television and movie actors, voice actors typically don't receive scripts in advance to allow them to rehearse and memorize their lines. Yet despite the lack of rehearsal time, voice actresses must be able to read from scripts in a natural, conversational way.

Voice actresses also are responsible for maintaining their voices. Many do vocal exercises. Frequent practice, particularly with new tones and accents, prevents voice actresses from straining their vocal cords.

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Requirements for Becoming a Voice Actress

Aspiring vocal actresses must make a habit of sending demo tapes to directors and frequently attend auditions. The field is very competitive, so voice actresses must be outgoing and network in order to find jobs.

There are no educational requirements to become a voice actor, but many schools that offer performing arts programs have courses in voice acting. Some of these are standalone, non-credit courses or workshops that can be taken for personal enrichment or professional development. Others are incorporated into degree programs in acting. Basic courses focus on performing voice-over work for a variety of mediums, and students typically practice reading scripts and receive feedback from industry professionals.

Career Outlook for a Voice Actress

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment of actors and actresses was predicted to grow 10% from 2014-2024, which was more than the average for other jobs. All types of acting positions generally come with extreme competition. The median hourly wage for actors was $18.80 in May 2015. However, wages vary widely; the top-paid twenty five percent of actors made $48.79 or more per hour, while the bottom-earning ten percent of workers earned $9.27 or less per hour.

Pay and opportunities vary widely for voice actresses, although the field is projected to grow in the next ten years for all types of actors and actresses. Competition is fierce, and some education or professional development courses can help a voice actress build her skill set.

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