CMU Theatre graduates typically follow one of three paths upon earning their degree:  seek professional employment, pursue a graduate degree, or take part in apprenticeships or other specialized training to bolster their resume in a specific area.  While a competitive field, statistics show anticipated growth in many theatre-related job markets in coming years, and many wonderful career opportunities exist for graduates to follow their dreams.   

Employment

CMU Theatre graduates have gone on to a wide variety of successful positions in all aspects of the profession. In addition to those who've gone on to become household names, such as Jeff DanielsLarry Joe Campbell, and Terry O'Quinn, dozens of others have gone on successful careers as freelance actors, singers, and comedians.  Below is sampling of positions held by our graduates*, selected to demonstrate the variety of positions and employers available to those with quality theatre skills and preparation. 

 Sample Careers of CMU Theatre Graduates**

Production Stage Manager
Kennedy Center for 
Performing Arts
Actor/Writer/Comedian,
Second City Touring Company
Senior Designer
NBC Universal
Playwright
Self Employed

Director of Theatre School Education and Outreach, 
North Coast Repertory Theatre
Costume Technician/Dresser/
Freelance Designer, 
Self Employed (Recently involved in Tony Award nominated productions of Aladdin, and Ground Hog Day)  
Technical Director
Tipping Point Theater
Assoc. Director of Arts & Cultural Management & Theatre Faculty,
Michigan State University
Costume Designer,
Self Employed (Recently designed off Broadway production of Babel) 
Prop Head
International Alliance of Theatrical 
Stage Employees
Stage Combat Director/Owner
Theatricks
Technical Director
Theatre J
Director of Marketing and Communications
West Michigan Symphony
Artistic Director
The Music Box
Freelance Stage Manager
Norwegian Cruise Lines
Designer/Independent Makeup Artist/Consultant
Anna's Aunt Designs
Properties Master
University of Tennessee
Professional Speaker/Owner
Tami Evans - Speaker
Set Designer
Tennessee Performing Arts Center
Dance Specialist
Arthur Murray Dance Studios
Assistant Draper
New York City Theatre
Artistic Director
Katharsis Theatre Company
Company Manager
The Purple Rose Theatre
Scenic Designer, 
Studio 207
Actress,
Self Employed (Recent works include "Oklahoma" National Tour and 2007 Broadway production of "Grease")
Technical Theatre Faculty
University of North Carolina 
School of the Arts
Executive Director
Nashville Local Screen Actors Guild 
Director,
Grant Fine Arts Center
Technical Director & Assistant Professor,
San Francisco State University
Performer
Wynn Las Vegas


*Major and/or minor in Theatre, Interpretation and Dance, or Music Theatre.
**Information taken from self-reported CMU alumni records in June of 2017 or from CMU University Theatre Alumni News releases. Listed graduates may have pursued additional education or specialized training to qualify for their positions. 


Additional employment opportunities for theatre graduates include: Talent scout/manager, critic, broadcast journalist, narrator, drama coach, dramaturg, television personality, booking manager, front of house manager, facility manager, ticketing manager, writer, and more.  

Career Statistics

The information below was sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics with wage estimates from 2016.  Follow the links for valuable, In-depth information on each occupation.

Occupation
​# Jobs
in 2014
Mean Wages
Expected Growth
through ​2024
Actor/Actress
69,400​$18.70
 hourly
+10% (Above avg.)
Director/Producer
​​133,600
​$70,950
 yearly​
​+9% (Above avg.)
​Set & Exhibit Designer
12,060
$57,600
yearly
​N/A
Artistic Director
​74,600
​$89,820
 yearly
​+2% (Below avg.)
Drama Teacher
(​University, Performing Art Company, and other Post-Secondary)
 
​99,200
​$81,500
yearly
N/A
 (Note: General post-secondary
teacher positions are expected to
grow 13% - Above Avg.)
​Teacher (High School)
​961,600
​$58,300
 yearly
​+6% (Average)
Author/Writer (Playwright)
​N/A
$61,240
yearly
+2% (Slower than average)
Dancers and Choreographers
​20,100
$16.85
 hourly
+9% (Faster than average)

Salary progression and job satisfaction

For students who've earned a Bachelor of Arts with a Theatre major, Payscale.com rates job satisfaction as extremely high (5 out of 5), and reports salary progression as follows: 

Salary by years experience*

Years experienceAverage Salary
- 4 years$48,723​
10 - 19 years$71,500
20 years or more$64,985
*Updated August 7, 2017

Graduate Education Opportunities

Recent CMU Theatre graduates have gone on to many respected graduate programs across the nation, including:  

  • Cal State - Los Angeles
  • Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Western Illinois University
  • Purdue University
  • University of Missouri - Kansas City
  • University of Illinois
  • Louisiana State University
  • University of Arizona.  


Internships and Apprenticeships

A few of the additional training opportunities in which our students and graduates have worked or studied in recent years include: 

  • Festival 56, Princeton, IL - Acting
  • Pacific Conservatory Theatre, Santa Monica, CA - Technical Theatre/Carpentry
  • Tipping Point Theatre, Northville, MI -  Apprenticeship
  • PowerHouse Theatre Training Co., Poughkeepsie, NY - Playwriting 
  • Red Barn Summer Theatre, Frankfurt, IN - Acting
  • Pacific Conservatory Theatre, Santa Monica, CA - Technical Theatre/Carpentry
  • Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Auburn, NY - Technical Theatre
  • The Purple Rose Theatre, Chelsea, MI - Apprenticeship
  • Thunder Bay Theatre, Alpena, MI - Acting