California Film and Video Editing Degree Programs, Schools And Training

Career Information for Film And Video Editors in California

Film and video editors conduct much of the behind-the-scenes work on movies, television series, video games, and documentaries. Using technical skills and their knowledge of video artistry, they use complex equipment to create dramatic and compelling visual effects for a wide range of creations. Most of the time, their main job duties include:

  • Organizing raw film footage in preparation for editing work
  • Collaborating with directors and other creatives in order to get the right feel and look for the project
  • Working with camera operators to select the right equipment and lighting
  • Discussing scenes and working with other professionals to create special effects or interesting points-of-view
  • Editing scenes to prepare them for entry into the final copy of a film or video

Fast Facts for Film and Video Editors in California

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 10,080 film and video editors were employed in California in 2014. However, the following regions in the state employed the bulk of these workers:

  • Los Angeles - Long Beach - Glendale: 8,810
  • San Francisco - San Mateo - Redwood City: 350
  • Oakland - Fremont - Hayward: 150
  • San Jose - Sunnyvale - Santa Clara: 150
  • Santa Ana - Anaheim - Irvine: 150
  • San Diego - Carlsbad - San Marcos: 130
  • Fresno: 70
  • Sacramento - Arden - Arcade - Roseville: 40
  • Oxnard - Thousand Oaks - Ventura: 30

According to the BLS, the state of California has more film and video editors than any other state in the nation. However, more jobs may be on the way. Based on U.S. Department of Labor projections, employment in this field could increase by as much as 7.9 percent through 2022. That translates into 800 new jobs during that time frame.

Salaries for Film and Video Editors in California

In the state of California, film and video editors earned an annual mean wage of $100,940, which is considerably more than the next highest paying state, New York, which paid average wages of $73,930.

On a national level, some industries were prone to paying higher wages than average. Here are the highest paying industries in 2014 in terms of annual mean wages:

  • Motion Picture and Video Industries: $82,370
  • Employment Services: $82,100
  • Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services: $79,430
  • Social Advocacy Organizations: $74,230
  • Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers: $72,290

Metro Areas for Salary and Popularity


Employment per 1,000 Residents

Annual Mean Wage in 2014

Los Angeles - Long Beach - Glendale



San Francisco - San Mateo - Redwood City



Oakland - Fremont - Hayward



San Jose - Sunnyvale - Santa Clara


Not reported

Santa Ana - Anaheim - Irvine



San Diego - Carlsbad - San Marcos


Not reported



Not reported

Sacramento - Arden - Arcade - Roseville



Oxnard - Thousand Oaks - Ventura



Expert Q&A

To learn more about this industry and the challenges facing film and video editors in California, we reached out to an expert source in this field. Jason Klamm, film and video editor and CEO of StolenDress.com, offers his expert insights below.

How has the film and video industry changed in the past ten years? How do you think it might change in the next ten years?

The film industry itself has changed less than it actually should have in the last ten years. The assumption is that, since technology changes exponentially, any industry using that technology changes at relatively the same pace. But that isn't true. The internet, as the public thinks of it, is twenty-plus years old, now. The industry has caught up in one way -- they know they have to have an online presence -- but they still haven't figured out exactly how to distribute online in a uniform way. It's one thing when a group of people gets together and agrees, "Okay, we're all using blu-ray now, here's the standard we all have to follow," because that's a physical medium everyone has to invest money in -- it's nothing but tangible. How do you tweak your perspective with something like the Internet, which seems nebulous at best? Coming up with a standard in that world is almost impossible, which is why everyone is distributing their own stuff. That's the biggest change -- that so many independent people and companies have a way to distribute feature-length productions. Ten years ago, it was just short films. I was even asked to create shorts for cell phones with screens a quarter of the size we're used to.

