TV Director: Career and Salary Facts

Find out what kind of education could prepare you for a career as a TV director. Learn about the responsibilities of these directors, and get facts about the competitive job market and salary potential. Schools offering Radio Broadcasting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a TV Director?

As a TV director, you will be responsible for the actual filming and production of a television show. You will interpret the scripts passed on by the show's writing team and will often work closely with the showrunner, or the program's creator, to make sure the filming runs smoothly. If you are working on a scripted television comedy or drama, you will often have just a little over a week to plan out the scheduling, costumes, staging, lighting and sets that will be used in a single episode. Below, the table outlines some important details about this career:

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Film & Television Production, Filmmaking, Directing
Key Responsibilities Oversee film crew, work with actors and provide direction for scenes, assist with production decisions
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 9% (for all producers and directors)
Median Salary (2015)* $68,440 (for all producers and directors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Duties of a TV Director?

As a TV director, you will coordinate and oversee the duties of the camera operators, technicians and crewmembers. You will also work with actors to make sure they understand what is expected of them in each scene.

Additionally, you will often have the final say over any decision that needs to be made during production. For example, you might be responsible for helping to choose a song to fit in with a particular scene, or for deciding where a scene can be shot. You will also need to work closely with TV producers to make sure that the production for a single episode does not go over budget.

What Education Will I Need?

You might follow several different educational paths to become a TV director. You might first gain experience as an actor or writer in the entertainment industry, or you might invest in your own equipment and try filming your own project to get your name out there and interest others in your talent.

If you are interested in completing an academic program in directing or TV production, you will find bachelor's and master's degree programs available at some colleges and universities. A Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television Production will help you learn how to develop the ability to tell a story through a visual medium. You might also consider enrolling in a master's degree program in film and television at a school in Los Angeles or New York, so that you might make connections that will help you find a career in the industry upon graduation. Some for-profit schools also offer certificate programs in filmmaking and directing that can give you a crash course on the industry.

How Will I Find a Job in the Field?

You will most likely have to move to either Los Angeles or New York City if you are interested in finding sustainable work as a TV director. You might work your way up to the position of TV director in several different ways. You could start out working in the camera department for a television show, and maneuver yourself into becoming an assistant director. You might also start out as a production assistant and work your way up through the ranks from that position. At some point, you will most likely need to find an agent, to establish yourself as a reputable professional. An agent can also help you find work as a TV director.

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lumps all directors and producers into a single category and reported that there were 104,650 of these professionals employed in the United States in 2015 (www.bls.gov). About 25,470 producers and directors worked for the radio and television broadcasting industries in 2015, according to the BLS. The average annual salary for producers in this industry that year was $72,020.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several related careers that require a bachelor's degree, such as art director, writer, author and top executive. Art directors create the visual style and design sense for a variety of productions, such as theatre performances and movies. Writers and authors develop nonfiction, advertising and creative content for things like songs, blogs, magazines and books. Top executives coordinate and oversee the daily functions of an organization and contribute to its success by implementing various policies and procedures.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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