10 Best Acting Schools in New York | 2023 Best Rankings

There are several alternatives available to anyone who wants to pursue a profession as an actor, and such an aspirant may require attending one of the best acting schools in New York City. 

They can be prominent performers in musical theater and serious productions. Alternatively, they can light up large and tiny television or movie screens. 

Even the biggest celebrity must start someplace, and that place doesn’t always have to be amid the glittering lights of New York.

New York City is the ideal location for performers to access their way into any of the best acting schools in New York to hone their skills because it is the home of Broadway and most of the major television studios. 

And those who come to learn have many options, from private tutors to lecture classes in a state school through any of the best acting schools in New York. 

Therefore, this article will consider all it takes to be in any acting and state the best acting schools in New York.

How Much Are Acting Classes in New York?

You want to work in acting, then. You could cross your fingers and hope to be spotted by a willing casting director immediately. Still, chances are you’ll need assistance, whether from acting classes, seminars, or private acting lessons. 

Don’t feel you have to restrict your search to one area of the country because there are excellent possibilities all over the country, even if there are many prominent programs concentrated in and around New York and Los Angeles. 

The cost of an acting education should be the deciding factor.

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How Much Do Acting Classes Cost?

Acting classes typically cost between $150 to $2,000, though this range can be significantly affected by factors, including location, class size, and the instructor’s reputation. 

In Los Angeles and New York City, group acting courses normally cost between $20 to $80 per hour. 

Outside of those significant markets, that range largely applies. For instance, the San Antonio-based Texas Actors Workshop charges $180 for four sessions; Drama Inc. in Atlanta charges $425 for six weeks of on-camera training, and the Portland Actors Conservatory charges $250 for a scene study course.

Going through this method has many advantages, including giving you considerably more control over the scheduling and length of your training and the expense of each session.

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How Much Do Acting Coaches Cost?

According to T. Schreiber Studio in New York (T. Schreiber charges $80 to $180 for private sessions), an acting teacher normally charges between $50 and $300 per hour. 

Private coaching sessions are available at Margie Haber Studio for $130 per hour for studio members and $180 per hour for non-members. 

Private coaching is available from The Acting Studio in-person and online for $95 per hour or $425 for a 5-session package.

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Acting in New York Vs. Los Angeles

Although Los Angeles is the nation’s film and television industry’s epicenter, stage players have greater chances in New York City.

For many actors, choosing which coast will best fit their pursuit of an acting profession is one of the most difficult decisions they have to make. The more individuals you consult regarding Los Angeles vs. New York City, the less certain you are.

Ultimately, it comes down to whether you have the best chance of fulfilling your goals as an actor in New York City or Los Angeles.

Of course, it never hurts to be diligent in your research and consider the pros and cons of each market.

You Should Read: 10 Best Acting Schools in Vancouver | Best Rankings

New York City

The Pros

One of the world’s most dynamic and distinctive cities in New York. There is a never-ending supply of inspiration available.

Millions of ambitious people living in NYC strive to be the greatest in their respective areas. In this town, complacency is not an option that may inspire you in constructive ways.

It’s simple to uncover opportunities to improve your craft. Somewhere in the city, there is always reading, workshop, play, or student film in progress.

Community is already present across the highly populated metropolis, making the formation of creative coalitions simpler.

The theater capital of the world is still New York. Talented writers are telling innovative and engaging stories in dimly lit black box theaters and temporary artist spaces well beyond the flashing lights of Broadway.

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The Cons

  • Living in New York City is affordable, and deciding to settle in the Big Apple is challenging. Even though New York City is a fantastic place, everything about it is more complicated: the weather, the hectic pace of daily life, and the cost of living.
  • Every year, they film several films and episodic television shows in New York but keep in mind that it is still a theater town. New York might not be ideal if television or movies are your only interests.
  • Depending on your objectives, you can feel that the New York market has peaked. One can only make so many appearances on “Law & Order.” Although pilots are frequently filmed here, there aren’t as many opportunities due to the small number of projects.

Los Angeles

The Pros

  • The amount of TV and movie production in L.A. dwarfs that in NYC. If Hollywood is your first passion, you should probably move your next mailing address to Los Angeles.
  • Los Angeles has much more to offer than just casting calls; it is extremely diversified and exciting. It is much more intriguing than it is given credit for. Contrary to popular belief, the Red Cat and Pasadena Playhouse are just a couple of the respectable and noteworthy theaters in and around the city.
  • Even though it might not seem like a big selling point, sunshine and gorgeous beaches can promote better mental health. Without a doubt, you must put in a lot of effort to succeed in Los Angeles, but with caution.

The Cons

  • Community. That word is used over again. You must have a car in Los Angeles. The two of you will become fast friends, so I recommend a list of excellent audiobooks and a cozy driver’s seat. Contrary to New York, there is a community here, but you must look for it.
  • Your auditions will be scattered out because Los Angeles is so big. I’ve gone on auditions in Brentwood, West Hollywood, and Culver City. You will need to allow yourself more time than you think to go to each audition, unlike New York, where many of your auditions are frequently within a seven or eight-block radius.
  • In Los Angeles, many more projects are being shot, but there are also many more actors. The number of submissions for a straightforward breakdown can be in the thousands, like a co-starring part. It cannot be easy to stand out if you don’t work with a top-tier agency. Even then, there is no assurance you will be noticed.

