Careers for Former Actors

Those who perform on stage and screen may decide on a change of pace in their career while still wanting to maintain a grip on the creative arts. Many options are available to those who decide to step away from the spotlight!

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Career Options for Former Actors

After a career full of performing, actors considering a career change have a number of options available based on their experience. Their talents and work history can be applied to a different aspect of the entertainment world, or helping to train aspiring actors as they learn the ropes. Listed below are several different directions actors can take after their performing careers are over.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Producer $70,950 (for producers and directors) 12% (for producers and directors)
Art Director $89,820 7%
Choreographer $23.19 (hourly) 3%
Postsecondary Teacher $68,650 (art, drama, and music teachers, postsecondary) 12% (art, drama, and music teachers, postsecondary)
Writer/Author $61,240 8%
Director $70,950 (for producers and directors) 12% (for producers and directors)

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for Former Actors


Actors-turned-producers can utilize their knowledge of the industry to make business decisions in the entertainment world. Producers are tasked with finding financial backing for a theatrical, film, or television performance, and will be responsible for hiring crew members, a director, and if necessary, choreographers. Creating a budget and keeping track of deadlines both fall under the umbrella of producer responsibility. A minimum of a bachelor's degree is typically necessary for a producer, as is some work experience in acting, editing, or cinematography.

Art Director

Those who have acted and obtained an eye for visual aesthetics may become art directors. Design approval, photograph selection, staff management, and activity coordination are all responsibilities of talented art directors, who will show final designs for the approval of their clients. Art directors can be in charge of productions for video games, advertisements, or films. The publishing industry also makes use of art directors, who work in magazines and other periodicals. Along with previous experience, art directors should have a bachelor's degree in art or some area of design.


For actors who have worked in musical theater, a second career in choreography is an excellent way to share their knowledge with the next generation of performers. Choreographers arrange the sequence of dance moves for a theatrical production and can assist with costume design. They will also audition dancers and help directors select the cast of a show. Administrative duties may be assigned to choreographers as well. Formal educational requirements differ, but choreographers may have a bachelor's or master's degree in dance, both parts of a fine arts program.

Postsecondary Teacher

Actors can also take their experience and teach through a traditional classroom setting in a university. Postsecondary teachers will develop instruction plans that are approved by their respective department and can also work individually with students on scheduling their courses for a degree program. Teachers at this level can also conduct research, publish their findings in academic journals, and present these findings at conferences, nationally and across the world. Depending on the courses taught by a postsecondary teacher, they will need a master's degree or a doctoral degree.

Writer and Author

After a career of using the material of others, actors can choose to focus on crafting their own stories. Writers can create novels and scripts or pen an autobiography about their careers as actors. Writers will need to work with editors to shape their work into published form and also solicit feedback from clients to be sure everything is to the client's liking. For a career in writing, a bachelor's degree in an area such as English or communications is generally acceptable. Experience is just as important.


Having worked under the supervision of directors, authors can take their knowledge and experience to the other side of the camera or stage for the future. Directors are in charge of casting actors and ensuring actors are portraying characters to the best of their ability, as well as according to how characters are written. Furthermore, directors can pick topics to film for documentaries and other non-fictional projects. Directors often have a bachelor's degree in film or film studies, and will sometimes pursue a terminal Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree.

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