Some young ladies with stars in their eyes assume that they'll get into the entertainment industry and start making millions like the top actresses they see in major motion pictures. Before you seriously pursue a job as an actress, you're wise to investigate the more realistic average salary that most actresses commonly earn.
Getting a Job
Getting work as an actress requires a significant amount of skill and sometimes formal training. Actresses must attend casting calls or work with agents who can refer them to potential jobs. Though some actresses achieve success due to natural talent, in many cases, casting and hiring agents only take them seriously if they have training from a drama or arts program in college or attended an accredited acting school. Most professional actresses are members of the Screen Actors Guild, or SAG, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Actor's Equity Association or a similar organization.
The average salary for actresses is $28.44 per hour as of May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- the Bureau combines data for both male and female actors. The estimate is on an hourly basis because, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed, it is a position where the individual does not usually work all year or even on a full-time basis.
The highest paid actresses are in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Glendale, California. They earn an average of $40.01 per hour. If you're looking to make the most money possible as an actress, the top paying states are California, New York and Texas -- specifically the Dallas area. Hollywood in California is a mecca of sorts for film stars while New York City draws many high paying Broadway actresses.
Top Pay and Other Considerations
The highest paid actresses make tens of millions of dollars per year. A 2009 Forbes survey found that the highest paid actress earned $27 million per year. As is the case with many other professions, top paid actors on average make significantly higher wages than actresses. In 2009, the top paid actors earned $393 million while actresses made $183 million according to Forbes.