Most professional actors and actresses that work on film or on the stage have received extensive training at accredited acting colleges. An acting college may be an entire school dedicated to instructing hopeful performers, or a specialized division of a university or community college providing degrees in theater. Choosing the best acting colleges entails researching the credentials of a program and teachers, determining the types of programs offered, and examining the success of previous graduates. Completion of a respected acting program can be a very influential segment of a new actor's resume and portfolio.
A person who is exploring different acting colleges should first determine whether or not certain schools have been accredited. Most acting programs at community colleges and public universities are accredited by governing boards that require them to meet high academic standards. Professional organizations, such as the National Association of Schools of Theatre in the United States, provide accreditation to independent acting colleges that offer quality education and performance opportunities to students. Information about a school's credentials can usually be obtained by speaking with admissions counselors or other staff on campus.
Once accreditation has been confirmed, a prospective actor can look into curricula that best suit his or her aspirations. Some schools focus more on film production, while others concentrate on preparing individuals for stage acting. A person who hopes to act on Broadway, then, would likely choose a school that is more geared toward stage productions. Many independent schools award specialized certificates or diplomas upon graduation, while universities frequently offer bachelor's and master's of fine arts degrees for successful students. An individual can usually get a clear idea of the type of curricula and degrees offered by perusing college brochures and online resources.
Equally important are the credentials, resumes, and specialties of teachers and other faculty members. An experienced, respected acting teacher can greatly influence the success of his or her students. Knowledgeable school personnel ensure that new actors develop all of the skills necessary to work professionally. As with the curriculum itself, teachers' preferences for film or stage acting should be taken into consideration.
The success of recent graduates can be a good indicator of whether certain acting colleges are worthwhile. Schools that consistently produce well-prepared actors who enjoy many job opportunities are usually considered to be the best. If such information is not expressly stated in brochures or on an acting school's website, an individual can ask admissions counselors about the likelihood of finding work after graduation.