Disc Jockey – Recreation Career Opportunities


Duties: Plays music and makes announcements at bars, restaurants, resorts, cruise ships, and special events and gatherings.

Alternate Title(s): DJ; Professional DJ   

Salary Range: $1,200 to $2,000 per month on a cruise line; $100 to $3,000 per job   

Employment Prospects: Good   

Advancement Prospects: Good   

Best Geographical Location(s): For cruise ships, any ports they visit, including those in the Caribbean, the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Alaska, the Mediterranean, and other places; big cities and heavily populated tourist areas with hotels, nightclubs, and venues for special events;

1.Education and Training—Varies; background in music and business helpful   
2.Experience—Prior hotel, resort, or night club experience for work on a cruise ship   
3.Special Skills and Personality Traits—Knowledge of and love for music; excellent communication and interpersonal skills; desire to entertain and be in the spotlight; dynamic personality; technical skills


Professional Disc Jockey or Producer   
Disc Jockey   
Beginner Disc Jockey, Assistant, or Intern

Position Description

The hotel and travel industries include entertainment heavily. Many visitors like dancing and having a good time, whether they are visiting a club at a hotel, casino, cruise ship, or at a party in a restaurant or banquet hall. In these places, DJs announce and play music. In an effort to include the crowd and foster a festive mood, they decide what music is appropriate to play for each audience.   

Cruise lines and resorts like their Disc Jockeys to have a broad music base to span the generations of their clientele. Cruises attract a wide variety of passengers ranging from children and teens to senior citizens, so knowledge of music across the decades is essential. Prior hospitality experience is also useful since cruise ship Disc Jockeys need to socialize and interact with passengers. On a cruise ship, experience with lighting and sound can be very helpful as well, since some Disc Jockeys work closely with the stage manager in assisting with show production.   

Disc jockeys choose tracks that will appeal to their audience to play during specific times. For a themed cruise night, they might choose oldies, and for a Sweet 16 party, pop. They generate various play lists that they can utilise repeatedly. Disc jockeys select the appropriate tunes to get the crowd energised and dancing using their expertise and understanding of music.

Disc jockeys are sometimes known as entertainment figures. To get the crowd going, they might make announcements between each song they perform. They can introduce the special guest at a gathering and oversee any remarks as the master of ceremonies. Prizes like glow sticks, beads, and other accessories are possible giveaways. You must have a burning drive to amuse others, get them moving, and motivated.
Disc Jockeys employ their technical talents to mix music, which involves combining several songs, in addition to just choosing and playing songs. By remixing music, new and original songs are produced. The basic setup for a disc jockey is a booth with mixers, turntables, amplifiers, CD players, and headphones.

Additional duties may include:

  •  taking requests from the crowd
  • creating Web sites, business cards, and other self-marketing material
  •  developing play lists of various musical genres
  •  researching and listening to new music
  •  creating a music library
  •  networking and developing relationships to find opportunities
  •  studying musical styles and music videos

In most places, even on cruise ships, disc jockeys only work at night, leaving their days free. But they must relish working on the weekends and staying up late into the morning. They are devoted to their work and enjoy the thought of causing others to dance and have a good time, as well as influencing the music that becomes popular with a certain audience.

Many Disc Jockeys are self-employed and they promote their services to get hired to play for individual jobs at clubs, restaurants, and special events. Often they have their own equipment, which they bring to each booking. Sometimes Disc Jockeys may get hired to play every weekend in a certain club for a set period of time.


On a cruise ship, the typical Disc Jockey salary is between $1,700 to $2,000 per month. While on board, expenses are very low, with room and board included. DJs can come out at the end of a cruise ship contract with a substantial amount of money saved. On the professional Disc Jockey circuit, salaries can vary greatly depending on experience. They are usually paid per job, rather than a yearly salary. A top DJ can get between $1,000 and $3,000 for a huge event, but beginners may earn $100 to $300 instead.   

Employment Prospects   

Disc jockeys have strong employment prospects because there are numerous career options available to them. Contracts aboard a cruise ship typically last six months, and income is salary-based. Disc Jockeys advertise themselves by using business cards, websites, word-of-mouth, and other methods to work clubs and special events. To be employed, you must provide a demo CD that demonstrates your mixing abilities. Some Disc Jockeys may work for firms or employ managers who try to book them with gigs each weekend.

Advancement Prospects   

Disc Jockeys can advance by building their business. After a stint on a cruise ship, they may promote themselves to work at clubs or parties, developing a strong reputation. Experience will help them book bigger venues for more money and recognition. They may even advance to run a company that hires and books other Disc Jockeys as well. Additionally, some Disc Jockeys may want to work as radio personalities where they not only announce and select music on the radio, but also provide news, entertainment, and commentary on current events and popular culture. Others may advance within the music industry to become music or record producers.   

Education and Training   

Although there are no formal educational requirements for disc jockeys, technical job training is unquestionably necessary. The ability to mix music and use other required tools is a must for disc jockeys. While some DJs only have a high school diploma, some hold bachelor’s degrees. Business, music, media production, and broadcasting are all relevant academic areas. Courses for becoming a disc jockey are also offered and can be very beneficial.l.   

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits   

First and foremost, Disc Jockeys need a passion for music. Their knowledge of different types of music should be vast and varied. Disc Jockeys should like being the center of attention and the life of the party. They need the outgoing personality, communication, and interpersonal skills to motivate a crowd and get them dancing.   

Since entering the profession does need an initial investment, having strong commercial and financial acumen as well as the capacity for self-promotion is helpful. Disc Jockeys can create business cards, websites, flyers, and other forms of publicity to inform people about their services with the aid of sales and marketing tactics.

Unions and Associations   

Disc Jockeys may belong to professional associations including the American Disc Jockey Association. The association has many local and state chapters that can be helpful resources for networking.   

Tips for Entry

1. Find a mentor. Insiders say this is the best way to learn about being a Disc Jockey. Watch an experienced professional in action and gain his or her advice about how to succeed in the field.
2. A mentor can also offer advice about how to get started without overspending. Insiders say that one should be careful not to spend too much money on equipment early on.
3. Take a DJ training course. By searching the Internet, you can find a multitude of online and local courses.
4. Develop your own unique style as a Disc Jockey.
5. Check out DJ Advantage, a Web site that offers professional DJ resources (www.djadvantage.com) .