Interested in becoming a video editor but not sure where to start? This guide opens up the world of video editing, from understanding the profession and the necessary tools to outlining potential career paths and educational opportunities that can fast-track your success.

Key Insights:

  • Understanding Video Editing: Video editors combine artistic and organizational skills to compile, edit, and produce different types of audio and visual content into unique media. This might involve working with filmmakers, advertisers, social media companies, and more to create compelling narratives.
  • Essential Tools for Video Editing: Video editors primarily use professional-grade editing software programs. These can vary widely depending on the industry and company, but popular choices include Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro. Adequate hardware and a steady internet connection are also crucial.
  • Educational Opportunities for Aspiring Video Editors: Several learning opportunities are available for those interested in video editing. Noble Desktop offers short-term classes, bootcamps, and comprehensive certificate programs that can guide students in learning essential software programs and developing a professional portfolio.
  • Steps to Becoming a Video Editor: Key steps to become a video editor include determining your path, mapping out necessary software and costs, learning the required material, completing projects, building a professional portfolio, making industry connections, and beginning your job search.
  • Video Editor Career Paths: Aspiring video editors can choose to work as freelancers or follow a more traditional career path that could involve internships and entry-level positions. The necessary skills, qualifications, and experience vary depending on the chosen path.
  • The Rewards of Being a Video Editor: Video editing provides a unique blend of technical and creative challenges, making it a stimulating and rewarding career choice. As the demand for video content grows, so do opportunities in this field. On average, a video editor in the United States makes $60,000, with top earners making over $100,000.

How to Become a Video Editor

Whether you have just completed your undergraduate degree or have twenty years of experience in a different industry, a career in the video editing field is accessible to you. While launching a new video editing career may initially seem daunting, being clear on the appropriate steps toward your goal can make the process much simpler and less stressful. Keep reading to learn more about free and paid resources and tools to help you launch your video editing career. 

What is a Video Editor?

If you’re looking for a career that combines your artistic and organizational skills into a cohesive, creative experience, consider pursuing training as a Video Editor. Video Editors are responsible for compiling, editing, and producing different types of audio and visual content into a coherent and unique form of media. They frequently work with advertisers, filmmakers, directors, social media companies, and other visual media fields to create seamless and compelling narratives. 

Video Editors use professional-grade applications such as Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro to transform raw footage shot onsite or at a soundstage into the modern movie masterpieces we see on our screens today. Editing includes smoothing the transitions between camera angles, removing background noises, and adding sound and visual effects. Video editors also transform ordinary greenscreens and tennis balls into fantastical landscapes and mythical figures. 

Read more about the responsibilities of a Video Editor.

What Tools Do I Need To Get Started?

Video Editors use professional-grade editing software programs to transform disjointed clips into a seamless narrative. Depending on their industry and company, video editors may use different software programs per their project needs. With several professional video editing programs available, conducting independent research before committing to one program is essential. 

First, ensure you have the proper hardware and software to run these programs. A computer with high RAM capacity and a fast internet connection will ensure a steady pathway for learning these professional skills and tools. You will also want to double-check that you have the proper computer to run the programs. While Adobe Creative Cloud works well on Macs and PCs, programs like Final Cut Pro are intended only for Mac computers. 

Choosing the most appropriate video editing software can be a challenge. The cost of these programs ranges from free to several hundred dollars a year. Many programs, such as those in the Adobe Creative Cloud, require a monthly or yearly subscription and are updated regularly at no extra cost. Apple’s Final Cut Pro has a single flat fee and can be updated for free as necessary. While choosing the least expensive option is tempting, consider a few factors first. For one, many industries and businesses expect their employees to have high proficiency in a specific program. If you intend to work in a specific industry, browse the job postings of multiple companies to determine the program you prefer. This primary research can ensure you do not waste time and money on a program not used frequently in your industry. 

After identifying your preferred software program, explore learning opportunities and other forms of support that can help you learn to use its tools and features properly. Several different learning formats are available depending on your financial needs and schedule. Students looking for an overview of a program’s functionality may choose courses like Premiere Pro in a Day or After Effects in a Day. These short-term classes help new video editors learn the programs’ user interfaces and the basic functionalities of many of their tools.

