Stage Directors


Education and Training Requirements

High School

While in high school, take classes in English, speech, art, and theater if offered. Participate in school productions and theater arts programs.

Postsecondary Education

It is not absolutely necessary to have a college degree to become a stage director, but it is helpful. A degree provides credibility and better prepares one to face both the competition in the industry and the opportunities that appear.

There are some directors who have no college background, and others who hold a master's degree. Good choices for majors include theater arts, acting, and arts management.

Classes in directing, play writing, set design, costume design, and acting will be helpful. Some directors earn a degree in theater and go on to receive a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. The National Association of Schools of Theatre accredits more than 180 programs in theater arts. Visit them online at

Other Education and Training

Training in the form of practical experience is necessary to get a job and be successful at it. This experience can be obtained by working as an intern, assistant, or in almost any area of the theater. School, summer stock, and regional theaters are all good training grounds. Many stage directors get their training watching other directors do their job or assisting them.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

There are no certification or licensing requirements necessary to become a stage director.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

There is no clear career path for stage directors. Individuals need experience in theater, which they may gain by working as assistant directors. Others began their careers as actors, actresses, stage managers or even playwrights.

Stage directors must be creative people with a vision. They need to guide actors and actresses in their speech and physical movements. A knowledge of theater, staging, and acting is imperative. Knowing stage jargon is also necessary.

Directors must be good at coordinating the various aspects of preparing a production since most of their job is spent doing that. They need to be detail oriented and have the ability to manage many aspects of a production at one time.

Directors need to have a lot of patience as they must constantly explain their creative vision to those interpreting it. They must also be determined and be patient when working with people.