What Are The Top 10 Best Acting Schools in New York City?

1. New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts

The NYCDA, located in Manhattan’s Chelsea/Flatiron neighborhood, trains students in the Meisner Technique, which stresses emotional preparation, repetition, and improvisation to prepare them for film and television acting careers.

Even though NYCDA has 257 students, a small student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1, and a 92 percent acceptance rate, most people who desire to study there will have the opportunity. The $32,742 tuition might sound a little steep, but 100% of students receive some financial aid.

With a faculty that includes film and television stars such as Becky London, Neal Lerner, and Lane Binkley, the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts is uniquely positioned to train the next generation of acting greats hence the reason for its being a part of the best acting schools in New York.

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Check another best place to study; Best Acting Schools in Florida

2. Pace University

Despite being founded in 1906 as a business school, Pace University has grown to become one of the best acting schools in New York.

When the well-known interview program Inside the Actors Studio started filming in the school’s Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Pace’s acting program gained popularity. 

The acting department at Pace University bills itself as “both a loving and challenging atmosphere,” taught by specialists like Julie Lawrence-Edsell and Jorge Luis Cacheiro.

The distinctive International Performance Ensemble (IPE), which teaches students ensemble theatrical techniques and offers chances to study in the UK, Brazil, and Thailand, is of particular appeal.

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3. Cuny Brooklyn School

Brooklyn College, a division of the City University of New York, has earned the moniker “poor man’s Harvard” thanks to its alumni, including Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Frank McCourt and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.

But its BFA in Acting program deserves praise, having produced artists like Obba Babatunde, James Franco, and Jimmy Smits. Due to the intense competition, only 10–12 students are accepted into the program each year. 

However, those who succeed receive individualized training and can appear in 8–10 concerts produced each year.

Brooklyn College teachers, MFA directing candidates, and guest directors are among the directors. This has made the cuny Brooklyn school rank among the best acting schools in New York.

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4. New York Film Academy

The New York Film Academy, established in 1992 by producer Jerry Sherlock, educates more than 5,000 students annually, regardless of their degree of experience. NYFA places more emphasis on real experience than theory, which is more reason for its position among the best acting schools in New York.

 With working professionals on its faculty, including actors Bill Duke and Matthew Modine and directors Nag Ashwin and Michael Zelniker, NYFA aims to place its students in front of the camera and on stage as quickly as feasible. To make and display their work, NYFA collaborates with Brooklyn, Whitney, MOMA, and even NASA to give its students this experience. 

Their special two-year musical theater program stages two main stage productions every year, equipping graduates with “numerous on-camera clips, a voiceover reel, and extensive on-screen experience.”

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5. The New School

One of the nation’s most cutting-edge and esteemed universities, The New School, is ranked #1 on Niche’s list of Best College Locations in America and #6 on their list of Most Diverse Colleges in America. The School of Drama at The New School guarantees “rigorous training” centered on “authenticity of expression.”

The BFA in the Dramatic Arts program at The New School gives students acting skills for the stage and the camera and culminates in a senior industry presentation. To improve their on-camera and stage performances, students in the three-year MFA in Contemporary Theater and Performance get specialized education.

Actors Mark Ruffalo and John Turturro, as well as playwrights Jon Robin Baitz and John Patrick Shanley, have all been artists-in-residence at the New School in the past, ranking as one of the best acting schools in New York.

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6. Marymount Manhattan College

The BFA in Acting major at Marymount Manhattan is a course of study for students who want in-depth instruction in various acting techniques, from modern theater to Shakespearean drama.

The program’s focal point is “acting, voice and speech, and movement training,” It concludes with the fourth year of study in Advanced Topics.

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7. New York University Tisch School of Arts

It takes pride in combining “rigorous conservatory training with a comprehensive and empowering academic curriculum,” according to the NYU Tisch Drama program. This is a strong assertion, but the school’s excellent list of graduates demonstrates that they can support it. 

Any program deserving of praise turns forth performers as different as Rachel Bloom, Alec Baldwin, Rul Esparza, and Lady Gaga. One of the nation’s most stunning institutions, Tisch, is a part of a college that U.S. News & World Report ranks #30 in National Universities and #30 among Most Innovative Schools. 

Unsurprisingly, just 17% of applicants are accepted into the highly prestigious school. However, those who are accepted will have the chance to learn from a legend. Therefore, this university ranks among the best acting schools in New York.

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8. Columbia University 

The sole Ivy League institution on this list and one of the most prestigious universities in the world are Columbia University. However, its acting program is a cut above the rest.

