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.   


CMU Theatre students 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 a sampling of positions held by our former students*, selected to demonstrate the variety of positions and employers available to those with quality theatre skills and preparation. 

Sample Careers of CMU Theatre alumni*

Production Stage Manager
Kennedy Center for 
Performing Arts
Second City Touring Company
Senior Designer
NBC Universal
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
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
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 
Grant Fine Arts Center
Technical Director & Assistant Professor,
San Francisco State University
Wynn Las Vegas

*Major and/or minor in Theatre, Interpretation and Dance, or Music Theatre.  Individuals 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 WagesExpected Growth
through ​2024
+10% (Above avg.)
​+9% (Above avg.)
​Set & Exhibit Designer12,060$57,600
Artistic Director​74,600​$89,820
​+2% (Below avg.)
Drama Teacher 
(​University, Performing Art Company, and other Post-Secondary)
 (Note: General post-secondary 
teacher positions are expected to 
grow 13% - Above Avg.)
​Teacher (High School)​961,600​$58,300
​+6% (Average)
Author/Writer (Playwright)​N/A$61,240
+2% (Slower than average)
Dancers and Choreographers​20,100$16.85
+9% (Faster than average)

Salary progression and job satisfaction

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

Salary by years experience*

Years of 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, Apprenticeships and Summer Employment

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

  • Festival 56, Princeton, IL - Acting
  • 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