Music Video Editors


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Because video editing requires a creative perspective along with technical skills, you should take English, speech, theater, and other courses that will allow you to develop writing skills. Art and photography classes will help you become more familiar with visual media. If you're lucky enough to attend a high school that offers classes in either film history or film production, be sure to take those courses. And don't forget to take computer classes. Editing work constantly makes use of new technology, and you should become familiar and comfortable with computers as soon as possible.

Postsecondary Training

While some employers may require a bachelor's degree for video editing work, actual on-the-job experience is the best guarantee of securing lasting employment. Degrees in liberal arts fields are preferred, but courses in cinematography and audiovisual techniques help editors get started in their work. You may choose to pursue a degree in such subjects as English, journalism, theater, or film. Community and two-year colleges often offer courses in the study of film history. Some of these colleges also teach film and video editing or offer degrees in the field. Universities with departments of broadcast journalism offer courses in video editing and also may have contacts at local television stations.

Training as a music video editor takes from four to 10 years. Many editors learn much of their skills on the job as an assistant or apprentice at a film studio or production company. During an apprenticeship, the apprentice has the opportunity to see the work of the video editor up close. The editor may eventually assign some of his or her minor duties to the apprentice, while still making the larger decisions. After a few years the apprentice may be promoted to editor or may apply for a position at another studio or production company.

Other Education or Training

The American Film Institute, in partnership with Montgomery College-Takoma Park in Maryland, offers various workshops on filmmaking and how to create shorts or documentaries. Contact the institute for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Music video editors must be experts at using technology and software. Avid, Final Cut Pro, and other digital editing systems offer training and certification programs. Becoming certified is a good way for editors to increase their marketability as well as build their skills. But, as everywhere in the arts, people get jobs through their talent, work, and contacts, not through certifications.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Unless you earn a degree in film or video editing, it will take four to 10 years of on-the-job experience (as an assistant or apprentice) to become an established editor. Additionally, any experience you can obtain using editing software programs will be useful.

To edit music videos, you should be able to work well with others and remain open to suggestions and guidance. A successful editor also has an understanding of the history and evolution of music videos and a feel for the narrative form in general. Computer skills are also important—particularly knowledge of Avid and Final Cut software using Pro Tools—and will help you to learn new technology in the field.