Becoming a Producer: Degree Programs and Training

Learn how to embark on a career as a producer in the movie or television industry. Review your degree options in fields like film production, and explore the course topics you'd study. Read more about what you'd do as a producer for a film or TV show. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Tasks Would I Have as a Producer?

A film or television producer is someone who incorporates different ideas in order to tell a story. The producer is typically also responsible for dealing with many of the business aspects of creating a film or show, including finding financial backing, organizing auditions and scheduling filming sessions. If you would like to become a producer, you will need a broad range of education, training and experiences.

Key DutiesScheduling filming, conducting auditions, securing finances for a production, helping with the film or show's storytelling
Career Preparation There is no set path to becoming a producer; however, earning a degree may increase your job prospects
Degree Levels Associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees
Common Courses Marketing, digital media, accounting, screenwriting, cinematography
Median Salary (2018)$71,680 (for producers and directors)*
Job Outlook (2016-26)12% growth (for all producers and directors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will Prepare Me for this Profession?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that there is no single path to becoming a producer ( People who are in the industry in other capacities - acting, writing, directing, editing, managing or publicizing - often move into producer roles.

Credentials in arts management are listed by the BLS as one option for aspiring producers. Some colleges and universities also offer degrees tailored to this specific sliver of the industry.

What Degrees Are Available to Me?

There are 2-year, 4-year and advanced degrees available in film production. Most will train you in film and production techniques, but also in the skills needed for behind-the-scenes responsibilities. Online degrees are rare; hands-on experiences and the state-of-the-art software and equipment needed in this profession are better suited to on-campus programs.

If you are just beginning your undergraduate career, you may be interested in enrolling in an associate's degree program. This track might require you to work for a local studio outside of school hours in addition to taking classes. This will provide you with practical experience and skills, as well as the opportunity to determine how interested you really are in the production industry.

Alternatively, or after you obtain an associate's degree, you can enroll in a 4-year program that leads to a bachelor's degree. You'll learn the history of film and television and master storytelling, lighting, sound, post-production, business and management skills. You may be required to produce a short film individually or in collaboration with other film production students.

If you already have an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree program is another option. You can enroll in a master's degree program that focuses solely on film production techniques, or you could choose a master's program that focuses both on production techniques and on the business aspects of production. The time to complete the programs may vary, but it typically takes from 2-3 years.

What Classes Will I Take?

As a producer you will oversee numerous facets of a film or show, including using both auditory and visual stimuli to tell a story. Your creative classes might include:

  • Sound recording and design
  • Cinematography
  • Art direction
  • Digital media
  • Screenwriting
  • Lighting
  • Post-production editing
  • Storytelling
  • Animation

In addition to creative classes, you will also be required to take classes that focus on the business side of production. Some examples include:

  • Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Legal and ethical issues in film
  • Global economy

While classes can provide you with a wealth of knowledge, hands-on experience is also vital to future success as a producer. Therefore, many schools offer or require an internship in addition to coursework. In an internship you will see how business and production takes place in the real world, and you will be able to test your skills while receiving guidance from a professional.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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