Digital editing is a heavily technology-based field that requires ample training in the latest editing software. Students can pursue various avenues of formal training for this field via associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs, in addition to diploma and certificate offerings.
Certificate and diploma programs relay the fundamental knowledge used in digital media editing. Undergraduate degrees also emphasize fundamental skills and knowledge with more comprehensive training in techniques and production. Master's degree programs are more process-oriented, concentrating on video/film production all the way through to the editing process. They may also offer concentrations in cinema, animation, and documentaries.
Diploma/Certificate in Digital Editing
Undergraduate-level programs typically require a high school diploma or equivalent for admission. Many colleges and universities with film departments offer diploma and certificate programs in digital editing discipline. These programs emphasize the use of the most current digital editing software, such as Final Cut Pro. Students study editing theories such as mood, continuity, pacing and structure. Various software programs are focused on, depending on the specific program. Students may develop film editing, music video editing, television editing or film trailer editing skills as part of their coursework. Other classes include:
- Editing theory
- Media management
- Editing tools and techniques
- Audio mixing
Associate's Degree in Digital Editing
An associate's degree in digital editing is a two-year program that typically focuses on digital editing software programs, techniques and production, as well as other areas of digital media like animation, camera work and the development of multimedia for the Web. These associate's degree programs typically require a minimum of 30 hours of major coursework, as well as additional general education courses. Coursework in digital editing includes:
- Digital imaging
- Motion graphics
- Digital video editing
- Film and video field production
- AVID Editing
- Desktop publishing
Bachelor's Degree in Digital Editing
Art and film schools typically offer Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in programs such as media production or film, with a film editing concentration. Other schools offer Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degrees in programs such as television and digital media or film.
These four-year programs focus on the art and science of digital editing, with time dedicated to developing fundamental skills such as utilization of editing software, editing theory and digital publishing methods. Students pursuing a bachelor's degree in one of these programs must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours, with at least 65 of those in their major. Classes and areas of concentration will vary from program to program, but core curriculum tends to be similar across schools with typical coursework including:
- Digital design and illustration
- Digital media
- Editing and post-production
- Audio editing
- DVD authoring
Master's Degree in Digital Editing
Students interested in pursuing graduate studies may enroll in a Master of Science or a Master of Fine Arts degree program in digital cinema. Digital cinema degree programs focus on the technology and technical practices of producing digital cinema, including video and audio editing, special effects, digital distribution methods and computer-generated imaging (CGI). Programs may require undergraduate coursework in areas such as digital media and production, computer science or film studies. These programs offer concentration options, in addition to core coursework. Common course topics include:
- Producing digital cinema
- Introduction to screenwriting
- Sound design and production
- Narrative structure
- Digital editing
Popular Career Options
Graduates with undergraduate degrees typically have a broader skill set and, therefore, more professional opportunities than those with diplomas or certificates in digital editing. Degree-holders may pursue careers as:
- Digital producers
- Multimedia producers
- Film and video editors
- Production artists
Graduates of master's programs in digital cinema may find jobs with video production companies and educational media companies. They may also go on to produce digital media for government agencies or non-profit organizations. Some job titles in the field include:
- Cinematographer/Camera person
- Digital media specialist
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), digital editing jobs in television and film are extremely competitive due to the number of people entering the field. Despite a boom in DVD sales, as well as the prevalence of online content, the relative ease of use of digital editing software combined with an increase in offshore production have made four-year degrees in digital media almost a necessity for marketability. The BLS expected an 18% increase in jobs for film and video editors from 2014 through 2024. The average salary for film and video editors in May 2015 was $80,300.
Continuing Education Information
Students with diplomas or certificates in digital editing can transfer to undergraduate programs to increase marketability. Bachelor's degree graduates wishing to pursue graduate studies in a program related to digital editing will most likely pursue an M.S. or M.F.A. in digital cinema, which focuses on the technology behind producing digital cinema. It is likely that digital editing professionals will need to periodically take continuing development classes throughout their careers to stay up-to-date with changing technologies.
Students interested in digital editing can find relevant programs offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. These programs might consist of classes on digital production, audio editing, desktop publishing, and more, preparing students for careers in various branches of digital media.