Film & Video Production: Bachelor, Associate & Online Degree Info

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What kind of jobs can you get with an associate or a bachelor's degree in film and video production? Find out about degree requirements, online options and info on courses in film and video production.
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Film and Video Production Associate and Bachelor's Degree Programs at a Glance

If you are passionate about thinking creatively, networking, paying attention to detail and problem-solving on the fly, then a degree in film and television production will prepare you to use these skills to create entertaining and educational pieces. These programs prepare graduates to work on films, television shows, news broadcasts and commercials. While no formal education is required to work in the field, undergraduate courses in film and video production will teach you how to use production equipment and give you experience working on sets.

From 2010-2020, employment opportunities for video editors and camera operators are expected to increase four percent - much slower than the national average - according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, job prospects for directors and producers were expected to grow 11% during that same time period.

Associate Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals who want to find work as editors and camera operators Those who want to work as directors and producers
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) -Video editors ($67,000)*
-Camera operators ($49,000)*
-Directors and producers ($92,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years, full-time 4 years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - 20-24 courses
- 40-48 courses
- Short film
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate in Film and Video Production

Students enrolled in an associate degree program in film and video production will be exposed to all aspects of filmmaking. Students prepare for entry-level employment in the field by learning about pre- and post-production work. Programs often allow for concentrations in subjects like scriptwriting, producing, shooting and editing. You may also be given an opportunity to work together on projects and gain on-set experience.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You'll be working in a creative field*
  • Ready for employment after graduation
  • Self-employment opportunities abound for camera operators, editors, producers and directors*

Cons

  • Camera operators may work in severe weather conditions*
  • Work hours may be irregular*
  • Because full-time work may be limited, you may work on a project-to-project, which can mean frequent periods of unemployment*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Courses and Requirements

While the majority of courses in the film and video production associate degree program will be related to filmmaking, students will need to complete general education requirements. These courses will cover topics involving mathematics, computers, humanities and social sciences. Filmmaking courses will teach students about cameras, lighting, sound, editing, production techniques and multimedia production.

Online Course Options

Because of the hands-on requirements in a film and video production program, online associate degrees in the field are rare. It's important to make sure that any prospective online program is accredited and will prepare you work in film and video production. In addition to a computer and Internet connection, prospective students will need to have an updated operating system, DVD player, video and sound card and e-mail account.

How to Stand Out

You can stand out in this field by choosing to specialize in one production area. Whether it be editing, camera operation, lighting or sound, focusing in one production area will give you a chance to build your resume and obtain employment. For example, if you want to work in editing, learning about the different software programs and their features will help you stand out. Alternately, if you want to work in camera operation, you can develop a reel and demonstrate your skills to prospective employers.

Bachelor's in Film and Video Production

A bachelor's degree is film and video production is going to cover the same topics as the associate degree program. However, students will be given an opportunity to take higher-level courses and get more experience on film sets. While taking advanced courses will continue to expand your skill set in film and video production, it may also give you an idea about what production area you'd like to specialize in. Because you will also continue to learn about the various areas of production, you may want to focus your career on directing or producing.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Additional training leads to careers where you can exert a larger degree of control over productions
  • Because undergraduate programs can be insular environments, you have the opportunity to hone your aesthetic sensibilities without needing to worry about producing work to client specifications
  • These programs provide you with the time and resources to develop your own projects, prior to graduation

Cons

  • You may be competing for jobs with graduates of associate programs*
  • You often won't have the chance to work as a director or producer after graduation
  • Because self-employment is so common, if you are not good at generating business, this may not be the best field for you*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Courses and Requirements

In addition to general education requirements, students will take courses involving script analysis, global cinema, film theory, film history, media ethics, industry preparation and concepts in film studies. Opportunities may also be available to complete business courses related to film and video production; courses show students how to find investors, fundraise, market a film and obtain distribution. Many programs also require that students participate in a production and develop their own short film; this allows students to control and learn about production from start to finish.

Online Course Options

Like the associate degree programs, online bachelor's degree programs in film and video production are rare. However, programs that do offer this degree online tend to offer the same courses and instruction as on-campus courses. Students will communicate with professors through discussion boards and e-mail; assignments generally being submitted through a course management system.

How to Stand Out

Gaining experience is the best way to stand out in the field. While you probably won't be hired as a director or producer immediately after graduating, you can begin your career as a production assistant. As you gain more experience, you may work your way up to an assistant director position before becoming a director or producer. Also, if you are able to write your own material and create your own films, you may be able to showcase your work and find additional opportunities in the field.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • A.S. General Studies - Fine Arts
      • A.S. General Studies - Fine Arts
  • Morganton, NC

    Western Piedmont Community College

  • Saratoga, CA

    West Valley College

  • Ann Arbor, MI

    Washtenaw Community College

  • Orlando, FL

    Valencia College

  • Seattle, WA

    The Art Institute of Seattle

  • Philadelphia, PA

    The Art Institute of Philadelphia

  • Knoxville, TN

    Pellissippi State Technical Community College

  • New York, NY

    The Art Institute of New York City

Featured Schools

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • A.S. General Studies - Fine Arts

What is your highest level of education?

Western Piedmont Community College

West Valley College

Washtenaw Community College

Valencia College

The Art Institute of Seattle

The Art Institute of Philadelphia