Movie Editing Degrees: Bachelor's, Associate & Online Course Info

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What will you learn in a movie editing degree program? Read about program requirements, the pros and cons of a bachelor's and associate degree and potential careers.
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Movie Editing Associate and Bachelor's: Degrees at a Glance

Film editors construct a movie production from the images a camera operator captures. They may choose interesting materials to present to an audience, edit a scene based on instructions received form the director and use editing software to put scenes together. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most film editors have a bachelor's degree and several years of work experience as an assistant editor. Competition for movie editing positions can be intense. The BLS predicted that, nationally, employment opportunities for video editors would grow five percent during the 2010-2020 decade.

Associate Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals interested in learning basic film editing skills either to transfer to a 4-year program or obtain an entry-level position Individuals interested in editing movies professionally
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) - Production assistant ($28,000)**
- Assistant editor (salary unavailable)
- Movie editor ($53,000)*
Time to Completion - 4-5 semesters - 4 years (120 credits)
Common Graduation Requirements - Core and general education courses
- Hands-on training or co-operative work experience
- General education courses
- Advanced editing courses
- Internship or workshop
Prerequisites - High school diploma or GED
- Possible reading, writing and math assessment tests
- High school diploma or GED
- Some schools require completion of an associate degree program
- Optional portfolio submission
Online Availability None available at this time None available at this time

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com.

Associate Degree in Movie Editing

Accredited associate degree programs focusing solely on film or movie editing are rare. Associate degree programs in film production, digital media or film studies are more readily available. These programs typically include courses or hands-on training sessions in film and audio editing, and aim to provide you with the skills needed to edit pieces of a film to assemble an entire story. They can also prepare you to transfer to a 4-year degree program or enter the field as a lower-level assistant editor or production assistant.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Many associate degree programs are designed to prepare you transfer to a 4-year program.
  • These programs often include hands-on training or internships that can provide you with valuable experience.
  • Program may prepare you to work as a self-employed editor.

Cons

  • An associate degree alone will likely not prepare you for a position as a movie editor.
  • You will likely need to put in several years as an assistant before you can advance to an editing role.
  • You may need to join a professional union (and pay dues) to receive better jobs and better pay in the post-production field.

Courses and Requirements

Associate degree programs in film studies often include courses in editing, post-production or digital film production. Common classes in these programs include:

  • Digital arts
  • Cinematography
  • Post-production procedures
  • Film composition
  • Visual effects
  • Film editing

Online Degree Options

Degree programs in film studies offered by accredited universities are not currently available online. This is due to the hands-on component of these programs. Attending an in-person program allows you to work with the equipment necessary to edit films.

How to Stand Out with This Degree

According to the BLS, gaining professional experience is very important for finding employment in this field. A program that includes an internship, cooperative work experience or which is affiliated with a local broadcasting station may provide these hands-on experiences. These experiences may help you stand out against your competition.

Bachelor's Degree in Movie Editing

Bachelor's degree programs are usually offered the fields of film studies, digital media and film production. Some programs offer you the ability to complete a production track that includes hands-on editing training. Most programs require you to complete an internship, capstone project or cooperative work experience prior to graduation.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Bachelor's degree programs in film and television can often prepare you for several different industry jobs, if you decide to follow a career path other than editing.
  • A bachelor's degree program can help you put together a portfolio of work to show potential employers.
  • Some schools are connected to companies in the film industry and can help you secure important internships or entry-level positions upon graduation.

Cons

  • A bachelor's degree alone will likely not prepare you to secure a job as a movie editor due to the competitive job market.
  • Even with a 4-year degree, you may have to put in several years working as a post-production assistant or assistant editor.
  • You may need to move to a specific geographic area, such as Los Angeles or New York City, to secure a position.

Courses and Requirements

Bachelor's degree programs in film or the digital arts often provide you with a thorough background of film history and the film industry. They might also introduce you to cinematography, directing and writing in addition to editing processes. Common courses include:

  • Film business
  • Production seminar
  • Digital cinematography
  • Digital production
  • Single frame motion
  • Post-production techniques

Online Degree Options

Due to the hands-on nature of film editing, accredited online programs are rare. Attending an on-campus program allows you to obtain this hands-on experience and interact with professors and other students.

How to Stand Out with This Degree

To stand out with this degree, consider becoming proficient in using multiple types of digital editing software. Being familiar with the various software programs that can be used to edit film may impress employers.

Popular Schools

Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • B.S. - Digital Cinematography
  • BS - Audio Production

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Indiana Wesleyan University

  • B.S. General Studies - Fine Arts

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