How Much Do Film & Video Editors Make

Video editors can distill many hours of recordings into a watchable half-hour program.

Film and video editors edit film, video and soundtracks produced by camera operators, so the media can be viewed in movie theaters, cable TV and webcasts. Both technical expertise with computerized editing equipment and creativity at telling a story are needed. Formal training is available at technical schools and colleges.


The working hours for editors may vary by employer and schedule. Those working for TV and cable networks may work long hours to meet production schedules. Their yearly salaries run a median $50,790, with a range of $25,400 to 112,960, as of May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Others may fill in during busy periods, or work part-time to complete work started by full-time workers. Their hourly medians are at $24.42, with a range of $24.42 to $54.31.


The industry offering the most editing jobs is motion pictures and video, with 67 percent of the 17,550 positions. They also offer the highest wages at $33.81 an hour or $70,330 annually. Other big employers of editors are radio and television broadcasting, with pay at $24.76 per hour or $51,500 annually, cable programming at $26.82 an hour or $55,800 per year, and magnetic and optical media manufacturers at $20.32 per hour or $42,260 annually.


The PayScale Report reveals that experience pays higher compensation for film and video editors. For example, new editors earn $23,107 to $35,375, while those with one to four years of work get $29,305 to $43,144. At five to nine years, they receive $34,587 to $55,934, while at 10 to 19 years they earn $42,185 to $79,197. Finally, with 20 or more years of work, editors top out at $50,802 to $96,857.

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The BLS predicts that jobs for film and video editors will grow by 11 percent up to 2018, which is average for all jobs. The motion-picture and video industries are expanding into the Internet and mobile media, which demands editors who can handle the new formats. Competition will be fierce because more people are interested in these positions than there are available jobs. Those with the most experience and advanced computer skills will find the best job opportunities.