Perform astonishing feats high in the air.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
Highly Variable

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Aerialists do?

When you’re an Aerialist, you’re as close as it gets to a human bird. Typically employed by circuses, but also by other performance groups — including aerial troupes, variety shows, and even dance companies — you’re an airborne Acrobat who’s paid to entertain live audiences by performing death-defying stunts high above the ground.

Your potential talents are many: You may be a Trapeze Artist, in which case you use a swinging trapeze (a short horizontal bar that hangs high above the ground from ropes or metal straps) to perform aerial tricks and stunts — including flips, somersaults, and contortions — by yourself, with a partner, or with a group. You may be a Tightrope Walker, in which case you perform — walking, juggling, or even bicycling — on a thin wire or rope that’s suspended high above the ground. Or, perhaps you’re an Aerial Silks Performer, in which case you perform using a special type of fabric that you climb and then use to wrap, suspend, swing, and spiral your body into various contortions.

No matter what type of Aerialist you are, doing your job well and safely requires tremendous strength, immense flexibility, flawless agility, spot-on showmanship, and, most important, a fearless disposition. After all, what goes up eventually must come down!

Everybody dreams of flying. They turn T-shirts into capes, flap their arms like wings, and jump off of beds and even roofs. But the frustrating reality is: Human beings can’t fly. Unless they’re Aerialists, that is.

Should I be an Aerialist?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • High Achiever: You love the challenge of tackling difficult work.

  • Also known as: Illusionist, Pantomimist

    How to become an Aerialist

    Most Aerialists have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Bachelor's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9cakac&chl=no+college+%2860%25%29|certificate+%2828%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2810%25%29||doctorate+%282%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,60,60
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