Education and Training Requirements

High School

There are no minimum educational requirements to become an actor. However, at least a high school diploma is recommended. Classes in English and speech and participating in school theater productions are good ways to prepare for a career in acting.

Postsecondary Training

As acting becomes more and more involved with the various facets of our society, a college degree will become more important to those who hope to have an acting career. It is assumed that the actor who has completed a liberal arts program is more capable of understanding the wide variety of roles that are available. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that aspiring actors complete at least a bachelor's degree program in theater or the dramatic arts. Some actors, especially those who want to teach dramatic arts, continue their education and receive a master of fine arts (M.F.A.) degree. This sort of advanced study may include courses in stage speech and movement, directing, playwriting, and design, as well as intensive acting workshops. The National Association of Schools of Theatre accredits more than 186 programs in theater arts.

College often provides the hopeful actor with acting experience. More than 500 colleges and universities throughout the country offer dramatic arts programs and present theatrical performances. Actors and directors recommend that those interested in acting gain as much experience as possible through acting in plays in high school and college or in those offered by community groups.

Other Education or Training

Training beyond college is recommended, especially for actors interested in entering the theater. Joining acting workshops, such as the Actors Studio, can often be highly competitive, but professionally rewarding.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for actors.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Experience acting in school and community theatre will be helpful for aspiring actors.

Prospective actors will be required not only to have a great talent for acting but also a great determination to succeed in the theater and motion pictures. They must be able to memorize hundreds of lines and should have a good speaking voice. The ability to sing and dance is important for increasing the opportunities for the young actor. Almost all actors, even the biggest stars, are required to audition for a part before they receive the role. In film and television, they will generally complete screen tests to see how they will appear on film. In all fields of acting, a love for acting is a must. It might take many years for an actor to achieve any success, if they achieve it at all.