How to Become a
Drama Teacher

Woman teaching dramatic gestures to a group of young girls

Does being a Drama Teacher sound like a career for you? If so, keep reading this guide for helpful information you need to know about becoming a Drama Teacher, including necessary experience, training and more.

What Does a Drama Teacher Do?

A Drama Teacher educates students about the theater, acting and stage presence. From preschool to high school, the Drama Teacher also teaches students about set design and construction, as well as costumes, stage make-up, theater history, directing, dance, singing and diction. The Drama Teacher is also involved in all aspects of producing a class show, especially if he or she heads or runs a theater department. Since the role emphasizes educating students about acting, the drama teacher is also in charge of improving confidence, public speaking, and self-expression. He or she teaches students how to effectively communicate, as well as how to control and project their voices.

Drama Teachers, who educate elementary, middle and high schools students, primarily work in public or private schools, from early childhood and up to grade 12. They also can be found in colleges and universities, and can also find work with a local theater troupe, a summer camp, a large church or a children’s museum. Being a Drama Teacher entails lesson preparation, teaching diverse learners from diverse backgrounds, and helping students with child and adolescent development.

Some common Drama Teacher duties and responsibilities include:

  • Creating lesson plans in accordance of a student's needs and abilities

  • Teaching students about plays and about the history of drama

  • Organizing and managing the learning environment

  • Helping to develop competencies and skills in students so that they can function successfully in society

  • Technical tasks such as helping students assemble and manage sets and lighting

Drama Teacher Skills

Being a Drama Teacher means working with students of all ages. As such, Drama Teachers should be patient and understanding, especially when a student is not living up to her potential. Since Drama Teachers help out in all stages of a school production, they must be able to know how to juggle many tasks at once and know how to manage stress. In addition Drama Teachers should be pleasant and possess the ability to hop on any task that needs to be done when things start getting busy. They also need to be flexible and have determination and lots of energy, especially when it comes to working with students who might be rowdy and unmanageable.

Other key Drama Teacher skills include:

  • An endless well of creativity

  • Communication and interpersonal skills

  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment

How Do You Become a Drama Teacher?

Education and Training

There are different paths in which to become a Drama Teacher. If you teach in a community center, you probably only need to have some experience in theater. But if you teach in a school setting, which is where you’ll typically find a Drama Teacher, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree, and the field in which you study should be in the theater or the performing arts. You should also have a teaching certificate from the state in which you plan to teach.

Experience working in a community theater, including acting, and volunteering to direct productions for a local church or community center, will give you an edge when it comes to land a job. So the more work experience you have, typically with young children, tweens and teens, the more appealing will you be during the hiring process.

Finding a Job

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for Secondary School Teachers – a category that includes Drama Teachers – is increasing as the population grows. This projected 6 percent growth will amount for 28,400 teacher openings through 2024, although many of these may go to professionals who teach more standardized subjects, such as math and English.

Any successful Drama Teacher job search begins with crafting a high-quality resume that highlights your skills and experience. For guidance on creating a resume, take a look at JobHero’s library of Drama Teacher resume samples.

Once your resume is in order, search jobs online for Drama Teacher opportunities. As you look for openings, be sure to leverage your professional network, including people you met in school or through an internship.

When applying for Drama Teacher jobs, write a cover letter that expresses your interest in the position and highlights your qualifications and what you will bring to the role. Need some cover letter inspiration? Check out our library of cover letter samples.

How Much Do Drama Teachers Get Paid?

Secondary School Teachers, including Drama Teachers, are typically paid an annual salary, with the median annual wage in the United States being $57,200. The lowest-paid Drama Teachers makes about $37,800, while the highest-paid can earn more than $91,000.

Top 10 States for Drama Teacher  Salary

Drama Teachers in the following states make the highest median annual wage in the U.S.

    Alaska

    $76,600

    New York

    $76,600

    Connecticut

    $75,300

    California

    $74,800

    Massachusetts

    $71,600

    New Jersey

    $71,600

    Rhoda Island

    $67,900

    Illinois

    $66,300

    Washington

    $64,000

    Maryland

    $63,700

    Drama Teacher Resources

    We put together this list of additional resources to help you as you continue to explore a career as a Drama Teacher.

    Professional Groups

    The Educational Theatre Association (EdTA)
    A national nonprofit organization with a mission to shape lives through theatre education

    American Alliance for Theatre and Education
    An organization made up K-16 educators and theatre professionals dedicated to the promotion of theatre education

    Association for Theatre in Higher Education
    The professional membership organization for higher education theatre programs and the individuals working in them

    Arts Education Partnership
    Provides information and updates about current and emerging arts education policies, issues, and events at the national, state, and local levels

    On the Web

    Theatrefolk
    Lesson plans for Drama Teachers

    Drama Start
    Aims to share ideas for teaching drama to young children from the age of three to eight

    The Drama Teacher
    Packed with resources for drama and theatre teachers at all levels of education

    Drama Teacher Books

    Teaching Drama: The Essential Handbook
    A resource with 16 ready-to-go lesson plans that will provide teachers with the tools they need to build their kids into incredible actors

    The Drama Teacher's Survival Guide: A Complete Handbook for Play Direction
    Provides detailed, step-by-step information, examples and suggestions about how to direct a school drama program

    The Drama Teacher's Survival Guide #2
    Activities, exercises, and techniques for the theatre classroom. This is follow up to the wildly popular Drama Teacher's Survival Guide.