Last Updated on December 27, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Do you like to make people laugh and share your laughter with others? Do you enjoy working with children, adults, hospital patients, or a large audience? Do you like to dress up and work with a variety of props? If so, then you might be well-suited for your professional clown job. And how do you do it? Stop playing the clown and read this article.

How to get a Clown license?

So, if you would like to be a professional clown and make a career out of this, you will discover that surprisingly, there aren’t certain requirements or licenses you will have to go through or pay for. Anyone who can act and is outgoing can become a clown because there are no college requirements. There is no clown school or training required. Though, it may be helpful to attend a school or college if you aspire to become a good clown.

For instance, it may be much easier for you to work as a clown if you have some training in body paint and makeup and performing on a scene. You can learn these skills at various workshops, performance schools, and theaters.

You might also like our articles about the cost of a party clown, a Halloween costume, or a birthday party at AC Moore.

On the other hand, you may want to have a more formal education such as a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts or Visual and Performing arts. Though, these are designed for those who would like to work in the movie and theater industry and not as a clown.

Also, you may need a public performance license if you would like to perform in public music you did not write. However, the institution you are performing at is responsible for this license in most cases.

You will have to follow some steps in order to become a good and appreciated clown.

Create a character

First of all, you will need to purchase your stage props. The materials you use depend on what kind of clown you want to be. However, there are some general props that are used by many clowns, such as juggling balls, balloons to make animals from balloons, props for magic tricks if you do tricks, and any other props which you can think of. You can start with the traditional tools and become more original as you discover who your inner clown is. Prepare your music if it’s part of your number.

If ventriloquism is part of your number, then get a mannequin.

Decide if you want a partner. Most clowns work for themselves, but some of them are part of a duo, a trio, or even an entertainment company. If you want a partner, or if you want to be someone’s partner, then see if you can find a clown friend to befriend.

Learn how to dress, make-up and face-paint

Get yourself a clown costume. You can buy authentic clown costumes from clown suppliers, but they can be a bit pricey, so you can start with some colorful clothes, Halloween clown costumes, a set of colorful pajamas, or any fun-looking items you can find at Goodwill or at a thrift store. Expensive items may come later, once you’re better established, so don’t worry about them yet.

A colorful and fun clown wig can’t be missing from the clown costume. Ideally, they have abundant, curly hair and are of one or more very striking colors.

You will need a clown costume, along with a pair of large and flexible shoes. These shoes can actually be the most expensive part of a clown costume.

Make up. Contrary to popular belief, not all clowns wear face paint. The clown is a style of comedy, not a style of makeup. Most clowns use greasy paint for their face, as this type does not wash as easily as water-based paint or Halloween paint. If you wear makeup, there are a variety of makeup styles you can try.

Part of your number may also include painting children’s faces.

Plan your show

Get an idea of the major comedy points you want to include and work out the lead-up and other parts of the comedy. Thinking about the issues that need to be addressed can be a good start, for example, a hat that doesn’t sit on your head or a music stand that keeps flipping. It’s almost like a play. If you are very determined, write your script before rehearsal. Here are some things that clowns often include in their shows:

  • making balloon animals;
  • imitation;
  • jugglers;
  • storytelling;
  • ventriloquism;

You can also add magic to your repertoire. If you want to be more of a magician-clown, then you will have to strive to learn a few easy magic tricks and improve yourself to become an all-star magician. Take a training course for magicians if you are really serious about this aspect of the profession.

Just keep in mind that if you want to be a magic clown, you’ll need more props, such as a top hat, a wand, a shiny handkerchief, and so on, and it can get expensive.

Set up a Business

Clown CostumeIf you would like to work as a freelancer or a self-employed person, you will have to register your business by October of that tax year. This legal process is affordable and straightforward in any state from America.

The majority of the clowns choose a Limited Liability Corporation or a Sole Proprietorship. There are advantages and disadvantages for each of these. For example, the complexity of taxes is reduced with the Sole Proprietorship, while with the LLC your risks are limited. Some of the things you will need in order to open your own business include:

  • the registration fee for the state, that would be anywhere between $45 and $520, depending on the state;
  • a valid ID;
  • a federal registration for Tax ID purposes or if you would like to work with employees or partners;
  • the proof of business insurance;
  • a name for your business, that you should register with your local state business authority.

Take into consideration joining a professional organization

It may be helpful to join a professional organization if you want to become a successful clown.  Members of such organization have many benefits. For instance, World Clown Association offers a yearly convention with networking, education, talks and demonstrations. Also, it offers a scholarship to approved clown colleges and schools. For instance, its B-Dino Scholarship has a value of up to $500 and can be used at the following clown education organizations: TNT University, American Clown Academy, Next Step, Arizona Fire & Burn Educators, New York Goofs, Celebration Barn, Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp and Clown Camp.

However, the scholarship is available only for those members who have been in a good standing for at least two years before application.

Clown Requirements

If you want to be a clown there are no formal requirements. Though, you must register your business in the state where you are performing and get paid, in case you earn money as a clown. This is available in every state from America.

Also, it would be good for you to learn and develop skills such as acting well, managing the audience, using different types of humor and understanding roles and characters.

How much do clowns earn?

As a clown you can be employed at a prestigious circus or work a as freelancer and party entertainer. So, the average salaries are variable and depend on your networking and marketing skills. Also, you will have to choose between being paid per day or per hour.

However, a self-employed clown would earn anywhere between $35,500 and $86,500, with an average of $53,000 per year.

If you want to work as clown, you can charge anywhere between $15 and more than $150 per hour, depending on your skills, demand and availability.

The advantages of a clown career

There are many benefits of building a clown career. Some of these include:

  • working in various environments;
  • working for yourself and only when you want;
  • this is challenging as you have to improve your skills and practicing constantly;
  • you make people happy and this is high-rewarding.


Before you try to find a job, you need to figure out what type of clown best suits your personality. This can determine how you will set up your routine and what kind of clients you will work with.

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