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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 N/A
  • 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 21, 2016

Critics review all facets of the arts and entertainment field: 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 knowledge about the arts.

Critics may write or broadcast regular arts and entertainment features which include interviews with artists, in-depth analyses or information about upcoming events or new artistic works.

Most critics specialize in one area of the arts such as music, film or theatre. Some specialize even further in a particular aspect of a field. For example, a large newspaper may have a jazz music critic, a rock music critic and a classical music critic. However, critics working for smaller employers may be responsible for reviewing a wide range of performances and artistic works.

To keep up to date on trends in the arts and entertainment field, critics must spend a considerable amount of time reading, building contacts in their industry and keeping in touch with these people.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 21, 2016

Critics work evenings, weekends and holidays to cover performances, exhibits and events. Having to cope with tight deadlines and people who disagree with the reviews can be stressful.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 21, 2016

Critics need the following characteristics:

  • a strong interest in their field
  • analytical and perceptive skills
  • strong research and organizational skills
  • flexibility in appreciating new techniques and styles in the arts
  • objectivity and fairness in reviewing productions at different levels (professional or amateur)
  • the ability to communicate clearly, concisely, objectively and in a strong personal voice
  • the ability to handle criticism from others and the confidence required to stand behind their opinions
  • the ability to produce creative, entertaining pieces under the pressure of deadlines.

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

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 21, 2016

Although it is not necessary to have formal training to become a critic, most employers prefer to hire experienced print reporters or broadcasters (who often have post-secondary education related to journalism). Critics also are expected to have strong backgrounds in their area of specialization (for example, music, literature, art, drama). Being able to review several different fields is an advantage, especially for freelance critics and those just getting started.

Post-secondary schools located throughout the province offer suitable degree programs in communications studies, broadcasting, music, art and drama. Entrance requirements vary but generally include a high school diploma with a minimum average (60 to 80% depending on the program) in English Language Arts 30-1 and 4 other appropriate Grade 12 subjects (for example, social studies, math, a second language or science courses). Specific course requirements vary from one program to another (for example, Social 30 is required for some communications or broadcasting programs). Training or experience in the arts is an asset.

Many post-secondary schools also offer university transfer programs which allow students to apply up to 2 years of study toward bachelor's degree programs at other schools. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the courses they choose to take will be accepted for credit at the school to which they wish to transfer.

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 21, 2016

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 21, 2016

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 and competition for employment is keen. Major metropolitan newspapers and large circulation magazines hire a small number of critics as staff writers. They also may hire freelance critics to provide reviews and commentaries on specialized areas of the arts. Smaller newspapers and magazines usually employ freelance critics. Staff writers may be expected to cover a wide range of arts events.

Radio and television stations that have film, theatre and music reviews as part of their regular weekly programming may use staff reviewers or freelance critics for these weekly features. Freelance critics sell their articles and interviews to various print and broadcast media, and are paid for each article printed, aired or published online.

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 content for websites or blogs. 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 and eventually move into a reviewer's position when one comes open. Established critics can move to larger newspapers, work in radio or 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 in this occupation will be 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 (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 21, 2016

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 21, 2016

Canadian Theatre Critics Association (CTCA) website:

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

Updated Mar 09, 2016. 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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