Become a Professional Video Editor: Education and Career Roadmap

Sep 03, 2019

A video editing career path generally requires formal education, training, and experience. Here we not only discuss how to become a film editor, but also topics like video editing school and how much editors make.

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How to Become a Film Editor

Video editors help make television, movies, and other forms of media come to life by manipulating and editing video to convey a story or message. Typically, video editors use computers and special editing software to edit moving images and work closely with the director to ensure the final product fits the goal of the project. Those who are interested in a video editing career path can read on to learn more about each step in becoming a video editor.

Step 1: Attend Video Editing School

While there are certificate and associate's degree programs in areas like multimedia and video production available, most video editors need to have at least a bachelor's degree. Usually, these degree programs are in areas like filmmaking, broadcasting, video production, or mass communications.

Video editing schools typically provide Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees in the field. Most of these programs are on-campus, due to the hands-on nature of the field, but some digital media production courses may be available online. These programs also usually provide experiential learning opportunities with real editing equipment. Some topics that are likely to be discussed in these degree programs include:

  • Scriptwriting
  • Editing
  • Video
  • Digital imaging
  • Film production management

Although it is not required, students may choose to pursue a master's degree in film and video editing or another related field. Master's degree programs help train aspiring video editors in more advanced skills that may help jumpstart their career.

Step 2: Pursue Specialized Training

Video editing school may expose students to different kinds of video editing software, but some employers may then provide their video editors with specialized training in a particular type of software. This usually causes video editors to become an expert in the particular software that they use, but entry-level editors need to be familiar with various kinds.

Step 3: Obtain Certification

Professional certification is not typically required for video editors but is a good way to demonstrate competence in the field. Usually, software vendors offer their own certifications for their products, such as Avid or Adobe certifications. The Society of Broadcast Engineers also offers a Certified Video Engineer certification.

Some of these certifications may come at different levels, such as a Certified User or the more advanced Certified Professional. Most certifications require applicants to meet education and/or experience requirements and pass an exam.

Step 4: Gain Experience

Video editors should work on as many projects as possible to build their skills and reputations. As editors gain more experience, they are more likely to be able to work on projects independently and/or have more creative freedom on their projects. Video editors interested in leadership may also move to advanced positions as producers or directors in the entertainment industry.

How Much Do Video Editors Make?

In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that film and video editors made an average annual salary of $86,830. Most of these video editor jobs were in the motion picture and video industries where editors made an average of $94,860.

Outlook for Video Editor Jobs

The BLS also reported that film and video editors had a job outlook of 17% for 2016 to 2026. This outlook is considered much faster than the national average for all professions.

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