If you’re looking for more in-depth program overviews, consider enrolling in the Final Cut Pro Bootcamp or Premiere Pro Bootcamp, which are more project-oriented and cover more advanced tools. Certificate programs, such as Noble Desktop’s Video Editing Certificate and Video Editing and Motion Graphics Certificate, are ideal for those serious about becoming professional video editors. These programs help you develop a workflow using multiple software programs and begin producing video editing projects. Significantly, these certificate programs also help design your professional portfolio and develop the soft skills necessary to be successful in the job market. 

Steps to Become a Video Editor

When starting as a Video Editor, the first step is determining your path and deciding which route you want to take. There are several approaches to learning video editing; you can take live classes, watch online tutorials, or learn independently. Each option has its merits, so finding the best method for you is important. Here's a brief summary of common steps to becoming a Video Editor.

Step #1: Determine Your Path

Begin your video editing journey by identifying the type of work you intend to pursue as a Video Editor. Do you plan to work in advertising, filmmaking, television, or social media? Would you like to work for a large or small company or as a self-employed freelancer? Each job type and employment opportunity has different expertise, experience, and skills expectations. Use job-finding sites like LinkedIn or Monster to learn more about the most common technical training, software program proficiency, and expertise needed to acquire your dream job. 

Step #2: Map Out Software and Costs

Once you have a clear idea of the job you want and its requirements, begin mapping out how you can acquire the necessary skills and experience at a reasonable cost and time. Choose one or more software programs you want to use as a professional Video Editor. Ensure you have the hardware and software necessary to run these programs, including a computer with high RAM capacity and high-speed internet access. While you may be tempted to cut corners at this stage, having all the necessary tools will save you time, money, and stress in the long run. 

Step #3: Learn the Required Material

After ensuring you have the necessary tools, it's time to dive into the material. Whether you choose an in-person class, live online certificate course, or want to follow a free seminar, ensure you acquire the skills needed for your chosen profession. This is also the time to try and master the skills required for the specific software and industry you want to specialize in. Some of the most common skills required by professional Video Editors are basic editing, color correction and grading, sound design, motion graphics, and animation.

Step #4: Complete Projects

Practicing is the best way to gain experience as a Video Editor. Allocate specific time for working on projects that you can include in your portfolio. This will help demonstrate your skill level and give potential employers an insight into your style and capabilities. Additionally, it's important to stay up to date with the latest technology and trends in the industry, as these can affect how you approach each project with your team or client. 

Step #5: Build a Professional Portfolio

Having a strong portfolio is essential if you want to acquire freelance jobs or get hired by top production studios. Ensure you add all your best works to the portfolio, including briefly describing each project and its techniques. When creating your portfolio, consider what employers look for in potential candidates, and include the most impressive work at the beginning. A portfolio is the backbone of any Video Editor's résumé, and it’s essential to have one ready for employers when applying for jobs. 

Step #6: Make Industry Connections

Networking is critical in the film industry, so don't underestimate the importance of making contacts early on. Consider joining professional organizations, online groups, and forums in the video editing field. You can also approach VFX (visual effects) supervisors, fashion photographers, and TV producers for advice or opportunities to build experience. This is an effective way of building your network and getting feedback on your work from industry professionals. 

Step 7: Begin Your Job Search

Once you have gained the necessary skills and built a strong portfolio, the final step is to start looking for work. You can use job-finding websites like Monster or Indeed to find openings in your desired field. Additionally, you can always approach clients directly or look into freelance opportunities to increase your chances of getting hired. The job search process can feel frustrating, but it's an excellent opportunity to build confidence, refine your skills, and make yourself stand out from the competition.

Video Editor Career Path

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to becoming a successful Video Editor, but there are several paths you can take. Each path has a different set of skills and qualifications, so it's important to understand what is expected of each role before pursuing a career in Video Editing. Freelancing and independent contractors are attractive options for many aspiring Video Editors, as it allows them to bypass the traditional corporate structures and work on projects that align with their own interests and passions. Many freelance jobs can be landed without formal qualifications or degrees, but it's important to understand the industry and have a portfolio of work showcasing your skills. 

