Movie Editing Degree Programs and Schools

Movie editors provide an essential element to the post-production process, utilizing their creativity and aesthetic vision to turn raw footage into a finished motion picture. Learn more about job responsibilities, education requirements, professional organizations and the career outlook. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

As a movie editor, you are involved with post-production in motion pictures. You can pursue a degree related to movie editing as an undergraduate or a graduate student. Editing programs include courses that will introduce you to editing aesthetics, including experimental creative styles.

Programs Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's
Courses Editing Theory, After Effects/Photoshop, Lighting for Film and Video, Advanced After Effects, Final Cut Pro X, Cinematography
Schools 2- and 4-year colleges and universities; technical schools; film schools

What Will I Learn in Movie Editing Programs?

You will learn the components of movie editing, including the nature of film editing terminology, such as close-ups, cross-cutting, fade out, establishing shots and sequence shots. Editing programs also involve training in digital software programs, such as Avid and Final Cut Pro.

An education in film editing involves post-production projects that will provide you with clips for your portfolio. Students work together to complete all steps of film production, including film editing. These schools are among those that offer degree programs related to movie editing:

  • Columbia University (New York, NY)
  • Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore)
  • Academy of Art University (San Francisco, CA)
  • New York Film Academy (CA, NY, FL)
  • Seattle Film Institute (WA)

What Undergraduate Degree Programs are Available?

At the undergraduate level, students may choose to enroll in an Associate in Arts, Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts program in a field like motion pictures and television, media studies, film production or filmmaking. These programs cover a range of concepts in addition to editing, such as communication, marketing and interactive narrative. Film formats will be covered, such as 16mm, 35mm and HD. Course topics in undergraduate programs may include:

  • Screenwriting
  • Pre/post-production
  • Cinematography
  • Legal aspects of filmmaking
  • Basic drawing skills and visual presentations

What Graduate Degree Programs are Available?

At the graduate level, students might choose a Master of Arts in Writing and Directing for Film or a Master of Fine Arts in Motion Pictures and Television program. Coursework for these programs may include advanced-level editing techniques, the creation of a demo reel and website, camera work, lighting schemes and the creation of a feature script. A Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking is also available. Coursework in this program might include filmmaking studio work and studio electives. Some other degree options include a Master of Fine Arts in Film, a Master of Arts in Film and Media Studies or a Master of Arts in Producing.

Can Any Organizations Help Me?

The American Cinema Editors (ACE) is an organization that provides internships and student competitions. ACE grants membership to editors once they have established themselves through academic accomplishment or work experience. As a working editor, you may choose to join the Editor's Guild in order to gain access to opportunities and occupational protections in the motion picture industry.

What Are My Career Prospects?

You may wish to gain experience in editing for local television, marketing production, music videos or instructional/training videos. Along with advanced education, these occupations can help you gain experience and develop an eclectic portfolio that can lead to work in the motion picture industry. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections, film and video editors will see an employment increase of 17% in their profession from 2016 to 2026 (www.bls.gov). The BLS' 2017 statistics show a median salary of $61,680 for film and video editors, with the most employment in California, by far.

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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