Video Production Careers: Job Descriptions & Salary Info

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What are the pros and cons of a career in video production? Get real job descriptions, and career and education requirements to see if a career in video production is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career in Video Production

Careers in video production include a wide range of specialties. Among the many careers available in video production are video editor, recording engineer and director. Read the following table to get career information on each.

Video Editor Recording Engineer Director
Career Overview Video editors review and modify video footage.Recording engineers operate recording equipment.Directors oversee the creative decisions for a video or production.
Education Requirements Bachelor's degreeEmployers may require a certificate or associate's degreeBachelor's degree
Program Length Four years, full-timeSeveral months to two yearsFour years, full-time
Additional/Other Training N/ASome on-the-job training is generally requiredN/A
Certification and Licensing None requiredVoluntary certification is offered by the Society of Broadcast EngineersNone required
Experience Requirement Several years of assisting experience are generally requiredExperience required to work in large marketsExperience in a lower-level career, such as assistant, is generally required
Job Outlook for 2012-22 Little to no change (3%)*Average growth (9%) compared to all occupations* Little to no change (3%)*
Mean Salary (2014) Roughly $75,090 for all film and video editors*Roughly $58,670 for all sound engineering technicians* Roughly $90,300 for all producers and directors*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Video Editor

Video editors work in post-production on movies, documentaries, commercials and other video projects. They work with directors to select scenes, cut film and organize footage. In this career, you'll use specialized software and computer systems to edit videos. You may have one or many assistants to keep track of tasks. Video editors work in television broadcasting and motion pictures. Many are self-employed. Depending on the industry you work in, you may be required to work unusual or long hours, especially when deadlines need to be met.


Most employers require video editors to have a bachelor's degree. Film and broadcasting programs provide instruction in editing software and film techniques. You'll also need to get some experience in the field. Most video editors start as assistants to get on-the-job training. After several years, you can move up into an editing position.

In December 2012, video editor employers sought the following:

  • In Washington D.C., a broadcasting company sought a video editor with knowledge of current events, editing software and digital camera technology.
  • In Kentucky, a video editor with Adobe software experience, the ability to meet deadlines, strong communication skills and a passion for animation, was needed.
  • A technology company in Virginia sought a video editor to compile video, audio and graphics, provide creative advice for staff members and clients and manage multiple priorities.

Standing Out

You can stand out as a video editor by staying on top of industry and software trends. Because you will depend heavily on computers to do your job and technology changes quickly, employers may favor video editors who are knowledgeable about changes in the industry. You can also benefit from having a strong portfolio. Employers may ask to see samples of your work and a strong portfolio can set you apart.

Recording Engineer

Recording engineers work in audio production for broadcast, movies and events. They run audio and video equipment to ensure that live and recorded sound is high quality. In this career, you may help set up equipment, record live and studio audio and edit materials in post-production. Depending on your field, you may work inside a recording studio or in the field. Hours may be long or unusual if you are trying to meet a deadline or work in broadcast.


Requirements for recording engineers can vary between employers. Nearly all require a high school diploma or GED equivalent. On top of that, many employers prefer candidates with an associate's degree, certificate or vocational training. These programs can take several months to two years to complete, and cover music theory, editing software, post-production and mixing. Once hired, it's likely that you'll need to complete additional, on-the-job training, which is necessary to become familiar with the equipment, software and setup used by your employer.

In December 2012, employers looked for the following:

  • A marketing agency in Ohio sought a recording engineer with audio recording experience, proficiency in editing software, creativity and a good ear.
  • An audio and video consulting firm in New York City advertised for an engineer with at least three years of experience. Job duties included technology consulting, site supervision and technical support.
  • In New York City, a large media company advertised for an audio studio tech. Applicants needed knowledge of microphones, audio boards and industry standards, five years of experience, the ability to work outside of normal business hours and proficiency in production operations.

Standing Out

As a recording engineer, you can stand out by earning a voluntary certification. The Society of Broadcast Engineers offers a variety of specialty certifications that demonstrate your ability to meet industry standards and quality benchmarks. To qualify, you must pass an exam and pay a fee. You can also benefit from gaining experience in the field. By working in video production during high school and college, or spending time in a smaller market, you can earn the credentials necessary to work in a large market.


Directors oversee the creative decisions for movies, TV shows, plays and other productions. They choose scripts, instruct actors and crewmembers, oversee set production and work with editors in post-production. Directors work with producers to ensure that deadlines are met and budgets are followed. In this career, you are likely to work long and unusual hours. Many directors travel often and may experience periods of unemployment between projects.


Most directors earn a bachelor's degree. Majors in film studies, journalism and theatre can prepare you for work in the film and production industry. To become a director, you'll also need experience. You may work as an actor, assistant director or in another, lower-level position to become qualified.

In December 2012, employers of directors sought the following:

  • In Pennsylvania, a university television station sought a sports producer and director to manage facilities and personnel, supervise supporting production staff and work non-traditional hours. Candidates needed a bachelor's degree, two years of experience, a valid driver's license and the ability to work collaboratively.
  • A Florida university advertised for an associate director of video production to join a production team in creating videos in a new classical music laboratory. Applicants needed a bachelor's degree, experience with the latest industry technology and camera operation, the ability to manage others and familiarity with a multitude of video editing software programs.
  • In Louisiana, a university's office of public affairs sought a director of video production to edit and produce video projects including web videos, marketing projects and public service announcements, oversee staff members, manage equipment and ensure that projects stayed on budget.

Standing Out

You can stand out as a director by completing a specialized continuing education program. The Directors Guild of America (DGA) offers an assistant director training program where you can get hands-on training on a real film or television set. You can also benefit from getting an advanced degree. A master's degree, such as the Master of Fine Arts in Theatre, can provide instruction on acting, writing and set design.

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