How Much Do Voice Actors Get Paid? Average Salary

How Much Do Voice Actors Get Paid
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How much do voice actors get paid? Of course, there is no simple answer to this. In the first place,  what you get paid as a voice actor is based on the sort of work, the size of the production, your expertise, and a variety of other things.

If you excel in character voices or simply have a natural pleasing voice, then you stand a chance to thrive in this industry with a lot of work though.

In this article, we have provided you with an estimated average salary of a voice actor based on experience, non-broadcast, television, and radio; the highest paying cities for voice actors Jobs, and the top 10 highest paid voice actors in the United States.

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What Does a Voice Actor Do?

A voice actor uses his voice to tell a story in a film, documentary, commercial, or live event. For each project, the voice actor generally read from a script. Each job requires you to read a script in a variety of ways.

While it may appear to be an easy career, it is one of the most difficult sectors to break into. However, it is not impossible.

You can engage in a variety of voice-over jobs. This decision influences your voice actor’s salary.

What are the Basics of Voice Acting?

Voice actors read and record scripts for cartoon characters, commercials, commentary, audiobooks, e-learning videos, and other films.

If you want to become a professional voice actor, you’ll need to have clear diction, good tone modulation that can suit diverse range of emotions.

How Much Does a Voice Actor Make?

Voice actors can make as low as $13,500 to as high as $211,500 a year. According to ZipRecruiter, Here are some expected range:

  • Entry-level voice actors: $13,500 to $30,000 per year
  • Experienced voice actors: $107,500 per year
  • Senior-level voice actors: $187,500 – $211,500 per year

How Much Does a Voice Actor Make on Average?

The average yearly salary for a Voice Actor in the United States is $81,052 per year in 2022 according to ZipRecruiter.

For voice actors that work out to about $38.97 per hour, this equates to $1,558 each week or $6,754 per month.

What is the Voice Actor Salary for Television?

A 30-second voice-over for a TV commercial might pay close to $1,000. A local ad, on the other hand, may offer less than $50 to a few hundred dollars. The pay is also determined by the size of the project and the size of the audience it is expected to reach.

How Much is Voice Actor Salary for Non-Broadcast Work?

Audiobooks, on the other hand, are some of the highest-paying ventures, albeit they may also be time-consuming to finish. A voice actor’s pay for an audiobook typically ranges from $2,000 to $5,000 for someone with experience in the area.

Clients who provide non-broadcast work, such as explanatory films, will pay you based on the length and word count of the screenplay. 

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How Much is Voice Actor Salary for Radio in 2022?

Expect to get paid $35 to $50 for a brief radio commercial for a small business. You may charge up to $400 for a half-minute commercial for a major brand, minus use costs.

How Much is the Median Voice Actor Salary in 2022?

The median voice actor’s pay is $31,400
The bottom 25% of voice actors earn $21,700 and above
The bottom 10% of voice actors earn $18,390 and above

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How Much Do Voice Actors Get Paid Per Job in 2022?

Voice actors are paid on a per-project or per-job basis. See examples below:

  • Local market radio program: $35
  • 15-second recording for a small website: $150
  • A 30-second large market radio advertisement (plus usage costs): $250 – $350
  • An audiobook: $2000$5000

What is the Word Count and Duration for Voice Actors?

Knowing the word count for a long-form narration will dramatically ease the process, and the client will know what to expect if more is added to the script.

Word Count Formula

Here’s an example of this formula:

Word Count / Words Spoken Per Minute = Total Minutes Required for Recording

Total Minutes / Hour Length (60) = Total Number of Hours to Record

Total Hours X Hourly Rate = Recording Cost

Post Production price = Price per hour to edit and complete X Hours to edit

Total fees = recording fee + post-production fee

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How Much Do Voice Actors Get Paid Per Episode?

When it comes to delivering voice-over for cartoons and animation, the industry-standard ranges from $100 for a brief, 15-second animation to $10,000 for the main part in an animated short. Expectations will be considerably greater if you are cast as the lead in an animated feature film.

How to Set Your Voice Actor Salary?

While quoting for salary as a voice actor, one of the first thing you should take into consideration is that the salary is worth the time and resources the job would require. You also don’t want to end up spending more that you’ll make.

In addition, note that your voice actor salary will increase as you gain more experience. So, if you’re just starting out, you might not want to set a very high price.

However, once you become an experienced in-demand voice over actor, this will certainly change. At this point you can begin to quote higher rates.

How Can I Increase My Earning Potential as a Voice Actor?

Just like any other money making potential, you have to face your voice acting career with an entrepreneurial mind.

