Get into the performing arts
If you are interested in beginning an acting career, the best place to start is by attending a performing arts college. In some cities, there are even performing arts high schools, so you can get an even earlier jump on your career. Performing arts schools are not just for the actors and stage performers. Training for behind-the-scenes occupations such as costume designers, set designers, lighting designers, musicians, audio technicians, prop managers and set constructors are also available.
Performing Arts Degrees
While it may seem like a performing arts education is all fun and frivolity, students at most colleges are expected to take the same core academic classes as the rest of the student body. Training at a performing arts center may allow you to get around these academic requirements, but will not give you the same credentials as a degree from a four-year performing arts college. Performing arts degrees are offered at all levels of education, from an associate's degree at a community college to a master's degree from a university. Master's degrees or higher are generally required for those wishing to become performing arts professors or theater administrators.
Once enrolled in a performing arts school, students should spend their summers auditioning and building up their resumes. Start early by going for auditions in the spring so you can line up parts to work on during the summer. If you do this every year, you can easily build up a solid resume before you even graduate from a performing arts college. Strive for roles with the most prestige value possible. Unfortunately, this means you may have to pass up some parts that may be more interesting, but you will have time to work for fun later on in your acting career.
Performing Arts High Schools
If you have the option, attend a performing arts high school in your area. This lets you get some early acting experience and also will help you decide if you enjoy it or not. It is easier to change career paths in high school than after you have enrolled in a dedicated performing arts college. You could get your feet wet in the industry by trying out for high school plays and productions; there should be plenty of them. While in high school, you should also try to audition for local roles during the summer months. This will give you an even earlier start on building a winning resume. Remember, your resume is what gets you in the door to many auditions, so start your performing arts career as early as possible.