If you want to pursue a more traditional career path as a Video Editor, many jobs require at least some formal education. Many universities offer video editing, motion graphics design, and visual effects design courses. These courses can help you gain insight into the field and learn the necessary practical skills for a successful career in video editing. Internships are also a great way to get your foot in the door, as they offer invaluable experience and mentorship from experienced professionals. It's important to ensure any internship you take is paid, as there are many qualification standards and laws around unpaid internships that can be difficult to navigate. 

Once you have the skills and experience required for the job, it's time to apply for entry-level positions. Entry-level jobs as a Video Editor usually involve assisting senior editors and producers with shooting, editing, color correction, motion graphics, and sound design. Mid-level Video Editors often take on more responsibility and creative control, while senior Video Editors can take on larger projects with bigger budgets.

Read more about the typical Video Editor career path

Why Become A Video Editor?

Becoming a Video Editor offers many opportunities in the dynamically growing digital world. This profession harnesses a unique blend of technical proficiency and creativity, making it a stimulating and rewarding career choice. As visual content continues to dominate the media landscape, the demand for skilled Video Editors is constantly rising. From movies and television to online media and advertising, Video Editors can work in various sectors, making the profession versatile and promising. Additionally, the role of a Video Editor goes beyond just technical editing; it's about storytelling. Video Editors can shape narratives, evoke emotions, and convey messages in meaningful and compelling ways. Each project brings new challenges and requires original solutions, ensuring that the work remains engaging and never mundane. Additionally, with the advent of cutting-edge editing software and technologies, the creative possibilities within this field are virtually limitless.

Lastly, the video editing profession offers fair compensation. Remuneration is commensurate with experience and skill level, making it an attractive option for those looking to make a career in video editing. The average Video Editor makes $60,000 in the United States, with top earners making over $100,000. Video Editors can also progress in their careers by expanding their skill set and working on more complex projects. Overall, the profession of a Video Editor is stimulating and rewarding, with ample growth opportunities. This could be the perfect career path for anyone interested in combining creative expression and technical proficiency.

Read more about whether Video Editor is a good career.

Learn the Skills to Become a Video Editor at Noble Desktop

Are you excited to begin your video editor career but unsure where to start? Don’t stress! Noble Desktop is here to help! Noble Desktop offers many resources relevant to video editors at each leg of their professional journey. Professionals looking for a road map to entering or building their careers can explore training opportunities and career paths through Noble Desktop’s Learn Video Editing Page. Editors looking for a comprehensive overview of educational and practical training opportunities offered live online and in-person should check out Noble Desktop’s Video Editing Topic Page. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the video editing profession and relevant editing applications that professionals regularly use. 

Video Editors use various professional-grade applications to design and create their projects. But how do you determine which programs to add to your tool kit? Noble Desktop provides a comprehensive archive of learning resources that detail the functionality, level of learning difficulty, and cost of learning different applications. Foundationally, most professionals are well-versed in video editing software such as Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. If you are already established in the field and looking to gain a competitive edge in the job market, consider learning more about motion graphics software like After Effects or 3D animation and modeling through Cinema 4D

As you explore these sophisticated visual graphics programs, you will likely recognize that learning these intricate programs on your own can be a lonely and complicated process. Luckily, Noble Desktop offers live online and in-person courses for video editors at all stages of their careers. For example, professionals ready to dive into the video editing field may want to enroll in a Premiere Pro Bootcamp or After Effects in a Day course. These fast-paced classes are an excellent way to rapidly build your video editing skills with the guidance of an experienced instructor. Video editors looking to diversify their portfolios and demonstrate their skills to potential employers can pursue a Video Editing Certificate or a Video Editing and Motion Graphics Certificate. Students gain robust hands-on experience through small class sizes and project-based learning opportunities. Noble Desktop even offers a free retake option so students can refresh their skills and maximize their retention within a year of their class.