This means, you have to network, market and sell your services. So the following are tips that can help you boost your earning potential:

  • Opt for both small and big jobs: don’t fold your hands until you land big roles. You can take many smaller ones to boost a steady income and your porfolio.
  • Stay Open to Opportunities: reach out to potential employers like radio, T.V, and film making establishments. Also apply for various projects like audio books, tv, radio, and documentaries. You don’t always have to stick to one
  • Know when to make a raise: Yes, at some point you’ll have to increase how much you charge. It’s important to compare what’s obtainable in the industry at the time before making such move.
  • Offer Valuable Contents Online: You can market your skills more by using your voice to add value to people. Just figure out what you love and the media that best suits you. Think of Tiktok, YouTube, and the rest.

Top 10 Highest Paid Voice Actors in the U.S.

The majority of the artists on this list of the top paid voice actors are The Simpsons voice actors.

#10: Mike Judge

Mike Judge is a multi-skilled actor, animator, producer, director, and highly accomplished voice actor. Beavis and Butt-Head were created entirely by him. He has also collaborated on a number of other animated television programs.

Mike Judge has a net worth of $75 million and is now ranked tenth among the world’s top-paid voice actors.

Mike Judge’s Voiced CharactersMovies and Shows
BeavisBeavis and Butt-Head Movie (TBA Movie)
Butt-HeadBeavis and Butt-Head Movie (TBA Movie)
ArchieNerdland
DeadosR.I.P.D. (2013 Movie)
BeavisJackass 3D (2010 Movie)
Butt-HeadJackass 3D (2010 Movie)
Hank HillThe Cleveland Show (2009 TV Show)
Gerald GoodeThe Goode Family (2009 TV Show)
Alien 2Aqua Teen Hunger Force (2000 TV Show)
Hank HillKing of the Hill (2000 Video Game)
Jeff BoomhauerKing of the Hill (2000 Video Game)
Kenny McCormickSouth Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999 Movie)
Tom AndersoBeavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996 Movie)
Mr. Van DriessenBeavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996 Movie)
Principal McVickerBeavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996 Movie)
Hank HillThe Simpsons (1989 TV Show)
God Channel AnnouncerAdult Swim 
ShabuWill Rogers Institute 
List of Mike Judge’s Voice Movies

#9:  Nancy Cartwright

She has spoken during the course of her 30-year career. From Richie Rich to The Simpsons, she has played a variety of characters.

However, Nancy Cartwright is also an artist and sculptor. 

Nancy Cartwright’s Voiced CharactersMovies and Shows
Gloria Richie Rich
Chuckie FinsterRugrats (2021) (2021 TV Show)
Bart SimpsonThe Simpsons (2020 Short)
Ralph WiggumRalph Wiggum
Rufus Kim Possible (2019 Movie)
GoldilocksThe 7D (2014 TV Show)
Bart SimpsonFOX 25th Anniversary Special (2012 TV Show)
Chum ChumFanboy & Chum Chum (2009 TV Show)
Chum ChumRandom! Cartoons (2008 TV Show)
Kid 1 (Fanboy and Chum Chum)Random! Cartoons (2008 TV Show)
Todd DarlingThe Replacements (2006 TV Show)
ChuckieRugrats Tales from the Crib: Snow White (2005 Movie)
Bart SimpsonAmerican Dad! (2005 TV Show)
Chip KellyThe Kellys (2005 TV Show)
PhantasmoLilo & Stitch (2003 TV Show)
Earl SquirrelTimber Wolf (2001 TV Show)
Megan AlmanGod, The Devil, and Bob (2000 TV Show)
Princess LuluMike, Lu & Og (1999 TV Show)
MindyAnimaniacs: Wakko’s Wish (1999 Movie)
Melissa ScreechToonsylvania (1998 TV Show)
Putt-PuttPutt-Putt Enters the Race (1998 Video Game) 
List of Nancy Cartwright’s Voice Movies

#8: Yeardley Smith

She has been the person behind Lisa Simpson.  Despite earning an estimated $85 million from her career, voice acting was not her first choice.

But, in an interview with The Guardian, she stated that she is doing the finest job she has ever done.

Lisa SimpsonThe Simpsons (2020 Short), FOX 25th Anniversary Special (2012 TV Show), The Simpsons Ride (2008 Ride/Attraction), The Simpsons Game (2007 Video Game), The Simpsons Movie (2007 Movie), The Simpsons Bowling (2000 Video Game), Family Guy (1999 TV Show), The Simpsons Cartoon Studio (1996 Video Game) and all other Simpsons productions. 
Cecilia NuthatchWe’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993 Movie)
Lisa Jr, Maggie Simpson, Yeardley Smith, LisabellaThe Simpsons (1989 TV Show)
Yeardley Smith’s Voice Movies

#7: Julie Kavner

Kavner has been a voice actor since the early 1970s and has an estimated net worth of $85 million.

