Magazines are plastered with actors who bring home millions per film, but those are few and far between. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that only about 66,500 people across the nation find full-time work in acting. Those who do must weather a cutthroat job market, inconsistent work and low median pay of about $40,500 per year ($20.26 per hour) and may work in less-than-desirable locales.
"One advantage of this career is that some people do get in without formal training. However, it really is helpful to have formal training," says Laurence Shatkin, co-author of "50 Best Jobs for Your Personality."
"You need to physically locate to a place where there's a lot of acting work," he says. "Some small town in the prairie -- it's not going to happen for you."
For those who can beat the competition, there is plenty of work in live theater, film and voice-overs, Shatkin says. To increase your chances of making it, he says you'll need to "audition constantly," learn by watching other people audition, get a great headshot and nab an agent who can work on your behalf.
Those leaving the field can transfer their showmanship and onstage experience to working behind the scenes throughout the entertainment fields.