How to Become
a Film Editor

Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications

The media and entertainment industry generates billions of dollars in revenue each year. However, no movie can get made without a film editor. Film editors are responsible for helping manage the post-production process and edit the film to its final form.

Are you interested in becoming a film editor? The comprehensive guide below can teach you more about the job outlook, salary expectations, and day-to-day activities. You can become a film editor in just a couple of years.

What Is a Film Editor?

Film editors are tech professionals who work on movies to edit images, video, and other media. They sometimes work with others in the field such as directors and producers to organize videos and images for final production.

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Editing is an integral part of the filmmaking process. Film editors use special editing techniques to turn raw footage into a polished final product. Editors and directors usually work together during the editing process, but final decisions ultimately lie with the directors.

What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become a Film Editor?

Aspiring film editors can attend a few different types of schools. Most entry-level employees have a Bachelor’s Degree in Cinematography, Video Editing, or a related field. Most employers in the film industry prefer hiring applicants with at least a bachelor’s degree.

The best school to attend to become a film editor is a university with a bachelor’s degree program in video editing or cinematography. You can learn film theory and get practical training. However, you can also choose a vocational school, community college, or other education track.

Best Film Editor Education Tracks

If you are wondering where to start your journey to become a film editor, below are some of the best education pathways that you should consider.


Vocational School

Vocational schools, also known as trade schools, offer technical courses that can train you for a specific career. These schools provide immersive, hands-on post-secondary training. You can choose a program in general art and design or digital media production.

Vocational school is a good option because it can provide more hands-on training than a university. You can work on real-world projects and get practice as if you were working in the field. Plus, a vocational school usually only takes one to three years.


Community College

Community colleges are academic institutions that offer two-year associate degrees. An associate degree only takes two years, and it is an ideal way to break into a specific career path in a short time. Community colleges are usually more affordable than four-year universities.

Many online colleges offer two-year programs in cinematography and editing, digital video production, and filmmaking. There are many employers in the film industry hiring candidates with associate degrees in related fields.


Film Editor Degrees

The best educational path to follow to become a film editor is a Bachelor’s Degree in Cinematography, Video Editing, or a related field. This degree will boost your credibility with employers because it is proof of your education and training. It can take four years to complete, but this depends on your schedule.

A bachelor’s degree can open up the door to many other job opportunities. If you have a bachelor’s degree, you are more likely to get a higher position in the field. You can become a lead editor and help organize the post-production team.


Film Editor Courses

You can also find specific courses that can teach you specific film editing skills. Such film editor courses include editing technology, visual editing, digital video, and color correction. You can also learn specific software like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premier.

Most of these courses are fairly short and range between a few days and a few months. You can check online course providers like Udemy, EditStock, and LinkedIn Learning. You can gain all the practical knowledge you need to put a film together. Keep in mind that most employers prefer formal education.

Step By Step Guide Film Editor

How to Become a Film Editor: A Step-by-Step Guide

Film editing requires hands-on practical experience. Most employers require a bachelor’s degree as the minimum to work in an entry-level position. However, there are other steps that you should follow along with your education.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to become a film editor.

Get familiar with film editing

The first step to becoming a film editor is to educate yourself about film editing. Consider setting time aside to watch many movies and pay attention to the editing. You can also watch YouTube video tutorials about basic editing skills and theory.

Attend film school

Once you know you want to pursue editing, you should choose your education track. You can choose a film school, college, or university. This step can take one to four years to complete.


Becoming a film editor requires a lot of practice and experience using editing software and equipment. Practicing is the best way to build up a portfolio to show employers. Try creating your own projects or picking up some freelance work.

Get a certification

Extra certifications open up more job opportunities. Consider earning a certification to make yourself more marketable. Such certification courses include the Certified Video Engineer program provided by the Society of Broadcast Engineers.

Apply for jobs

The last step after acquiring the necessary technical skills is to apply for jobs. Try looking for entry-level jobs first and then move up in the field.

Key Film Editor Skills

Key Film Editor Skills

Without neglecting soft skills, film editors need to acquire specific technical skills to work in the film production industry. Below are the most essential technical skills that you need to have as a film editor.

Adobe Products

Adobe products such as Photoshop and Premiere Pro CC are widely used in the production process. For such reasons, candidates with such skills are highly marketable in this job market. Consider earning an Adobe certification to open up more job opportunities.


