Media Production Degrees: Bachelor, Associate & Online Class Info

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What kind of jobs can you get with a degree in media production? Find out associate and bachelor's degree requirements, online options and info on courses in media production.
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Studying Media Production: Degrees at a Glance

Students pursuing a media production degree can obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to work in film, television and video. While an associate degree will teach you to use computer animation programs and work with cameras and sound equipment, obtaining a bachelor's degree can prepare you to work as an animator or a director.

Media production programs also allow you to specialize in a specific area and prepare for careers in certain fields. However, it is important that you are aware that experience and a high-quality portfolio may be preferred over education. Before becoming a director or editor, you may need to gain a significant amount experience after graduating from a program.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that careers for broadcast technicians would grow ten percent from 2010-2020 while the employment for camera operators would increase by only four percent. Over the same period, the BLS projected an eight percent increase for animators and 11% for directors.

Associate Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals who want entry-level work in media production Those who want to advance in media production positions
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) -Broadcast technician ($42,000)*
-Camera operator ($49,000)*
-Animator ($68,000)*
-Director ($92,000)*
Time to Completion Two years, full-time Four years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements About 20-24 courses
About 40-48 courses
Prerequisites High school diploma or GED equivalent
High school diploma or GED equivalent
Online Availability Limited Limited

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

Associate in Media Production

An associate degree program in media production, such as the Associate of Art in Multi-Media, combines creativity with the technical aspects of production. Students in the program can develop the skills they need to work with computer animation and media production equipment. Specializations options may be available in areas like computer animation and graphic design. While graduates will be prepared for employment after completing the program, opportunities are also available to transfer to a 4-year university. You may also need to obtain many years of experience before pursuing advancement opportunities.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • New content delivery methods will spur job growth in some fields*
  • A variety of programs offer media production training
  • You may be able to find entry-level employment right after graduating

Cons

  • Media production careers may require working nights and weekends*
  • Employers may value experience over education*
  • Improving technology and efficiency may limit employment in the field*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Courses and Requirements

In addition to courses related to media production, students are also required to complete general education requirements in several areas, including English, psychology, mathematics and humanities. Your core and elective courses may also cover technical aspects of the field.

Media production courses include computer animation, digital media, motion graphics, graphic design and TV studio production. Some programs will provide students with hands-on experience in the field in order to prepare them for employment.

Online Course Options

Fully online associate degree programs related to media production are available, but they are not very common. The available online associate programs in related topics, including animation and visual effects, generally cover much of the same topics as those in a media production program. Students may need to make sure that any prospective program is accredited and will provide them with the knowledge and skills to begin a career.

How to Stand Out

Staying up-to-date in the latest technology can help you stand out in the field. The BLS notes that as digital technology and animation programs are allowing graphics and images to become more realistic, it's important that professionals in this field understand how to use the latest cameras, computer software and production equipment. You might consider pursuing an internship during your studies, which can help you learn how to use the equipment, as well as interact with other production professionals and develop a portfolio.

Bachelor's in Media Production

A bachelor's degree in media production, such as the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Film and Media Production or B.A. in Media Production, can prepare you to work with all types of digital media, including cameras, software, sound and lighting. Graduates of the program will also be prepared to work in television, podcasts, radio broadcasting, film and other mediums. Opportunities will also be available to learn about visual storytelling. Even with a degree, it's important that students develop experience in the field.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Studying through a 4-year program can help you build on your basic media production skills
  • Career advancement, such as becoming a director, generally requires a bachelor's degree*
  • Public demand for new technology may increase employment opportunities*

Cons

  • You may work long and irregular hours*
  • Jobs may be reduced as production companies consolidate*
  • Employers may also require 1-5 years of experience for some positions*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Courses and Requirements

Students generally have required core media courses, as well as the opportunity to take specialized elective courses during their final two years. For example, students can take courses related to narrative media, documentary and sports media. Opportunities will be available to learn about single camera video production, writing for film and television, computer graphics, elements of broadcasting, directing for the camera and television interviewing. Some programs also offer internship opportunities in media production or related areas.

Online Course Options

Similar to an associate degree program, online bachelor's degree programs related to media production are available, but rare. Students can find programs related to media arts and film and television production that will teach them about directing and editing. This is an opportunity to complete the program with flexibility and convenience. Online courses are generally asynchronous, which means students can view lectures and turn-in assignments any time and at any location.

How to Stand Out

In addition to learning and staying up-to-date with the technical aspects of production, creativity can also help you stand out in the field. Because scripts and live events can be interpreted and viewed in different ways, directors and editors must create visually stimulating images to entertain an audience. You can also pursue professional certification in film and video editing areas to demonstrate your proficiency. Related certification options are available from companies like Adobe and Apple.

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

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL

    The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale

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