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Critics review and analyze artistic and literary works and live performances. They may communicate their opinions via radio, television, newspapers, magazines, websites, or books.

  • Avg. Salary $61,112.00
  • Avg. Wage $31.43
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Dance Critic, Film Critic, Literary Critic, Music Critic, Theatre Critic

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Journalists (5123) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Journalists (F023) 
  • 2011 NOC: Journalists (5123) 
  • 2016 NOC: Journalists (5123) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Critic is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Interest in writing news stories for publication and broadcast; in preparing regular feature columns and stories on specialized topics; in writing editorials and commentaries on topics of current interest; to express the views of publication and broadcasting stations


Interest in diverting to stimulate public interest in current topics; and in arranging for and conducting interviews as part of research and for radio and television programs


Interest in compiling information to receive, analyze and verify news and other copy for accuracy

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 31, 2020

Critics review all areas of arts and entertainment: plays, films, books, operas, art exhibits, dance productions, musical recordings, concerts, and nightclub acts. In general, they:

  • Attend performances or exhibits or preview books or recordings
  • Summarize the theme or story
  • Critique the quality of the performance or artistic work based on their judgment, experience, and knowledge
  • Conduct interviews with performers, artists, and writers
  • Educate the public by providing insights and background about the arts

Critics sometimes write or broadcast regular arts and entertainment features. These may include interviews with artists, in-depth analyses of art works, or information about upcoming events or newly releases.

Most critics specialize in one area of the arts such as music, film, or theatre. Some specialize even further. For example, a large newspaper may have different critics for jazz, rock, and classical music. Critics working for smaller employers however may review a wide range of styles.

To keep up to date on trends in arts and entertainment, critics must spend a lot of time reading, building contacts in their industry, and keeping in touch with their contacts.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Critics work evenings, weekends, and holidays to cover performances, exhibits, and events. They may have to write and file reviews late at night, after a performance. Coping with tight deadlines and people who disagree with their reviews can be stressful.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Critics need:

  • A strong personal voice and interest in their field
  • Analytical and perceptive skills
  • Research and organizational skills
  • Flexibility in appreciating new techniques and styles in the arts
  • Objectivity and fairness in reviewing both professional and amateur art works
  • The ability to communicate clearly and concisely
  • The ability to handle criticism and the confidence to stand behind their opinions
  • The ability to produce creative, entertaining reviews under deadline pressure

They should enjoy finding innovative ways to express their views and to stimulate public interest and discussion. They should be comfortable being recognized for their specialized knowledge, creativity, and experience.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

It is not necessary to have formal training to become a critic. However, most employers prefer to hire experienced print reporters or broadcasters. These candidates often have post-secondary education related to journalism. Critics also are expected to have strong backgrounds in their interest area (such as music, literature, art, or drama). Being able to review several different fields is an advantage, especially for freelance critics and those just getting started. Training or experience in the arts is an asset.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Critics may work for:

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Alternative weeklies
  • Radio stations
  • Television stations
  • Internet services

There are relatively few jobs in the field of arts criticism. Competition for employment is keen. Major metropolitan newspapers and large circulation magazines hire a small number of critics as staff writers. They may hire freelance critics to review and comment on specialized areas of the arts. Smaller newspapers and magazines usually employ freelance critics. Staff writers may be expected to cover a range of arts events.

Radio and television stations that have film, theatre, and music reviews as part of their weekly programming may use staff reviewers or freelance critics for these regular features. Freelance critics sell articles and interviews to various print, broadcast, and online media. Sometimes writers are paid each time an article is reproduced, but often they receive a flat rate for all rights to a single article.

It is difficult to get started as a critic or reviewer. Experience might come from writing for campus and community newspapers, doing film or theatre reviews for local cable television stations, or writing website content or blog posts. Aspiring critics should attend as many arts and entertainment functions as possible and keep up to date in their field of interest.

Some critics start out as general reporters or staff writers. They move into a reviewer’s position when one comes open. Established critics can move to larger media outlets. They may also move between jobs in print, radio, and television, or syndicate articles to a chain of newspapers, websites, or broadcast stations.

Critics are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5123: Journalists. In Alberta, 90% of people employed in this classification work in the Information, Culture and Recreation [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the Information, Culture and Recreation industry
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 5123: Journalists occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 10% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020
Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $34.41 $25.30 $26.60
Overall $15.00 $41.97 $31.43 $30.22
Top $15.00 $100.96 $40.66 $37.93

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Communications
  • Fine Arts and Performing Arts
  • Humanities and Languages
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Canadian Theatre Critics Association (CTCA) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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