Just like Adobe, Avid products are widely used in the mixing of audio and video media formats. Becoming skilled in such products is essential because part of a film editor’s work is to mix sound in audio and video.

Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro is an editing software from Apple mainly used by video and film editors. Film editors need to know their way around Final Cut Pro because it is widely used in this industry. You can get a professional certification in Final Cut Pro to prove your skills.

Film Editor Salary and Job Outlook

As a film editor, your salary will vary depending on the location and the film production or editing company. With that said, you can expect to earn around $61,900 as a film and video editor, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In addition to the reasonably high salary, the demand for film and video editors is gradually increasing. According to the BLS, the job market for film and video editors is growing at a rate of 18 percent. This is higher than the national average rate.

Min salary


Average salary


Top salary


Entry-Level Film Editor Job Requirements

A film editor takes raw footage and converts it into a polished video. However, the job description is not limited to only one task. Below are some of the most common duties and responsibilities of a film editor.

What Does a Film Editor Do?

A film editor takes raw footage and converts it into a polished video. However, the job description is not limited to only one task. Below are some of the most common duties and responsibilities of a film editor.

Uses Visual Effects

Depending on your field, you might have to work with other teams like visual effects editors. You can learn more about visual effects and implement them into your editing process. As a film editor, you will use various computer software and other technical equipment to edit raw footage.

Works With a Team

Part of your work as the film editor is to work with a team to create a cohesive film. You should read the script and meet with the film director to understand their vision and expectations. After editing, you will work with the production team to make any necessary revisions and prepare the final cut for release.

Visits the Filming Location

It is common for film and video editors to make visits to the filming site to better understand how the shooting progresses. Occasionally, the director might ask for the editor’s opinion about the current state of the production.

Film Editor Certifications

Pursuing extra certification in film editing will open up more job opportunities in the future. Not only that, but it will also make you eligible for certain job promotions. Consider the following film editor certifications.

Avid Certified Professional: Media Composer

The Avid Certified Professional Media Composer certification can help you get a better job in the field. It can prove that you have advanced skills and a mastery of specific techniques. Before gaining this title, you need to be an Avid Certified User. The courses are available anywhere worldwide at Avid partner schools and training centers.

Certified Associate in Digital Video Using Adobe Premiere Pro

One way to advance your skills and get better employment opportunities is to earn an Adobe certification. This certification can prove that you are an expert video editor in Premiere. Afterward, you can also pass the Adobe Certified Expert Exam if you want to work with other software.

Film Editor Interview

How to Prepare for Your Film Editor Job Interview

Your job interview is the most important stage in the hiring process. You should prepare for your interview by becoming familiar with common interview questions. Doing so will help you practice your answers and become more confident.

Below are some of the most popular film editor practice questions you should consider using to ace your next job interview.

Film Editor Job Interview Practice Questions

  • How long have you been editing videos and films?
  • What video editing tools are you familiar with?
  • What equipment do you use for filming and editing?
  • Do you have experience working with an editing team?
  • What do you least like about becoming a film or video editor?

How Long Does It Take to Become a Film Editor?

Depending on the career path you choose to follow, it could take you anywhere from one to seven years to become a professional film editor. A bachelor’s degree, which most employers prefer, takes about four years to complete.

With that said, editing films is a lifelong learning process. As an entry-level editor, you might take an extra two to three years to master proper editing. After that, you should be ready to edit any kind of movie you want.

Associate degree


Bachelor’s degree


Master’s degree


Should You Become a Film Editor in 2021?

Yes, you should become a film editor in 2021. Apart from the decent salary, most film and video editors are growing in demand each year. This means that as a film editor, you’ll always have job opportunities.

If you have a knack for film or working with computer editing software, you should consider this career path. There are plenty of ways to become a film and video editor, but a bachelor’s degree is the most useful. You should start learning today to become a film editor.

Film Editor FAQ

What does a film editor do?

A film editor helps cut a film together to prepare it for release. This can include implementing the sound effects and visual effects to arrive at a polished film or video product.

How do you become a film editor?

The best way to become a film editor is by attending a university or college that offers programs in film and video editing. Most employers prefer bachelor’s degrees.

Is film editing a good career?

Yes, editing films is a good career with a high salary. Not only that, but this career path offers more job opportunities with more experience and knowledge.

How much money do film editors make?

As a film editor, your salary will vary depending on the location and the film production company. With that said, you can expect to earn an average salary of over $60,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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