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Post-Production Editor: Education and Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a post-production editor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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The education needed to become a post-production editor varies. Typically an associate's or bachelor's degree is required to find work in the field, and an apprenticeship or internship might help to improve prospects.

Essential Information

Post-production editors are employed by the motion picture and video industries and use their technical skills and creativity to tell compelling visual stories. Although completing an associate's degree or bachelor's degree to learn the craft can improve career prospects, experience gained through an apprenticeship or internship, coupled with a high level of motivation and creativity are also key factors to success in this career field.

Required Education Ranges from associate's degrees in post-production editing to bachelor's degrees in cinematic arts or film production
Other Requirements Internships or apprenticeships may help with career prospects and provide hands-on technical experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 18% for all film and video editors
Mean Salary (2015)* $87,450 for film and video editors in the motion picture and video industries

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Educational Opportunities

Although a formal education isn't necessary for post-production video editors, it can increase their chances of success. Post-production editors can attend a 2-year vocational program leading to an associate degree or a 4-year program leading to a bachelor's degree. Although specific course requirements vary between higher educational institutions, degree programs include coursework that provides students with the technical knowledge to become proficient editors.

Associate's Degrees

Associate's degree programs in post-production editing require some textbook learning, but are primarily vocational in nature and focus on hands-on training. Students receive a fundamental understanding of the post-production editing process and have an opportunity to practice using editing software to cut video footage and tell a visual story. Standard courses also include color correction, still and motion graphics creation, sound design and DVD authoring.

Bachelor's Degrees

Most 4-year degree programs culminate in a BFA in Film Production or Cinematic Arts. After completing general studies courses, students usually take a combination of theoretical and practical courses that teach the history behind the entire production process and give students the chance to cut footage using video editing software. Upper level courses usually involve collaboration with other production students, such as those studying screenwriting, directing and cinematography. Opportunities are available to create short and feature length student films.

Career Information

Careers in the motion picture and video industries often follow non-traditional trajectories. Individuals pursuing this career path rely on apprenticeships or internships in order to obtain jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that there are multiple paths that lead to a career as a post-production editor such as working as an editor at a television studio, cable broadcast company, educational production company or advertising agency (www.bls.gov). Alternatively, some individuals begin editing careers as assistant editors, dubbing editors, camera operators or even film librarians.

Salary Information

According to the BLS, as of May 2015, the mean annual salary for film and video editors working in the motion picture and video industries was $87,450. Salaries vary widely by state. For example, the mean annual salary of film and video editors who work in all industries in Florida was $42,960 in 2015, while the mean annual salary for all film and video editors who work in California was $108,610.

A post-production editor typically works in the motion picture and video industry, and there is not one set path for breaking into this career. Some entry-level positions that may help an individual become a post-production editor down the road include editing for a cable broadcast company, working as a dubbing editor, or starting out as a camera operator.

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