Movie Editing Degree Programs with Course Information

Apr 25, 2020

Essential Information

Movie editing involves the process of rearranging motion video footage and images for the purpose of eliminating or adding film clips. Film production programs at the associate's through master's degree levels feature a combination of lecture-based courses and hands-on experiences, including editing courses. Film or television projects are an essential part of the curricula.

A high school diploma or equivalent is topically required for admission into an undergraduate program, as well as certain GPA levels, test scores, and an example of work in some cases. Master's programs require a bachelor's degree.

Associate's Degree in Film Production

Associate's degree programs in film production with coursework in movie editing are often offered through 2-year colleges to applicants with a high school diploma or GED. Credit hours completed during associate degree programs in film production may sometimes be applied to 4-year bachelor's degree programs in the same field. Programs provide technical training and hands-on experience with editing equipment and instruction in other aspects of film production, including camera operation, cinematography, lighting, shot composition, post-production and special effects. Additional topics include:

  • Digital editing
  • Film history
  • Computer art
  • Film and video production
  • Sound engineering

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Film and Television Production

Colleges and universities often offer bachelor's degrees in cinematic arts, communications, or film, video and television production that include an editing component. Students not only gain technical skills in these courses but also learn how to enhance storytelling through editing techniques. Applicants may need to provide high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, one or more letters of recommendation and a personal statement in addition to an example of work, such as a short film or writing sample. Core curriculum typically covers the technical aspects of how films and television shows are made from pre-production to post-production. During class projects, they may write scripts, operate cameras, direct actors or edit material for student films. Coursework often includes:

  • Screenwriting
  • Motion picture editing
  • Directing techniques
  • Post-production
  • Digital cinematography

Master of Film and Television Production with a Concentration in Editing

Master's degree programs in film and television production with a concentration in editing are open to applicants with a bachelor's degree in any field and concentrate on the technical aspects of film production and post-production. In addition to completing an internship and thesis, students often participate in long-term team projects that require an exhibition of leadership and decision-making skills. During the two years of graduate school, students may complete one or two projects as part of a team. Students participating in an editing concentration may edit projects written, directed and produced by other team members. Coursework may also include:

  • Advanced editing
  • Aesthetics of film
  • Lighting and camera techniques
  • Screenwriting
  • Fundamentals of producing

Popular Career Options

Associate degree programs in film production train students for careers in news, sports, film and television production, animation and advertising. Recent graduates may qualify for jobs that can provide additional training for a career in movie editing, such as:

  • Film trailer editor
  • Commercial editor
  • Documentary film editor

A graduate degree in film production with a concentration in movie editing can prepare students for a number of careers:

  • Instructor
  • Post-production executive
  • Producer

Continuing Education

Movie editing is frequently updated, so graduates and professionals may wish to regularly take stand-alone courses in new software and editing technology from film schools or community colleges.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 14% increase in jobs for film and video editors throughout the 2018-2028 period. In 2019, film and video editors earned a median salary of $63,780 per year.

Aspiring movie editors can find relevant instruction within undergraduate and graduate programs in film production. These programs may include courses such as digital editing and motion picture editing, as well as classes in different branches of filmmaking.

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