Exams: General Information

Examination & Portfolio Review

At the Exam & Portfolio Reviews, judges look for evidence of the specific skills required to be a successful working professional in your category. Experience in the profession is the best preparation, and applicants from academic or fine arts backgrounds are encouraged to work in the field before applying to the Union.

There is a $75 Application Fee for each Exam applied for, which is not refundable. Once you have applied, you will be notified of your status and given an interview time. If you decide to continue on and keep the interview appointment, there is an Exam Fee of $125 for each Exam you take, making the total expense $200 for each Exam. The Exam Fee for the Scenic Artist TRACK B "OPEN" or Practical Exam is $225, making the total cost $300.


Exams Are Given in These Categories of Membership, in the Regions Specified:

  • Western Region: Scenic, Costume Lighting and Sound Design.
  • Eastern & Central Regions: Scenic, Costume, Lighting and Sound Design, Scenic Art.
  • Eastern Region only: Art Department Coordinator and Computer Artist.

NOTE: Projection Designers and Costume Department Coordinators interested in joining USA 829 should call the appropriate Business Office as an Exam protocol has not yet been established.

Each Region has slightly different Exam procedures and schedules. If you are interested in seeking membership into Local USA 829, please refer to the appropriate geographic location listed on the menu bar. If you are unsure, see the Regions, Offices, & Officers page for a list of the states which make up each Region. Specific Exam information documents on this website will list a contact person to whom you can address category-specific questions.

Exam specifics and scheduling are available for download in the separate Regional sections on the menu bar left. You should apply to be reviewed in the Region in which you reside.

The successful applicant will be recommend for membership by the Exam Committee to the floor at the General Membership Meeting following their interview or practical exam. After the membership approves the committee's recommendation, the  applicant will receive USA 829 and IATSE membership forms and a bill for Initiation Fees and start-up dues.
The Initiation Fee for all Designers and Scenic Artists is $3,500. Currently, there is a rebate of $2,000 for anyone admitted through the Exam process, making the actual Initiation Fee $1,500 for those people. There are additional IATSE dues and fees totaling $321.50 (as of February 2018) for new members. All fees must be paid before final acceptance into membership.