Columbia University provides aspiring actors with a solid basis for their professions with instructors that includes casting director James Calleri, Hollywood screenwriter David Klass, and award-winning writer James Schamus. It’s understandable why it is placed the institution sixth on its list of the nation’s Best Performing Arts Colleges, thereby making a way among the best acting schools in New York.

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9. Juilliard School

When it comes to the arts, Julliard needs no introduction. For over 100 years, the private conservatory has trained the world’s most talented musicians, actors, and dancers.

Despite that sterling reputation, Julliard prioritizes expression and vulnerability, encouraging students to share “intellectual and imaginative daring, generosity of spirit, and a fierce commitment to truthful play.” The school offers a BFA and an MFA in Acting, each consisting of four years. 

Undergrads take classes in specialized acting and liberal arts during their first three years, with their fourth years building to a performance presentation.

Those in the Master’s program take unique drama courses for their first two years and give performances in their third and fourth years.

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10. American University Dramatic Academy

One of the best acting schools in New York is the American Musical Dramatic Academy, a conservatory that guarantees small class sizes and daily in-studio rehearsal.

AMDA, established in 1968 by famous filmmaker Philip Burton, has built a reputation for producing performers who represent their time. Actress and musician Janelle Monáe, Paul Sorvino and Anthony Ramos, are all former students. 

Despite having a 30.8 percent acceptance rate, AMDA still has an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Because of the smaller class numbers, every acting student receives enough one-on-one time with instructors, maximizing their skills and potential for career prospects.

Students in the acting program get the opportunity to learn from teachers, including Sheila Head, Gail Dennison, and Christopher Giordano.

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What are the Best Acting Classes in New York?

  • HB Studio
  • Kimball Studio
  • Michael Howard Studio
  • T. Schreiber Studio
  • The Barrow Group
  • Ted Bardy Studio
  • Abrons Art Studio
  • The New York Performing Arts Academy 
  • Actors New York Connnection 
  • The New YorkActing School For Film And Television

Who are the Acting Agencies in New York City?

For sure, there are acting agencies in New York City. Below are the best acting agencies you can find in the city of New York;

  • Abrams Artist’s Agency
  • Telsey + company
  • Donna Grossman Casting
  • Grant Wilfey Casting
  • Backstage Casting
  • Ford Models
  • Steinberg Talent Management
  • The Roster Agency
  • LA Talent Agency
  • Boon Models

Private Education Vs Public Education

Public and private acting schools cost very different amounts of money, especially if you live in the state.

According to research from 2021, public university undergraduate tuition was $9,580 on average per year. This amount grew to $33,150 per year for a private school.

Even for out-of-state students, public universities are often less expensive (but it does make sense to try and become a resident, if possible.)

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), likely the top public university with an acting school, charges in-state students $13,000 while charging out-of-state students $43,000.

When compared to top-ranked private institutions like Carnegie Mellon ($51,000), Brown ($58,000), or NYU-Tisch ($59,000), the amount seems exorbitant.

Read Also: Best Acting Schools in California

Traditional College Vs Acting Conservatory

Some acting conservatories provide programs in addition to conventional four-year institutions and universities. In essence, these schools are entirely focused to educating professionals in the arts, from mastering the finer points of the trade to understanding the business of acting. 

Before enrolling in a conservatory, there are many things to consider, such as the variable time commitments and the lack of a well-rounded education, but the expense should come first.

For a sample of what to expect, here are tuition estimates for some of the top acting conservatories in the country: 

  • The Juilliard School: $51,230
  • The American Academy of Dramatic Arts: $37,575 
  • New York Film Academy: $18,653
  • The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts: $35,000
  • The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute (1-year-program): $19,650 domestic, $19,750 international
  • Stella Adler Academy of Acting & Theatre: $8,500


A great deal of information is covered on the acting schools in New York. We went deep into the readily available schools and classes that could be undertaken to become an actor.

We went further to compare the acting schools in New York City to that of Las Vegas, as well as discussing the pros and cons of both locations. This would enable people to compare and contrast while making their decisions.

Also, a vivid description of the costs and prices of these schools was discussed to enable an appropriate budget to be sketched.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to move to NYC to train in the Conservatory?

Nope!  You can train from anywhere in the world. Distance learning is allowed for all Conservatory students. Then, we’ll move to a hybrid learning setup in the spring semester. If you’d like to move to NYC and finish the year in person – you can! If you prefer to stick with distance learning – you can! Also, arrangements can be made for students who would like to be in NYC for just part of the spring semester. 

Do I need a high school diploma to apply?

All applicants must have a high school diploma or its nationally recognized equivalent.

Do you have an age limit for applicants?

We’re open to all ages. What makes an artist ready for training cannot be predicted by age or experience.

Do I need a high school diploma to apply?

All applicants must have a high school diploma or its nationally recognized equivalent.

Upon completion of the Conservatory, what will I receive?

Conservatory graduates leave with a Diploma in Acting, a professional actor reel, and ongoing mentorship from our unparalleled faculty and staff of industry professionals.

How and when do I pay the tuition?

Students in the Conservatory program pay their tuition in installments.


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