Julie Kavner won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her role in Rhoda.

Julie Kavner’s Voiced CharactersMovies and Shows
Marge SimpsonFOX 25th Anniversary Special (2012 TV Show)
Selma Bouvier, Patty Bouvier, and Marge SimpsonThe Simpsons Ride (2008 Ride/Attraction)
MaThe Lion King (2004 Movie)
Pigeon (Female)Dr. Dolittle (1998 Movie)
Gladys Bouvier, Jacqueline BouvierThe Simpsons (1989 TV Show)
Marge SimpsonDisney Plus 
Julie Kavner‘s Voice Movies

#6: Dan Castellaneta

The Simpsons’ main voice actor is Dan Castellaneta. He’s been voicing Homer Simpson for almost 30 years.

In addition to performing, he is a fantastic scriptwriter and comedian. Dan Castellaneta is one of the world’s top-paid voice actors, with an estimated net worth of $85 million.

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Dan Castellaneta’s Voiced CharactersMovies and Shows
Homer Simpson and Barney GumbleThe Simpsons (2020 Short)
GrandpaHey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie (2017 Movie)
GenieKingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories (2008 Video Game)
Robot DevilFuturama: The Beast with a Billion Backs (2008 Movie)
Mr. Freidman, Squeaky Voiced Teen/ Jeremy Freedman, Hans Moleman, Groundskeeper Willie, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Abraham Simpson, and Homer SimpsonThe Simpsons Ride (2008 Ride/Attraction)
Earl Cartoon Network Racing (2006 Video Game)
Ramon and Elephant SealHappy Feet: The Video Game (2006 Video Game)
StretchCasper’s Scare School (2006 Movie)
Mr. Mysterio and Woodenleg WallyScooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy! (2006 Movie)
College ProfessorLoonatics Unleashed (2005 TV Show)
Nicholas LaPorte and MinisterAs Told by Ginger: The Wedding Frame (2004 Movie)
Mr. Snoots and Scarface/ Arnold WeskerThe Batman (2004 TV Show)
Martian Sage and Football Player #3Duck Dodgers (2003 TV Show)
Jonathan and Sailing InstructorRugrats: All Grown Up! (2003 TV Show)
Officer McBrideWhat’s New, Scooby-Doo? (2002 TV Show)
Mr. GeminiKim Possible (2002 TV Show)
MinisterJustice League (2001 TV Show)
Dan Castellaneta’s Voice Movies

#5: Harry Shearer

He’s a producer, a writer, a comedian, a musician, and a radio personality. As a matter of fact, Harry Shearer began working when he was a kid. In 1979, he worked as a writer for Saturday Night Live, which he described as a “living nightmare” and “not a really pleasant place to work

His net worth of $85 million makes Harry Shearer one of the top paid voice performers in the world.

Harry Shearer’s Voiced CharactersMovies and Shows
Charles Montgomery Burns, Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders, Principal Seymour Skinner, Lenny Leonard, Otto Mann, and GodThe Simpsons Game (2007 Video Game)
Dog AnnouncerChicken Little (2005 Movie)
The GeneralEdwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big (2000 Short)
Punch-ItSmall Soldiers (1998 Movie)
Dr. Zigmond Fraud Blazing Dragons: The Video Game (1996 Video Game)
HarryDr. Katz: Professional Therapist (1995 TV Show)
Net FlatAnimaniacs (1993 TV Show)
Mike and Lawrence ElkThe Jackie Bison Show (1990 TV Show)
Carl SaganMy Stepmother Is an Alien (1988 Movie)
Big Tobacco CrocodileCalifornia Department of Public Health 
Harry Shearer’s Voice Movies

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#4: Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria is ranked fourth on this list of the world’s highest-paid voice actors. Despite being a comedian, actor, and producer, Hank Azaria is most recognized for his work on The Simpson

Hank Azaria has also appeared in movies such as Godzilla and The Smurfs. With a net worth of $90 million, he is the world’s fourth-richest voice actor.

