How Much Money Do Video Editors Make? (In-House & Freelance Video Editing Career)

Beginner freelance video editors make $25 to $50 an hour or over $63,000 a year, while experts make upwards of $100 an hour. The national average for both in-house and freelance video editors is $55,141.

Video editing is one of the fastest-growing branches, with projected 29% growth between 2020 and 2030.

It doesn’t come as a surprise since videos are the primary marketing tool instead of photos, and video streaming services dominate the market.

Every year over 8,600 job positions for video editors are opened, whether freelance or in-house.

If this sounds tempting, it’s important to notice that most in-house video editors hold a bachelor’s degree in film.

However, mastering the editing software in demand can also help you score a good position.

If you’re thinking of a career change or want to take up video editing, here’s everything you need to know.

What’s a video editor?

Video editors work in post-production and make changes to previously recorded footage with the help of specific software.

But the video editor’s work is more than technical. They have to work in close relation with the director of the video, movie, or vlog to be able to interpret the exact message they’re trying to send.

The video editor carries many hats; they have to cut some unnecessary scenes that don’t add value to the end product and keep crucial parts.

Editing is cumbersome, lengthy process and requires you to master new skills with time.

Video editors also make crucial decisions when editing the footage. In movies and commercials, unlike vlogs, directors use several cameras.

The editor’s job is to pick the best point of view and angle to focus on the product or message.

Video editing as a career

A young man is working as a video editor, editing a commercial video for his client

Quick research, and you’ll find that there are dozens of careers in video editing. Each one of them comes with a different salary and requirements.

While the market dictates the rate you can charge, it also depends on the client, amount of work, and your education.

Editors with a bachelor’s degree in fine or visual arts, photography, media studies, and graphic design tend to get higher starting salaries as video editors.

Video editing is in high demand and doesn’t tend to drop. Choosing to pursue a career as a video editor comes with many benefits.

There are over 39,800 video editors in the US, with 27% being freelance.

Over 53% work in motion picture and video, and one-third work in the Los Angeles area, the hub of video editors.

The forecasts predict opening at least 5,500 new in-house jobs in the next 6 years.

Salary range of video editors

According to PayScale, entry-level video editors make $40,148 a year, based on 71 salaries.

Intermediate video editors make an average of $44,871 based on 1,051 salaries.

Video editors in Los Angeles in 2019 were earning $122,000 a year, with $59 being the average pay per hour.

In other regions, the pay is lower; New York comes close with $90,360 a year or $43 an hour.

The pay decreases in other states, but luckily you can work remotely for companies located in high-paying areas.

Types of video editors

Video editors enjoy a wide choice of job posts, starting with freelancing and ending in grand studios like Universal.

Each post needs a particular set of skills and software, so if you think video editing is easy to master, you might be mistaken.

1. Film editor

This is by far the most demanding position. The film editor has to work on feature-length productions and follow the story.

Each cut and sequence has to align with the director’s idea.

Film editors make an average of $86,830 a year.

2. Youtube video editor

A youtube video editor is working on his current video editing project on his computer

One of the most in-demand positions is YouTube video editor.

Influencers, celebrities, gamers, brands, and enthusiasts use the streaming service with over 2 billion users as an income source.

Each video comes with revenue-building ads, so perfect editing is a must. On average, a channel receives $18 per 1000 ad views.

According to Glassdoor, Youtube video editors and producers in the US make $56,464 per year.

3. Instagram video editor

Earlier in 2021, Instagram introduced the Reels, a longer video format allowing users to broadcast, promote and draw in more views.

The short format video requires a lot of editing to fit the story and products.

Currently, the job posts regarding Instagram video editors on Ziprecruiter range between $32,000 and $83,000.

4. TikTok video editor

The average salary of a TikTok video editor is $79,283.

The former lip-synching app is one of the major marketing hubs in 2022 with a tendency to grow.

The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has over 7 billion views, and it’s an excellent way to promote products and services.

Large brands use the platform to promote themselves, hiring expert video editors besides social media managers.

How to become a video editor

Claiming that video editing is a form of art is not an understatement. However, it does require you to be tech-savvy too.

The classic path to becoming a video editor is through obtaining a bachelor’s degree in some of the following fields:

  • Fine arts
  • Film studies
  • Visual arts
  • Graphic design
  • Communications
  • Information technology

And it doesn’t stop there. You have to master some of the most commonly used software like:

  • Adobe Premiere Elements
  • VideoPad
  • Lightworks
  • Apple iMovie
  • Corel VideoStudio Ultimate
  • Final Cut Pro
  • DaVinci Resolve
  • Blender

However, not all video editors are college graduates.

Many of them are self-taught through Skillshare, Udemy, Coursera, and YouTube tutorials.

Even if you opt for the paid courses, your ROI is tremendous considering the demand.

Industries in need of video editors

You feel tempted to jump into this field, but which industries need a video editor?

You’re not bound to edit videos for social media or movies to earn an excellent salary.

Here are some of the sectors that will need video editors even if all social media networks were to shut down tomorrow!

1. Wedding and event

A young man is recording footage from a wedding for a video

Except for the 2 long pandemic years, the wedding industry has been highly profitable.

In 2022 the wedding industry is valued at $57.9 billion!

This includes the lavish ceremony and the fantastic videographers.

However, editing wedding videos comes close to short film editing, so it’s not among the easiest jobs.

2. Documentary and film

Documentary and film video editors must have an eye for detail and a creative mind.

Documentaries involve real people, emotions, and stories that need to be edited in a way that allows the story to flow naturally.

Since this branch of video editing is very demanding, the top 75% of film and documentary video editors make $120,000 a year!

3. Music

Music videos might not be as popular as back in the day because we have several audio streaming services like Tidal and Spotify.

However, the music video industry is deemed to reach $20.39 billion by 2028. This is due to the boost in live events, which were on hiatus during the pandemic years.

The average salary for music video editors in the US is $64,500, while the top earners make $93,500.

4. Marketing and commercial

Digital marketing includes the production of a lot of video material.

Video editors employed in marketing production earn a median of $71,050 per year in the US.

However, marketing video editors have one of the hardest tasks since their product directly affects sales.


Do video editors make good money?

Video editors earn $25 to $50 an hour depending on their niche, experience, education, and job post.

The highest paying video editors make over $130,000 a year.

How much does an editor make per movie?

Depending on the genre, editing a movie can take between a few months and a few years.

Animation movies and those with a lot of visual effects can be edited for over 4 years.

At a median pay of $40 per hour, the movie editor makes $83,200 per year.

How do I get a job in video editing?

To get a job in video editing, you must master some video editing software and build a portfolio.

You can start independently as a freelance editor working on smaller projects to gain experience and apply for in-house positions later.

How much is an editor for Youtube?

Youtube editors tend to earn less than film and music video editors, but they’re also not obligated to hold a degree.

The average salary for Youtube video editors is between $43,000 and $60,000.

Bottom line

Video editing is one of the most sought-after occupations with the rise of vlogging and content marketing.

From editing short videos for apps such as TikTok and Instagram to long formats like documentaries, video editors don’t have to worry about their place under the sun.

A bachelor’s degree in a related major sure helps, but with new software introduced each year, being a fast learner is a more appreciated skill.

If you’re thinking of diving into video editing, keep in mind that large-scale projects can be stressful like any other job.

The greatest bonus of video editing is the ability to work for large production houses across the country from the comfort of your home.

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