Actors fall into the Strong Interest Inventory® Artistic Theme Code Category. The Strong Interest Inventory® Test has been revised multiple times since its initial release in 1927, and is now considered the industry leading way to optimize career choice using individual interests. The Artistic Theme Code centers on creating and enjoying art in all its forms, including visual art, music, writing, drama, culinary arts, and even mass marketing and communication. These many different categories have in common the passion for creating something tangible in the workplace, from newspaper articles to theater performances to a beautifully presented plate of food.

Actors play parts of characters over various media, including television, radio, motion pictures, on stage, or in other settings for entertainment, information, or instruction. Before going on stage, they study and rehearse their roles from scripts, and practice and learn lines, stunts, and cues. Often they work closely with directors, other actors, or playwrights to determine an interpretation of the role that is best suited for the actor as well as the character to create a credible performance. This may include using changes in body movements, facial expressions, or gestures to portray serious or humorous interpretations of situations, as well as characters’ emotions or actions. In some cases, actors may also benefit from the ability to sing or dance, especially during dramatic or comedic performances. While most performances are memorized, some actors, especially voice actors, may also need to be able to read from scripts or books to entertain audiences, or to do so in front of an audience without using many stage props.

Having a diverse repertoire of skills is always beneficial for Actors. For instance, being able to tell jokes or perform comedic dances, song, and skits, is a unique skill set, as is being able to impersonate others’ mannerisms or voices. In the same way, being able to act on a variety of different media (e.g., television, motion pictures, on stage), or even being able to do one’s own stunts, even to a limited degree, makes one significantly more marketable in interviews and auditions.

Actor Salary and Career Info

Read about a career in Acting including information such as an Actor’s salary, daily tasks and other career information.

Actors need to be comfortable working with and around many different kinds of tools, including digital and video cameras and tripods, microphones, and recording equipment. Furthermore, they need to be comfortable using personal, handheld, notebook, and tablet computers, as well as a wide range of social networking and digital communication interfaces, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Microsoft Office. Familiarity with video editing software, such as Apple Final Cut Pro and YouTube is also helpful.

In order to be successful, Actors need to be highly proficient in English and have a deep understanding of communications, media, and the fine and performing arts (e.g., music, dance, drama, etc.). They need to be confident speakers and writers,  highly coordinated, and have highly developed time-management skills. They should be able to make judgments and perhaps even improvise in the moment. Furthermore, they need to be able to memorize large amounts of information, especially lines from a long script, which also means they need strong enough near vision to be able to comfortably read many pages of fine print without becoming tired. Finally, Actors benefit from being able to think creatively and put their own spin on their characters, as well as from the ability to establish and maintain interpersonal relationships, for instance, with other actors, managers, directors, screen writers, choreographers, and so on. In some cases, actors may also work or communicate directly with the public, for instance, in restaurants or stores, in theme parks, or on talk shows and other publicity opportunities. Most actors have a moderate amount of education – 52% hold a high school diploma, while just under 30% attended some college without earning a full degree.  An additional 9% earned a bachelor’s degree.

An Actor’s salary is often negotiated on an hourly basis. In the majority of states, they earn $13 to $25 per hour, though there are stark increases in New York and in Nevada because of the high demand for quality performances in Las Vegas and in New York City. It may be difficult for Actors to find employment in much of the central United States because of low demand. The employment rate for Actors is expected to grow by roughly 7,000 individuals (nearly 10%) before 2024. However, because most states are adding under 100 jobs, with the biggest numeric growth in Florida, Maryland, and Texas, competition remains fierce.

Below are some employment trends for Actors:

  • Median Salary: $20.43 hourly
  • Employment: 64,500 employees
  • Projected growth (2018-2028): Little or no change (-1% to 1%)
  • Projected job openings (2018-2028): 7,700
[Information retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections]

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Click on one of these to access more Artistic Theme Code Careers: Art, Drama, and Music Teachers, Broadcast Announcers, Broadcast News Analysts, Choreographers, Cook, Dancers, Fashion Designers, Floral Designers, Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Interior Designers, Landscape Architects, Makeup Artists, Merchandise Displayers, Models, Multimedia Artists and Animators, Musicians, Photographers, Post-Secondary English Language and Literature Teachers, Post-Secondary Teachers, Preschool Teachers, Radio and Television Announcers, Set Designers, Singers, Sociologists, Sound Engineering Technicians, Tile Setters, Translators & Interpreters, Training and Development Specialists, and Video Game Designers. 

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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections