He began acting professionally in the early 2000s, and rose to prominence in the late 2000s for his leading role in the High School Musical franchise (2006–08).
During this time, he also starred in the musical film Hairspray (2007) and the comedy film 17 Again (2009).
The film’s soundtrack was certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA, making it one of the best-selling albums of the year in the United States.
Efron’s singing talents were disputed when it was revealed that his voice had been blended with Drew Seeley’s on the soundtrack, but Efron clarified that the songs (written for a tenor) were written before he was cast and therefore did not suit his more baritone vocal range.
He was recommended to an agent in Los Angeles by his drama teacher, Robyn Metchik (the mother of actors Aaron Michael Metchik and Asher Metchik).