carnival jobs
Image by Dominic Alves via Flickr

Carnival Jobs are hot in 2019!

Carnival jobs used to be that every kid dreamed of: running away and joining the circus or a traveling carnival.

If that person was you, then you may be interested in finding out more about carnival jobs.

And no, we’re not talking about being stuck on a boat for three days with no power and needing the Coast Guard to airlift food in to you.

Of course, people who work in carnival jobs (or carnies as they like to call themselves) do have to work extremely hard at their jobs.

In addition to working twelve hour days selling things at the carnival, carnies also are required to help set up and break down the entire carnival wherever it may be as it travels from city to city.

Some carnies also get work only six months or less out of the year while others work full time year round, following the nice weather.

Expect also to be sleeping wherever you can find a spot.

Many people who work in traveling carnival jobs end up sleeping inside the rides that they happen to run.

Those with trailers to sleep in typically provide their own trailers and must pay for their own hookups (i.e. electricity, water, sewage, etc.).

How Much Can You Make with Carnival jobs?

For all that there is a certain romance related to working in a carnival, the reality is that carnies make very little money.

Most carnival jobs pay minimum wage or a little bit more.

Even the talents who perform professional acts do not earn very good livings.

In essence, people who do this for a lifetime rather than just as a summer job do it because they love the lifestyle, not because they expect to make a good living.

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In addition to working in traveling carnivals, you can also find jobs with the circus, where things are a little bit different.

There is more work involving acts and if you have a talent to offer, you are more likely to get slightly better treatment (i.e. a real place to sleep, etc.) than with a carnival.

Remember also that carnival jobs are mostly held by teenagers who are doing it for a summer job as pocket money.

If you are older and just starting to get into this business, it can be very difficult.

However, these days, more professional people are turning out for carnival work than ever because of the Great Recession.

Finally, remember that carnies have a certain work ethic – they do this because they love the job.

In order to work as a carnie for a lifetime, it is essential that you cannot imagine doing anything else with your life.

If you don’t feel that way, take a carnival job for the summer to see how you feel.

If, after the summer you’re not really sure you’d want to make this your life, look for something else.

It’s likely you’ll be miserable otherwise.

Qualifications / Requirements for Carnival jobs

There are no formal requirements to work in a carnival.

However, it helps if you have a particular talent and or a loud voice and a friendly demeanor.

You also need to love being around children all day.

First Steps

Start by taking a summer job with a carnival in town.

Contact the company that promotes the carnival as soon as you know they’ll be in town (check the resources below for some useful places to look for information about carnivals).

Then, see if you love this life or not.

If you do, ask if you can travel with the carnival and take it a few days at a time.

See if it sinks in for you or not.

Resources

Check out these helpful resources to find out more about working at carnival jobs:

CarnyTown – Another online magazine about the world of carnivals.

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Eric Hammer is a personal finance expert and writer based in Washington state.

Eric graduated from Excelsior College, a distance learning school accredited by the Middle States Association and the New York State Board of Regents (the same organizations that accredit Columbia University, New York University, Cornell University, etc.).

Eric actually held lots of different jobs, including such varied positions as a sales clerk, paralegal, surveyor’s assistant, community rabbi and English teacher, to name just a few.

He has since learned how to manage money wisely and uses his experience to help others make smart financial decisions. Today, his work appears on sites like Demand Studios and Bright Hub.