Cinema Editor Colleges and Degrees

If you are a visual thinker with an eye for detail, film editing may be for you. Read on for information about where to go to school to learn film editing techniques, and see what your career options are after graduation. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Cinema editing is a tough field to break into, and choosing a film school is an important factor to help prospective film editors make the connections necessary to succeed in this this field. There are a variety of degree programs available for students to choose from that will prepare them for entry in this creative field.

Degrees Certificate, bachelor's degree, master's degree
Programs Film production; film editing; filmmaking technology
Career Outlook (2012-2022) 3% growth

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Cinema Editing Programs Are There?

A variety of cinema editing programs are offered by art schools and other colleges and universities. You can choose from certificate programs in film editing, bachelor's degree programs in film and motion picture production, and Master of Fine Arts in Film Production degree programs.

Certificate programs vary in length, ranging from three courses and about 9 credits to 3-semester, 34 credit programs. Many programs require you to have completed high school or earned an equivalent diploma and receive qualifying scores on one of the college entrance exams.

Bachelor's degree programs are 4-year liberal arts programs focusing in the last two years on technical aspects of film production. You'll have to take a variety of general education courses in addition to your film study.

MFA programs are typically 3-year programs culminating in a creative thesis project. Admissions to these programs tend to be highly competitive, and graduates are prepared to enter the film industry with a high level of technical and theoretical knowledge of film production. The professors, alums, and guest speakers in MFA programs are often successful working professionals. The connections you develop by earning MFA in film program may prove invaluable as you begin your career.

What Will I Learn?

Undergraduate film production programs will train you in many different aspects of film production. You can expect to take classes focusing on producing, directing, writing, lighting techniques, working with actors, and the business of filmmaking. If your focus is on becoming a cinema editor, you may be able to seek out editing internships while as an undergraduate. You may also be able to do a senior thesis project focused on editing.

Certificate programs offer a small number of specialized editing courses. These programs may be a good additional credential to earn after you have completed a bachelor's degree, although they usually only require a high school diploma for entrance. These programs may include courses in digital editing, editing basics, audio editing or Final Cut Pro, an industry standard editing program.

MFA programs will provide you with the opportunity to develop short films for entrance to film festivals. Courses cover several technical aspects of filmmaking, but unlike bachelor's degree programs, most students enter MFA programs with a stronger background in the field. You'll work with other students as well as the faculty to create your own independent films.

Which Program Will Best Help Start My Career?

The film industry is extraordinarily tough to break into, and school contacts can play a big role in landing you your first job. If you have no industry contacts whatsoever, the more structured training programs you enter, the greater chance you have of developing professional relationships. In this case a bachelor's or MFA degree program might be right for you. If you have some professional contacts, but want to develop your editing skills in a school setting before seeking employment, a certificate program may serve your needs very well.

You may want to consider the location of each school in relation to the film industry. Since the majority of the business is centered in Los Angeles and New York, a school in or close to those cities may offer the greatest opportunities for professional networking.

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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