Stunt Performers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Take physical education, dance, and other courses that will involve you in exercise, weight lifting, and coordination. Participation in sports teams can help develop the athletic skills needed. English classes are useful for improving communication skills. Theater classes are also recommended for learning to take direction as well as the opportunity to perform for an audience.

Postsecondary Training

There is no minimum educational requirement for becoming a stunt performer. Most learn their skills by working for years under an experienced stunt performer. A number of stunt schools, however, do exist, including the United Stuntmen's Association International Stunt School. You can also benefit from enrolling in theater classes.

Among the skills that must be learned are specific stunt techniques, such as how to throw a punch; the design and building of safety equipment; and production techniques, such as camera angles and film editing. The more a stunt performer knows about all aspects of filmmaking, the better that person can design effective and safe stunts.

Other Education or Training

SAG-AFTRA offers workshops and seminars to members via its locals across the United States. Topics include obtaining health insurance, contract negotiation, and other employment-related issues.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There is no certification or licensing available for stunt performers. 

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Stunt work requires excellent athletic ability. Many stunt performers were high school and college athletes, and some were Olympic or world champions. Qualities developed through sports such as self-discipline, coordination, common sense, and coolness under stress are essential to becoming a successful stunt performer. Stunt performers must exercise regularly to stay in shape and maintain good health. An understanding of the mechanics of the stunts is also helpful since they may be working with ropes, cables, and other equipment.

It is helpful to have a common body type because much of the work involves being a stunt double for a star actor. Exceptionally tall or short people, for example, may have difficulty finding roles.