Education and Training Requirements

High School

While there is no formal educational requirement to be a playwright, a high school diploma or GED is generally the bare minimum. Classes in English and all facets of writing as well as drama are helpful in honing skills. Participation in high school drama clubs will also help individuals gain valuable experience.

Postsecondary Education

Earning a college degree will not guarantee a playwright’s script will be produced and turned into a major production. It will, however, give aspiring playwrights a background that may prove useful, help hone skills, and give the individual experiences he or she might not otherwise have. Colleges often provide opportunities for student playwrights to produce their work or participate in drama programs. Those interested in teaching drama or play writing as part of their career generally must obtain a master's degree and possibly a doctorate.

Good choices for majors include theater, play writing, theater arts, acting, journalism, English, communications and liberal arts. Courses, seminars, and workshops in script writing, English, writing, theater, stage and acting would also be helpful.

Other Education and Training

Apprenticeships and internships at theaters are another way for aspiring playwrights to gain experience and make contacts in the theater community. These might be obtained through college programs or at local, dinner, or regional theaters.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

There are no licensing or certification requirements for playwrights.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Successful playwrights have had a great deal of experience writing. Many have written and published short stories, novels, non-fiction articles, and poetry before attaining success in theater.

Playwrights have excellent writing skills and a good command of the English language. They not only write well but have the ability to write dialogue. They have a story to tell and the ability to script it for the stage.

Playwrights are creative people. They can take an idea and make it exciting for others. Writing can often be lonely. Even if the playwright is collaborating with another author, he or she will do a lot of work alone.

Those aspiring to become playwrights must be thick skinned and resilient. There is a great deal of rejection in this career. Scripts are frequently turned down. The individual must be able to deal with these rejections without taking them personally and getting depressed and continue submitting until they receive an acceptance.

While there are playwrights who do not type, typing skills and knowledge of word processing are extremely useful. There are also special software programs which format scripts.

An ability to research is imperative for playwrights. With research, an individual can learn about the language, problems, and life of certain time periods that he or she develops in the course of writing.