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Career Profile: Actors

Play parts in stage, television, radio, video, or film productions, or other settings for entertainment, information, or instruction. Interpret serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience. May dance and sing.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 51,600 people employed as actors in the United States. Entry level employees earn approximately $11 per year and senior employees earn approximately $65 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Work closely with directors, other actors, and playwrights to find the interpretation most suited to the role.
  • Perform humorous and serious interpretations of emotions, actions, and situations, using body movements, facial expressions, and gestures.
  • Study and rehearse roles from scripts to interpret, learn and memorize lines, stunts, and cues as directed.
  • Learn about characters in scripts and their relationships to each other to develop role interpretations.
  • Attend auditions and casting calls to audition for roles.
  • Sing or dance during dramatic or comedic performances.
  • Work with other crew members responsible for lighting, costumes, make-up, and props.
  • Tell jokes, perform comic dances, songs and skits, impersonate mannerisms and voices of others, contort face, and use other devices to amuse audiences.
  • Read from scripts or books to narrate action or to inform or entertain audiences, utilizing few or no stage props.
  • Promote productions using means such as interviews about plays or movies.
  • Prepare and perform action stunts for motion picture, television, or stage productions.
  • Write original or adapted material for dramas, comedies, puppet shows, narration, or other performances.
  • Introduce performances and performers to stimulate excitement and coordinate smooth transition of acts during events.
  • Collaborate with other actors as part of an ensemble.
  • Portray and interpret roles, using speech, gestures, and body movements, to entertain, inform, or instruct radio, film, television, or live audiences.
  • Dress in comical clown costumes and makeup, and perform comedy routines to entertain audiences.
  • Construct puppets and ventriloquist dummies, and sew accessory clothing, using hand tools and machines.
  • Perform original and stock tricks of illusion to entertain and mystify audiences, occasionally including audience members as participants.
  • Manipulate strings, wires, rods, or fingers to animate puppets or dummies in synchronization with talking, singing, or recorded programs.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
51,600
Annual Openings:
8,200
Increase in Openings by 2030:
32%
Annual Salary Range:
$11 - $65
Education Requirements:
Some college