Studying Videography: Degrees at a Glance
Videographers and other visual storytellers must possess creativity and technical skills in order to communicate a story using visual media. These professionals can work in a number of settings, and many run their own businesses. Colleges and universities usually offer videography degrees through schools of film, digital media, performing arts or mass communications.
An associate's degree program can prepare graduates for entry-level roles as broadcast or video equipment technicians. The bachelor's degree program can provide an education suitable for work as a videographer or video editor, with the appropriate experience. Creativity is key with artistic professions, and while the associate's degree offers a foundation in video concepts and technology, access to jobs relies on individual imagination and inventiveness. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employees in the field could expect slower than average or average job growth over the 2010-2020 decade.
|Who is this degree for?||Individuals interested starting their own videography business or entry-level technician opportunities||People who want to begin a career track that leads to production or art direction|
|Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary)|| - Broadcast technician ($37,000)*|
- Audio and video equipment technician ($42,000)*
| - Film and video editor ($53,000)*|
- Producer or director ($71,000)*
- Art director ($81,000)*
|Time to Completion||2 years full-time||4 years full-time, 2 years full-time with credits transferred from an associate's degree|
|Common Graduation Requirements|| - Approximately 60 credits|
- Relevant internship
- Master's exams
| - Roughly 120 credits or 180 hours|
- Senior projects
- Internship or contact with industry professionals
- Professional portfolio
|Prerequisites||High school diploma or equivalent||High school diploma or equivalent|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).
Associate's Degree in Video Production
An associate's degree program in video production should provide you with a foundational understanding of how to design, produce and edit video. You will learn the techniques associated with the operation and maintenance of equipment, as well as production and post-production processes. Schools structure their programs to offer intensive, hands-on experiences through courses that teach scripting, proposals, editing and pre-production preparation.
The BLS reveals that many employers prefer to hire camera operators and film and video editors with at least a bachelor's degree. Despite this, an associate's degree can prepare you to pursue work as a freelance videographer or in another area of pre- or post-production.
Pros and Cons
- You may earn a competitive salary once you gain the appropriate experience
- Programs offer substantial hands-on exposure and through projects and internships
- Short program length will allow you to enter the field quickly
- Employers may prefer candidates with higher education, which may make competition keen
- Some programs do not offer substantial elective coursework, which affects specialization options
- Completing supplemental certification programs may extend your education or training time
Courses and Requirements
Associate's degree programs in video production typically require approximately 64 credits in general education, core and elective coursework. You will learn to create videos using industry-standard equipment and storytelling techniques and complete courses that provide technical and theoretical knowledge. Programs typically offer seminars, workshops and portfolio preparation courses that allow students to apply their skills and create a professional representation of their work. Following is a list of common courses:
- Video pre-production
- Production on location
- Editing techniques
- Motion graphics
- Media writing
- Multi-camera directing
- Mass media law
Online Degree Options
The hands-on nature of videography may make an online associate's degree difficult to locate. You can find programs in mass communications offered in a hybrid format. Hybrid programs allow you to complete a large percentage of classes online. You must then complete other courses on campus or online at another institution and transfer them to the current school. You may find online degrees at the bachelor's or master's degree levels.
Getting Ahead with This Degree
The development of a strong portfolio of work plays a significant role in employment offers. Employers require strong proof that you are skilled at the technical, creative and communication components of videography. Furthermore, training derived from experience is essential to securing entry-level opportunities. Participating in workshops and projects that require the execution of all phases of the production process (planning, budgeting, technical implementation and post-production) will provide practical experience and deliver reels for your portfolio.
In addition, if you pursue a specific industry such as wedding or underwater videography, obtaining the appropriate certification or joining an association can authenticate your technical skills and demonstrate your commitment to the field. While an industry-standard certification does not exist, several international and state associations, such as the Wedding and Event Videographers Association International, offer programs and membership opportunities.
Other Degrees to Consider
Bridging the gap between traditional media outlets and those driven by new technologies will enhance your marketability. Occupations in the industry have shifted toward simulated documentaries, intense graphic games and feature-length films that require customized and complex software programs. While technicians in the video and broadcast industries earn a relatively competitive salary, the BLS reports that multimedia artists and animators earned a median annual wage of $61,000 as of 2011.
Multimedia artists and animators usually seek a bachelor's degree, which provides the technical foundation required to use complex software. Despite this, employers may not require an education beyond the associate's degree if you have a strong portfolio of work.
Bachelor's Degree in Film and Television
A bachelor's degree program in film and television can take your videography education further by providing courses that focus on the historical context of film, how camera operation enhances on-screen dialogue and methods to facilitate entry into the field. Programs combine coursework in distribution, humanities and technology, and many schools offer multiple on-site opportunities to apply your knowledge. You will learn all aspects of the industry and develop a portfolio of work that can prepare you for entry into the field.
Pros and Cons
- Higher salaries are attainable with a solid reputation and experience
- Programs offer the opportunity to seek higher-paying opportunities
- Courses lay the groundwork for additional study at the graduate level
- Programs may not provide a business background if you want to start your own business
- Limited number of online options
- Producer or director opportunities require substantial experience and may necessitate taking a low-level opportunity to get ahead
Courses and Requirements
A bachelor's degree program in film and television should offer you a well-rounded education that facilitates communication through a mix of free, general and communications electives. You will learn a broad range of skills related to set design, lighting, field production, documentary filmmaking, postproduction techniques, computer art software and sound design. Some programs require the completion of several senior projects and foreign language coursework. Programs require approximately 120 credits or 180 hours in general education, foundation studies and film and television courses.
Online Degree Options
Similar to associate's degree programs, online bachelor's degrees in this major are limited. Some schools offer a complete online experience through a film and media studies program that requires roughly 120 hours to complete. Online bachelor's degrees offer a foundation in liberal arts coupled with technical coursework. You may take an orientation course in online learning, and schools often provide programs designed to meet the needs of working professionals through accelerated learning curricula.
Getting Ahead with This Degree
Senior projects in these programs can deliver concentrated and practical experience that can boost your portfolio. Making contact with people involved in the industry during your studies will increase the likelihood of receiving job offers prior to graduation. Bachelor's degree programs may offer meet-and-greet opportunities at important locations in the industry. Taking advantage of networking occasions and association memberships will also assist with the exposure of your work.