How to Become a Performing Artist

Overview & Salaries

Recommended Degree:
The right degree for you depends on the industry and job you apply for. Most people starting out have gotten some type of formal training or a bachelors degree in performing arts, music, or voice. If you are looking to get into a competitive or advance position, then a master’s degree can be useful in helping you stand out during the hiring process.

Begin your career path today by signing up for free information from one of our accredited colleges below that offer programs to help get you started as a performing artist.

How Much Does a Performing Artist Make?

  • Musicians and Singers: $23.50 per hour*
  • Dancers and Choreographers: $15.82 per hour*
  • Actors: $20.26 per hour*

*national median salary, to view salaries in your state click on the “Best Places to Work” tab up top

Expected Growth from 2012-2020:

  • Musicians and Singers: +8,700
  • Dancers and Choreographers: +3,400
  • Actors: +3,300

Specialization Options:

Singing, theater acting, movie acting, musicians, and dramatic art

(all information above provided by the 2012 BLS)

Discover the Best Places to Become a Performing Artist

In all three areas of the performing arts, California has the greatest number of opportunities for those wishing to enter the field, both in terms of wages and positions available. New York is second for actors and musicians, currently offering hourly mean wages that are higher than states other than California at roughly $40.00 an hour. For dancers and choreographers, Texas comes in second in terms of job opportunities, with an annual mean wage of $44,030.

Employment and Salary Information by State for Performing Arts

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career in Performing Arts.

Employment and Information Data for Performing Arts

Why Become a Performing Artist?

A performing arts career is about more than just the fame. These artists – actors, singers, musicians, even athletes – are often rewarded mostly by their own performances. If all the adulation that can come with a career in the performing arts isn’t what its about for you that is probably a good thing. Its a tough road to fame and fortune so commitment to ones art is more than a cliche, its an absolute imperative. The good news is there are plenty of educational programs designed to set you on that path.

Recommended Courses to Help You Become a Performing Artist

  • Dance
  • Advanced Dance: Modern
  • Advanced Dance: Ballet
  • Advanced Dance: Choreography
  • Advanced Drama: Acting Styles
  • Advanced Drama: Musical Theatre
  • Advanced Drama: Improvisation
  • Film and Video Production: Moving Image
  • Oral Interpretation of Literature
  • Advanced Oral Interpretation: Oral History
  • Advanced Drama: Costume Design

Degrees for Performing Arts Careers

In general Arts & Design programs focus on creating course schedules that develop creative thinking and problem solving in the in the media arts. In recent years more detailed, and narrowly focused, programs have emerged – Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) — that better ready students for a career in Arts & Design.

In addition, these programs allow students to vary their interests by combining studies to include: media arts (animation, computer imaging, interactive design illustration, photography), textile design (weaving, fiber arts, surface design), and traditional art + design (painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture) with other existing degree tracks within the College of Design.

The education options are wide open.