Hank Azaria’s Voiced CharactersMovies and Shows
Shellfish SheldonMack & Moxy (2016 TV Show)
GargamelThe Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow (2013 Movie)
Moe SzyslakFOX 25th Anniversary Special (2012 TV Show)
The Mighty SvenHappy Feet Two (2011 Movie)
Carlos and PhilHop (2011 Movie)
Abraham Lincoln and The ThinkerNight at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009 Movie)
Joska Immigrants (2009 Movie)
Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and Professor FrinkThe Simpsons Wrestling (2001 Video Game)
BartokBartok the Magnificent (1999 Movie)
Harold ZoidFuturama (1999 TV Show)
BartokAnastasia (1997 Movie)
ElmoWhat A Cartoon! (1995 TV Show)
Venom and Eddie BrockSpider-Man (1994) (1994 TV Show)
Chief Clancy WiggumBurger King 
Hank Azaria’s Voice Movies

#3: Seth MacFarlane

Seth MacFarlane realized he wanted to be an animator from a young age. He began painting Fred Flintstone and Woody Woodpecker when he was only 2. When he was 9 he launched his weekly comic strip.

Most of his $300 million fortune comes from animation, however, making him one of the highest-paid voice actors in the world.

Seth MacFarlane’s Voiced CharactersMovies and Shows
MikeSing (2016 Movie)
Ted and K.I.T.TTed 2 (2015 Movie)
Stewie Griffin and SeamusFamily Guy: Back to the Multiverse (2012 Video Game)
Emperor Palpatine/ Darth SidiousRobot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III (2010 TV Show)
Intelligent Smart Robotic Animated Eraser LadyThe Drawn Together Movie: The Movie! (2010 Movie)
Bob Marley, Mario, Popeye, Bob DylanSeth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy (2008 TV Show)
ManotaurYin Yang Yo! (2006 TV Show)
Stewie GriffinBones (2005 TV Show)
Wayne The Brain McClainAqua Teen Hunger Force (2000 TV Show)
SeymourFuturama (1999 TV Show)
Scott and Mr. MagicianJohnny Bravo (1997 TV Show)
Hank Azaria’s Voice Movies

#2: Trey Parker

Trey Parker is an animator first and foremost, but he is also a writer, musician, voice actor, and director. He and his pal Matt Stone co-created South Park. Indeed, Trey Parker’s ultimate source of riches has been South Park.

Trey Parker is the second-highest paid voice actor on this list, with a net worth of $600 million.

Trey Parker’s Voiced CharactersMovies and Shows
Erik Cartman, Stan Marsh, and many rolesSouth Park: Phone Destroyer (2017 Video Game)
Balthazar BrattDespicable Me 3 (2017 Movie)
The New KidEric Cartman in South Park: The Stick of Truth (2014 Video Game)
Gary, Joe, Kim jong II, Hans Blix, Carson, and Tim RobbinsTeam America: World Police (2004 Movie)
Trey Parker’s Voice Movies

#1:  Matt Stone

Team America is one of the most successful projects of Matt Stone’s effort, however, the film’s creation was extremely challenging. Matt Stone now considers himself to be an atheist and a libertarian.

With a net worth of $800 million, Matt Stone is the #1 person on the list of highest-paid voice actors.

Matt Damon’s Voiced CharactersMovies and Shows
Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, Tweek Tweak, and many other roles South Park: Phone Destroyer (2017 Video Game)
Kyle Broflovski and Kenny McCormickThe Aristocrats (2005 Movie)
Chris and Matt DamonTeam America: World Police (2004 Movie)
Bilbo BagginsSpike Video Game Awards (2003 TV Show)
Kyle BroflovskiPython Night 30 Years of Monty Python (1999 TV Show)
Commodus, Roman Crowd, Maximus’ FriendsMTV Movie Awards (1992 TV Show)
Leopold Butters StotchOmaze 
Matt Stone’s Voice Movies

6 Factors That Influence Voice Actor Salary

There are six basic factors that affect how much voice actors get paid. However, this depends on the level of experience and the broadcast.

  • Professional vs. Beginner
  • Broadcast vs. Non-Broadcast Work
  • Union vs Non-union work
  • Agency representation
  • Level of skill and niche talent
  • Market yourself

#1: Professional vs. Beginner

Perhaps it’s worth remembering that success requires a lot of hard effort and significant experience.

To put this in context, a prominent voice actor, such as Billy West, who portrays many characters on Futurama, earns around $400,000 every episode.

As a rookie, it’s ideal to be realistic. This is because you’re certain to lack industry experience while you’re just getting started in the business. So, do not expect to get paid as a professional yet.

#2: Broadcast vs. Non-Broadcast Work

The amount of money a voice actor makes from work depends on whether or not the recording is for a project that will be aired.

Nevertheless, if you give your voice to a project that will be aired, you will be compensated based on the market distribution and usage of the voice-over

Most customers that offer non-broadcast work, such as audiobooks or video game projects, pay by the word count of the script.

