Learn how to chart a successful career path as a video editor without a degree. Explore various routes to gain the critical experience and technical skills necessary for this creative profession.

Key Insights

  • Video editing is a viable career option for individuals without a formal degree. Experience and technical skills are often more vital than academic qualifications in this field.
  • Video editors work in various visual media fields, using professional-grade applications like Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro to create compelling narratives.
  • Career paths in video editing are varied, with professionals coming from disciplines such as communications, creative writing, and visual arts. Practical planning and acquiring technical training can lead to successful careers without significant student loan debts.
  • Building a career in video editing involves determining your path, acquiring necessary software and skills, completing projects, building a professional portfolio, making industry connections, and finally, starting your job search.
  • Noble Desktop offers a range of resources for aspiring video editors, providing a comprehensive overview of the profession and training opportunities in various relevant editing applications.
  • Aspiring video editors can develop their skills through different courses offered by Noble Desktop, such as Premiere Pro Bootcamp and After Effects in a Day course. They also offer certificate programs for those looking to diversify their portfolios.

How to Become a Video Editor Without a Degree

Many believe a two or four-year degree is the only pathway to success. However, it’s exceedingly possible for aspiring video editors to pursue this career path without a degree in filmmaking or a related field. If you explore video editor jobs on job search websites like LinkedIn and Monster, you will likely notice that very few require applicants to have degrees. Instead, many companies seek creative minds with experience over education and a strong work ethic. Use the following article to begin charting your path as a video editor, regardless of your educational background. 

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.

Can You Really Become a Video Editor Without a Degree?

Video editing attracts creative minds from multiple disciplines, walks of life, and artistic visions, each taking a different career path. While some video editors arrive with a degree in cinematography or Film and Television Production, others come from communications, creative writing, and visual arts fields. Many successful professional video editors do not even have an undergraduate degree. Instead, they’ve pursued technical training and experience opportunities. Degrees do not guarantee careers in the video editing profession. More frequently, professionals find success through practical planning that doesn’t require large student loan debts. 

Video Editing Certificate: Live & Hands-on, In NYC or Online, 0% Financing, 1-on-1 Mentoring, Free Retake, Job Prep. Named a Top Bootcamp by Forbes, Fortune, & Time Out. Noble Desktop. Learn More.

Experience and technical skills should be the focal point of building your video editing career. Video editors can gain experience through paid and unpaid opportunities. Before determining which route is best for you, consider the time and expense you can dedicate to becoming a video editor. If cash is tight, you may want to search for the most direct pathway to making money, such as working part-time as a Freelancer or searching for entry-level positions. Financially stable professionals can pursue unpaid internships with much larger companies. While these opportunities may not be glamorous, internships offer a less competitive foot in the door than higher-level positions. 

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.

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.