Acquiring a degree is a common first step for many aspiring Video Editors, providing a solid foundation and industry recognition. However, many employers prioritize practical skills and a compelling portfolio, leading some professionals to choose alternative pathways like independent learning, internships, or certification courses.

Key Insights

  • Video Editors use professional applications such as Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro to transform raw footage into modern movie masterpieces, frequently working with advertisers, filmmakers, and other visual media fields.
  • While a degree in a related field like film studies or communication can enhance understanding and provide a solid foundation, many employers prioritize practical skills and a creative portfolio.
  • Alternative pathways to a video editing career include learning independently through live online classes or certificate courses, internships, and apprenticeships.
  • Noble Desktop offers video editing classes and certificate programs to help professionals keep their skills current, with many successful Video Editors choosing this route.
  • Common degrees for Video Editors include Film Production, History of Film and Photography, Communications, and Cinematography. These degrees can provide relevant skills and background knowledge for the field.
  • Many Video Editors diversify their technical skills by enrolling in relevant introductory and refresher courses such as Premiere Pro Classes or After Effects and Photoshop courses.

What Degree Do You Need to Become a Video Editor?

The first career step for many aspiring Video Editors is to acquire two or four-year degrees in a related field. While this is only one of several ways to jumpstart your video career, college degrees can signal to employers that you have the basic skills to succeed professionally. Video Editors may seed their professional networks with their professors to add validity to their qualifications for internships and other entry-level positions. Keep reading to determine if earning a college degree is a logical step toward your video editing career or if a more direct pathway is best for acquiring the job of your dreams. 

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.

Do I Need a Degree to Become a Video Editor?

The question of whether you need a degree to become a Video Editor is often debated. Although having a degree can give you an edge in terms of theoretical knowledge and industry recognition, it's not always a strict requirement for getting into this field. Many employers prioritize practical skills, creativity, and a compelling portfolio over formal education. However, having a degree in a relevant field, like film studies, communication, or graphic design, can undoubtedly enhance your understanding and provide a solid foundation for your career.

Still, there are other ways to break into this field. Learning independently through live online classes or certificate courses is one route that many successful Video Editors have taken. This approach allows you to learn at your own pace and focus on acquiring the specific skills you need. Likewise, internships and apprenticeships can provide hands-on experience and opportunities to network. Remember, consistently refining your skills and building an impressive portfolio showcasing your technical prowess and creative vision is the most important thing. This, combined with the determination to learn and improve, can lead you on a successful path in video editing, with or without a degree.

Read more about if you need a degree to become a Video Editor.

Common Degrees for Video Editors

When exploring degrees relevant to your video editing career, remember that the experiences and skills you gain while acquiring the degree are as valuable as the degree itself. Research the Video Editor job postings you intend to pursue out of college to discover which degree programs teach the skills and software programs you need to be successful in those careers. Also note that grade point averages (GPA) are only one part of what employers will look for on your application. Challenging yourself with classes that teach the technical and soft skills required to be a successful video editor will ultimately be much more rewarding than an easy A. 

Here are some of the top degrees that successful video editors pursue throughout their careers.

Film Production

A degree in film production will help you understand the filmmaking process from start to finish. Most Film Production students learn the soft and hard skills necessary to become Video Editors, including using production software, managing teams, and creating cohesive narratives. This degree is essential for video editing jobs, including Storyboard Artists, Film Producers, and Production Sound Mixers.

The History of Film and Photography

Are you seeking a degree that will give you the vocabulary and background knowledge to define your artistic identity? Look no further than a degree in the history of film and photography! This multifaceted degree uses examples set by film industry titans to understand filmmakers’ historical and contemporary practices. Ideal for video editors who want to work in storyboarding, cinematography, or with screenwriters, this degree will give you the background knowledge necessary to navigate the film industry with ease. 


Are you interested in the more technical aspects of filmmaking? Consider pursuing a degree in photography. Photography programs teach video editors how to light, shoot, and organize a scene. Many programs also teach essential software programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects. 


A communications degree explores the core of video editing–the ability to convey complex themes, ideas, and practices to an audience appealingly and engagingly. While communication degrees usually teach skills beyond your typical responsibilities as a Video Editor, including designing and writing articles, press releases, and educational guides, these skills will be very relevant if you plan to become a freelancer or dabble in multimedia production as a contractor.

Radio and Television Broadcasting 

Are you looking for an avenue to understand the full spectrum of audio and film production? Consider pursuing a degree in radio and television broadcasting. These programs generally focus on providing students with practical experience in broadcast and media production. Broadcasting students also learn the background knowledge and skills to navigate the more technical aspects of these professions successfully. Why limit yourself to textbook learning and exams when you can explore the video editing career behind the camera? 


Cinematography covers the technical skills and production capabilities necessary to create dynamic films and television shows. Cinematography degree programs combine hands-on experience with technical skills and knowledge, allowing students to begin building their professional portfolio and network while still in school. Many aspiring Audio, Film, and Television Editors pursue degrees in cinematography to learn basic and advanced lighting, camera, and sound mixing skills. 

Tips for Starting a Video Editor Career Without a Degree

If you want to become a Video Editor without a four-year university time and expense commitment, you are in luck! Many Video Editing jobs do not require a degree. Instead, your application should demonstrate the qualifications you’ve gained through experience and alternative forms of training. Here are some tricks to help you break into the video editing field without breaking the bank:

Acquire Certifications or Certificates Related to Video Editing.

Practical experience in the field is foundational to nearly every Video Editing job. While employment history demonstrates your relevant technical and soft skills to hiring managers and potential clients, Video Editing certificates and certifications in specific software programs are arguably the most direct way to demonstrate the breadth and depth of your skills as an editing professional. 

Video editing certificates and certifications are essential qualifications for professionals in the job market, so you may be curious about the best ones to pursue. Software certifications are relevant to anyone planning to become an instructor or programmer. However, these qualifications have a shelf life of about three to four years before you must renew them. Many Video Editors looking to demonstrate their skills will instead enroll in video editing classes and certificate programs to help them keep their skills and knowledge current.

Diversify Your Technical Skills and Talents.

Certificates are one of many ways to expand your knowledge and demonstrate your skills to potential employers. Many Video Editors keep their skills current by enrolling in relevant introductory and refresher courses. Consider honing your editing skills with Premiere Pro Classes or expanding your Adobe Creative Cloud abilities with After Effects and Photoshop courses. If you are an established professional looking to break into a new type of video editing, you may want to explore a new software program, such as Final Cut Pro or Cinema 4D. Many of these classes balance hard and soft skills acquisition, positioning you to be competitive in your industry. 

Build Your Portfolio Through Freelancing and Other Entry-Level Positions.

Despite the accepted wisdom of needing a bachelor’s degree or higher, most entry-level video editing jobs do not require a four-year degree. Many Video Editors enter the field by pursuing freelance video editing jobs and building connections through entry-level positions. While you will likely not have complete creative control in these lower-paying positions, you can build a robust portfolio as you progress toward your dream job. 

Build an Online Presence Through Professional Social Networking Platforms. 

Self-promotion is always awkward, especially when you prefer to work behind the scenes. Nevertheless, professional profiles on LinkedIn and Stage 32 can help you build connections and meet potential clients. Are you looking for a way to put your best foot forward? Check out these tips for building a successful professional profile

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.

Key Takeaways