#3: Union vs Non-Union work

Unions do not exist in every country, but the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG AFTRA) is the union in the United States. The salary of a voice actor depends on whether the employment is a union (SAG-AFTRA) or non-union. 

Voice actors who are members of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television, and Radio Artists (ACTRA) on the other hand, are compensated in accordance with union norms.

On the contrary, The more experience you have, the more confident you will be in charging normal or higher rates. So, you can perform very well if you have an excellent business mind. In other words, your potential to get paid what you want is clearly connected to how much you prepare and what kinds of chances present themselves at any particular time.

#4: Agency Representation

Working with a reputable voiceover firm might provide you with a regular flow of well-paying gigs. 

Top voiceover agencies, such as Abrams in New York and Los Angeles, have a select group of voice actors as well as recognized visual actors that perform voiceover. 

These top agencies, on the other hand, are difficult to get into.

One of your aims as a voice actor should be to be listed by an agency. However, wait until you have at least established yourself and compiled a portfolio of work and really hot samples that you can give to them for consideration.

#5: Level of Skill and Niche Talent

Even if you have a fantastic voice, you will need to establish yourself in the industry. Likewise, how many hours you put in will determine the outcome of this procedure. Each person’s voice is distinctive and original.

Some people have a natural signature voice that suits them well to a specific form of voice-over work.

Having a niche or professional focus, on the other hand, can make a significant difference in potential earnings. As a matter of fact, many voice actors begin their careers in commercials and broad corporate voiceover work before specializing.

#6: Market Yourself

So, how much do voice actors get paid? The answer, as you are realizing, has a lot to do with how hard they train and work on building their business. Those that are ambitious and work really hard might be among the top 10% of voice-over earnings in the world.

Voiceover actors who stay focused and create a network of connections are more likely to get a job. It’s as easy as that. This is true for practically any professional in almost any industry. Marketing oneself as a voiceover actor is a continuous process.

Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for Voice Actor Jobs

We’ve discovered ten cities here in the United States where the usual Voice Actor income is higher than the national average.

CityAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
San Mateo, CA$98,082$8,174$1,886$47.15
Richmond, CA$91,701$7,642$1,763$44.09
Stamford, CT$89,294$7,441$1,717$42.93
Bellevue, WA$89,079$7,423$1,713$42.83
Brooklyn, NY$87,952$7,329$1,691$42.28
New Haven, CT$87,172$7,264$1,676$41.91
San Francisco, CA$86,675$7,223$1,667$41.67
Lakes, AK$86,387$7,199$1,661$41.53
Brockton, MA$86,291$7,191$1,659$41.49
Paterson, NJ$85,570$7,131$1,646$41.14

7 Highest Paying Cities for Voice-Over Artists in the United States

  1. Springfield, MA $125 per hour
  2. Brooklyn, NY $100.00 per hour
  3. Los Angeles, CA $40.36 per hour
  4. Chicago, IL $39.96 per hour
  5. New York, NY $36.06 per hour
  6. Colorado Springs, CO $25.70 per hour
  7. Waltham, MA $20.00 per hour

FAQs

Who is the highest paid voice actor?

Matt Stone

How much do voice actors make per episode?

From $100 for a brief, 15-second animation to $10,000 for the main part in an animated short.

How much do professional voice actors make?

$35 for a local market radio program, $150 for a 15-second recording for a small website, and also, $250 – $350 for a 30-second large market radio advertisement (plus usage costs), to around $2000$5000 per audiobook.

Are voice actors well paid?

The top 10% of voice actors earn $90,000 and above. The top 25% of voice actors earn $51,000 and above. Median voice actors earn $31,400. The bottom 25% of voice actors earn $21,700 and above.

Can you make a living as a voice actor?

Yes, a full-time voice talent in America will typically receive around $31,400 a year.

Conclusion

If you dream of being a voice actor someday, start today! It takes a lot of work and practice to get started. You can, on the other hand, make a lot of money just by voice acting.

Also, as a voice actor, you might not be physically recognized compared to stars like; Charlie Sheen, Harrison Ford, or Dwayne Johnson, but giving you good cash is all that matters. For example, you can do a 30-second voice-over for a TV commercial, and you might get paid close to $1,000.

If you truly love making a voice, this could be the best money-making hobby for you. We have provided in this article the best answers to your frequently asked questions about voice actors’ salary, net worth, and high paying cities for voice actors.

You can share with others!

Reference

  • voices.com– How Much Money Does a Voice Actor Make? Beginner’s Guide To Voice Acting in 2022
  • Pathofex.com– 10 Highest Paid Voice Actors | Millionaires By Vocals in 2022

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