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February 8, 2012 / NextStepU

Major Monday (on Wednesday!): theater

Does the spotlight call your name? Do you have a flair for the dramatic and crave the attention of an audience? Then consider a major in theater!

Students who wish to pursue a career as an actor will likely benefit from earning a degree in theater. Typical courses that students take include stage speech and movement, directing, playwriting, and design as well as intensive acting workshops. The Princeton Review offers a list of the Top 20 College Theater schools which can be found on their website.

Aspiring actors, along with their educational training, need a wide range of talent and skills in order to portray different characters effectively. Poise, stage presence and the ability to follow direction are musts. The ability to stay in character even among complex technical sets and hot stage lights are also essential to the success of actors.

While some may associate the acting profession with extraordinarily high earnings, the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a more reasonable indication of what actors typically earn.  As of May 2008, actors earned a median hourly wage of $16.59 with the middle 50 percent earning between $9.81 to $29.57/hour. The related fields of producing and directing averaged $64,430/year in 2008.

So is this the career for you? Keep in mind that actors typically face tough competition for roles and often face stress from the continual need to find the next job. They also face the pressure of having to carry out flawless performances while working long and irregular hours. A dedication to the craft is a must for those who pursue a career in acting!

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