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How to Become a Video Editor

Written by: Hilbert College   •  Nov 26, 2023
 A video editor editing a film on a computer.

How to Become a Video Editor

Video editors transform a series of images and sounds into a captivating story or engaging piece of art. All films, whether they are feature films or commercials advertising a product, begin with footage that video editors must cut and compile before the final film is ready for viewing, making video editors a vital part of the production process.

By learning how to become a video editor, individuals can take the first step toward a career in film, television, advertising or any of a growing number of other industries that create and use video. In fact, according to a 2023 report from Wyzowl, 91% of businesses now use video as part of their marketing strategy. To stand out from their peers, aspiring video editors should develop critical skills, build up their experience in the field and pursue a relevant degree to help them jump-start their journey into video production.

What Does a Video Editor Do?

Video editors work their magic by combining graphics, video and sound into a singular multimedia creation. While video editing originated with slicing film reels and taping scenes together, almost all modern projects are edited digitally with software programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve. Video editors can work on any of several different project types, such as:

  • Films
  • Commercials
  • Television shows
  • News programs
  • Web content

While video editors can work independently, video editing is a collaborative process. Many video editors maintain regular communication with or work directly alongside other professionals, including graphic designers, directors and sound designers, to ensure the final product meets the project’s creative vision and message. Video editors can also be found on a film set during filming, working with directors, cinematographers and camera operators to ensure they capture the right shots during filming.

Video editors can work in-house for a production company or as freelancers who take on contract work for individual projects with employers on an ongoing basis or for one-off projects.

Steps to Become a Video Editor

Video editing has become more accessible than ever, with industry-leading software available to the average consumer. Because of this, employers often look for higher level credentials and skills in those who apply for video editing positions. Understanding how to become a video editor and meeting these criteria can help aspiring video editors improve their employability while increasing their salary potential.

Step 1: Earn a Degree

Earning a bachelor’s degree in video editing, digital media or communication can help an individual showcase to employers that they have developed the required technical proficiency and skills. Courses that cover subjects like digital editing, filmmaking techniques and media analysis help students build a foundational understanding of the art and craft of video editing.

Step 2: Develop Key Skills

Video editors require technical and soft skills to succeed in their careers. Editors need skills like time management to complete their work on time, especially those working in contract or freelance positions. Here are a few other skills that are worth developing to help stand out in the video editing field:

Computer Skills

A high degree of proficiency in one or more types of video editing software is critical in the modern age when most productions use digital footage. Understanding these programs allows an editor to work more efficiently. Also, when video editors have an in-depth knowledge of editing software, they are better able to explain to directors or other project leads which things they’re requesting are out of scope.


Video editors work closely with other professionals, such as directors and cinematographers, to get the footage necessary for editing. Clear, confident communication skills are critical for video editors who work with other professionals during the editing process or while on a set during filming.

Attention to Detail

A large part of video editing is ensuring that the various elements of a final video are coherent and make sense. A video editor needs to be skilled at closely analyzing every frame of the project so that the final cut is representative of the director’s vision.


Video editors may have to work in various environments, either on a set or in an editing studio, with different crews and on a variety of different projects. Their ability to adapt to these different environments can help them continue to find work.

Step 3: Gain Work Experience

Most video editors will have a portfolio showcasing the best examples of their work so employers can see what they’re capable of. Gaining experience through internships, freelance editing positions or personal projects can be a great way to build up a portfolio. Even smaller projects that may not have a large budget can be an excellent way for candidates to showcase their individual creativity to employers.

Video Editor Salary and Job Outlook

Film and video editors had a median annual salary of $63,500 as of May 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Individual salaries vary depending on the person’s location, industry and experience. For example, those with multiple years of experience working for a high-end production studio may make significantly more than the median, while those with minimal experience may make less.

The BLS reports a positive job outlook for video editors, projecting a 9% growth in video editing positions between 2022 and 2032. The BLS attributes this growth to the increased use of special effects being added in the editing process as well as the increased need for web and streaming services content.

Begin Production on Your Video Editor Career

Given how critical video editors are and how easy it has become to gain access to their tools, employers now look for higher-level skills in the video editors they employ. Pursuing an education to build the fundamental skills of video editing can make the difference in standing out to these employers.

Consider enrolling in Hilbert College Global’s online Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media and Communication program to help you achieve your video editor career goals. With a course load that covers subjects that include mass communication, the art of persuasion and media analysis, Hilbert’s digital media and communication program not only covers the fundamentals of video editing but also focuses on a holistic approach designed to help you understand how the stories we tell are reflective of the society we live in.

With asynchronous courses and six different start dates throughout the year, this program allows you to pursue your passions on your schedule. Discover where your career journey will take you with Hilbert College Global.

Recommended Readings

8 Digital Marketing Career Paths

Marketing vs. Communications: Degree Comparison

What Can You Do With a Communications Degree?


Adobe, How to Become a Video Editor

Beverly Boy Productions, “Do Film Editors Work on Set?”

FilmSupply, “15 Professional Film Editing Programs That Hollywood Editors Use”

Indeed, “A Career in Video Editing: Job Duties, Skills and Job Fields”

Indeed, “How to Become a Video Editor: Definition and Steps”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Wyzowl, Video Marketing Statistics 2023

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