Circus Performers


Circus Performers


Circus performers entertain with a wide variety of unusual acts that terrify, amuse, and amaze their audiences. Circus artists appear to defy death as they swing from a trapeze or walk a tightwire high above the ground. Some perform gymnastic feats on the ground, and clowns entertain with their absurd antics. Others train and perform with animals, such as elephants and tigers. Most circus performers are able to perform a variety of circus skills. Though "running away to join the circus" may seem like a fun way to earn a living, in r...

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



Apprenticeship or other training



Performance, Music, and Acting


Personality Traits



Earnings for circus performers vary so widely that it is difficult to determine the average salaries. It is clear, however, that people entering this field do so out of love and not for the money.

According to the Circus World Museum, those just starting out usually do not earn much more than the minimum wage, and sometimes even lower, perhaps $200 to $400 per week. Generally, however, t...

Work Environment

Circus performers work long hours performing and even longer hours preparing their acts. The learning and relearning periods are intense and physically demanding. Heavy travel is involved, and most acts require expensive equipment, props, and costumes.

Circus performers enjoy being able to choose their engagements and be their own bosses. They have the freedom to create their own art for...


P. T. Barnum once said, "As long as there are children, there will always be circuses." Circuses will continue, though their formats change with the times.

Although the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment for entertainers and performers will grow about as fast as the average for all occupations, employment for circus performers will not be as strong. The entertainment taste...