theater majors sitting on stage at rehearsal

Majoring in theater can be an exciting and rewarding experience for those who have a passion for the performing arts.

From learning the ins and outs of acting techniques to exploring the history, there’s no doubt that pursuing a degree in this field can provide valuable insights and skills.

However, like any major, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of majoring in theater.

The Pros of Majoring in Theater

One of the biggest advantages of majoring in theater is the opportunity to develop your acting skills.

Throughout your studies, you’ll have the chance to work on monologues, scenes, and full-length plays, with guidance from experienced faculty members.

You’ll also learn about different acting techniques, such as method acting, physical theater, and improvisation, and have the chance to experiment with them in a safe and supportive environment.

This can help you build confidence in your abilities and prepare you for a career in the performing arts.

Another advantage of majoring in theater is the chance to work with other creative individuals.

Whether you’re collaborating on a group project or rehearsing a play, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people who share your passion for the arts.

This can lead to lifelong friendships and professional connections that can help you further your career down the line.

Finally, majoring in theater can provide you with a well-rounded education. In addition to acting, you’ll also study other aspects of theater, such as stage design, lighting, and sound.

This can give you a deeper appreciation for the craft and help you understand the many different roles that go into producing a play.

You’ll also have the chance to explore the history of theater and learn about different theatrical movements and styles, from ancient Greek drama to contemporary experimental theater.

The Cons of Majoring in Theater

While there are plenty of advantages to majoring in theater, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.

One of the biggest challenges is the intense competition for jobs in the performing arts industry.

Even with a degree in theater, it can be difficult to land a role in a play or film, and many actors end up working in other fields to make ends meet.

This can be frustrating and disheartening, especially if you’re passionate about acting and have invested a lot of time and money into your education.

Another potential downside of majoring in theater is the financial burden. Theater degrees can be expensive, and many students end up taking on significant debt to pay for their education.

This can limit your options after graduation and make it harder to pursue your dreams in the performing arts industry.

Finally, majoring in theater can be emotionally challenging.

Acting requires a lot of vulnerability and emotional openness, which can be difficult for some people.

You may be asked to perform scenes that are uncomfortable or triggering, and you’ll need to be able to handle rejection and criticism from casting directors and other professionals in the industry.

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Career Options for Theater Majors

Despite the challenges, there are plenty of career options available to theater majors. Obviously, many graduates go on to become actors, either in theater or film.

However, there are also plenty of other roles in the performing arts industry that theater majors can pursue. Some options include:

  • Director
  • Producer
  • Set designer
  • Costume designer
  • Lighting designer
  • Sound designer
  • Stage manager
  • Drama therapist
  • Drama teacher

In addition, grads can also apply their skills and knowledge in other industries.

For example, many graduates go on to work in marketing, advertising, or public relations, using their creativity and communication skills to promote products or services.

Salary Expectations for Theater Majors

One of the biggest concerns is salary. Unfortunately, many jobs in the performing arts industry are low-paying, and it can be difficult to make a living as an actor.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for actors in May 2020 was $20.46 per hour, or $42,550 per year.

However, this figure can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, location, and type of employment.

That said, there are some high-paying jobs available in the performing arts industry.

For example, producers and directors can earn a median annual wage of $74,420, while set and exhibit designers can earn $63,660.

However, these jobs can be difficult to come by and often require significant experience and networking. For help with enhancing job prospects, read this.

The Importance of Passion in Choosing a Major

Ultimately, the decision to major in theater should be based on your passion for the performing arts.

If you love acting and can’t imagine doing anything else, then pursuing a degree in this degree may be the right choice for you, even if it comes with some challenges and uncertainties.

On the other hand, if you’re not truly passionate about the field, then you may want to consider other majors that align more closely with your interests and skills.

Alternatives to Majoring in Theater

If you’re interested in the performing arts but don’t want to major in theater, there are plenty of other options available.

For example, you could major in dance, music, or film studies, all of which can lead to careers in the performing arts industry.

Alternatively, you could pursue a degree in communications, marketing, or public relations, which can also be useful in the arts and entertainment field.

The Value of a Theater Degree in the Job Market

Despite the challenges of finding work in the performing arts industry, a theater degree can still be valuable in the job market.

Employers often look for candidates who have strong communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills, all of which are developed in theater programs.

In addition, a degree in theater can demonstrate your creativity, adaptability, and willingness to take risks, all of which can be valuable in a variety of industries.

Real-life Experiences from Theater Majors

To give you a better sense of what it’s like to major in theater, here’s what a few grads had to say:

“I loved majoring in theater because it gave me the chance to explore different aspects of the craft, from acting to stage design. I also made some of my closest friends in the program, and we still collaborate on projects even after graduation.” – Sarah L., 2020 graduate

“Majoring in theater was challenging, but it taught me so much about myself and my abilities. I learned how to take risks, handle rejection, and work collaboratively with others. These skills have been invaluable in my career, even though I’m not working in theater full-time.” – Mike S., 2015 graduate

“I struggled with the financial burden of my theater degree, and it was hard to see my friends in other majors landing high-paying jobs right out of college. However, I wouldn’t trade my theater education for anything. It gave me a sense of purpose and passion that I still carry with me today.” – Julia C., 2019 graduate


In conclusion, majoring in theater can be a rewarding and challenging experience for those who are passionate about the performing arts.

While there are certainly some potential drawbacks to consider, such as competition for jobs and financial burden, there are also plenty of career options available.

Ultimately, the decision to major in theater should be based on your passion for the craft and your willingness to take on the challenges that come with it.

Whether you end up pursuing a career in theater or applying your skills in other industries, a degree in this field can provide you with valuable insights and experiences that will serve you well throughout your life.

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