What Are the Educational Requirements for Movie Directors?

Do you ever watch movies and think about all the ways you could have made them better? Can you imagine your name rolling across the big screen? If so, you might be interested in a career as a movie director. While you might not need a degree to become a director, you could find formal education very helpful in starting a career. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Required Education for Movie Directors

Movie directors, sometimes referred to as film directors or simply directors, are the guiding creative force behind the movies that you watch. As a movie director, you'd be responsible for steering a production from inception to debut, which often includes casting actors, approving costumes, making creative decisions about lighting or choreography, editing and more. Although there are often no formal educational requirements for becoming a movie director, it's common for directors to have studied film in the world of higher education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, experience is necessary for directors, whether in directing, writing, acting or other area of the film industry (www.bls.gov).

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2019) $60,596*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 12% growth (for all producers and directors)**
Training Several years' work experience in film industry
Similar Occupations Film producers, actors, art directors, film and video editors, camera operators, writers and authors, multimedia artists and animators

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Degree Options

To be competitive in the industry, you might consider earning a degree in film. Whether you study at the undergraduate or graduate level, you'll gain perspective about the history of film and learn to successfully handle all aspects of directing.

Undergraduate Programs

Schools offer both associate and bachelor's degrees in film. At the associate level, you'll find that some programs focus on the technical aspects of film production, while others offer basic film training that can be applied to many careers, including directing. In a bachelor's degree program, such as film, film studies or film production, you'll undertake an interdisciplinary study of film. Study topics usually include criticism, theory, screenwriting, acting, genres and costume design.

To prepare you to take the helm as a director, many film programs require you to complete a short film as a final project. In addition to giving you a chance to direct a production, these projects give you a finished product you can use as a sample of your work.

Graduate Programs

You have a wide range of study options at the graduate level. Schools offer both master's and doctoral degrees in areas related to directing, including film studies, motion picture studies, cinema studies and visual studies. The focus of these programs varies from one school to the next; some instruct you on directing in an in-depth, hands-on manner, while others allow you to study film in a scholarly manner by researching an area of film you're interested in. No matter which focus you choose, a graduate degree will also prepare you to teach at the college level if you ever decide to leave your position as a movie director.

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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