This new and changing distribution model actually bodes equally well and poorly for independent companies like myself, who are often stuck distributing our own films through whatever channels we can make cheap or free deals. The more outlets there are to show what you've made, the more a consumer has to wade through to find you. Even if you can get your video up on every video site there is, unless you have a massive, multi-million-use subscriber base, people have to find you. Our first feature film, "Looking Forward," was a fake documentary that we pitched around for years, and then eventually decided we'd throw it up on YouTube for free. We haven't had nearly the amount of views we could have, because we couldn't afford to seek out the users, meaning advertise. Traditionally, that's not the purview of the production company, anyway, but adapting to the idea that you have to be your own PR company as well as production and distribution has been difficult to catch up with. Our next feature film, "Lords of Soaptown," which is a documentary, is actually much more saleable, but we're still relying on a separate company to get it to other distribution companies and do a minimal amount of advertising, because we absolutely need them. So, while you can do everything yourself now, it's easy to spread yourself thin, especially if you're only an expert (as most are) in one part of the industry.

In the next ten years, the film and video industry is going to figure out how it has to settle in to the digital world. While hardware speeds, size and capabilities will change, the essence of what many have thought digital entertainment can be is already here. It's just a seed, but it at least gives us an idea of what to expect. The industry has to find a way to mix free and paid content, or free and sponsored content, in a way that makes them still viable. Frankly, what they need to do is go back the roots of programming, which seems counter-intuitive. StolenDress.com is also a podcast network, and we're seeing the way that the biggest podcasts out there are melding advertisement into their content, and that's becoming standard-issue, the same way radio did it in the 20s, when it was new. TV might need to find a model more like they had in the 50s - whatever keeps a new audience involved and watching. Younger audiences are becoming so hip to seamless integration, though, that it might behoove the industry to just do it outright - have the stars of Modern Family eating Burger King, between scenes, and talking about it. Don't pretend it's part of the program, but don't deny the reason the audience is watching in the first place. Crassness might have to end up being the new subtlety.

What should students look for when considering film & video degree programs?

I went to Columbia College Chicago, which gave me the nuts and bolts training I needed to understand the kinds of things I thought I wanted to do. At the time, directing was my interest, which turned into writing and eventually acting, all things I'd already been doing and loving. They trained us on story, then gave us (actual film) cameras to shoot our short films on, and we made films. While a film student now doesn't need to be looking for a school that uses actual film (much as I miss it), they should aim for something diverse. I went out of my comfort zone, from a village of 200 in Upstate New York, to Chicago. I was scared witless, but I learned to cooperate, which was one of my least favorite things, at the time. You need a good-sized school, with a good reputation. Columbia College Chicago is honestly a great place to start.

One critical thing not to miss - and something I didn't know to look for at the time - was making sure the school offered plenty of classes on the varying aspects of a production. If you're stubborn, like I was, and you "only want to be a director," you're not looking at producing classes. And you might have teachers who don't know that you might need this other exposure. It wasn't until my "Semester in LA," my last weeks of school, where I finally learned what producing was, how to pitch, how to promote yourself, how to option the rights to something - all the stuff that, as it turns out, would be critical in the digital age that hadn't quite made it's mark. And I learned all of this two years after producing one of the first viral videos in history. It shows that you can be extremely lucky, as I was with that video, but then discover what you actually had much, much later, when you finally know how to do something with it.

What is the most rewarding thing about your industry? Why do you enjoy it?

The most rewarding thing about working in film is that I have a voice in a way I didn't have before. This has a great deal to do with the Internet, but it also specifically has to do with the way bigger companies are slowly opening their doors to voices they aren't familiar with. I can make what I want the way I want it - much of the time out of pocket - and hope it appeals to someone. If it does, more work will come. If not, I've still made something I've proud of. And the stuff I'm not so proud of I get to talk about on one of my podcasts (Dan and Jay's Comedy Hour), which is all about my sketch group's attempts at recorded comedy, going back to 1993.

Why do you think film & video has become a popular discipline for today's college students? What draws them in?

I think the biggest draw for new filmmakers is the apparent promise of fame and money. I won't pretend that wasn't part of my interest when I first started film school, but I was also under the impression that I could still make a living doing what I wanted with my degree, right off the bat. Not understanding the struggle that comes with any art degree is something that happens to a lot of us, when we're excited to do something that we hope will be fulfilling. Another draw is that many people equate the simple act of recording a video with producing a video. They aren't the same thing. I know, because I've done both. You can be famous with a vlog, but you can't to go to school to learn how to do that, because most vlogs are successful because of personality, the subject matter, or luck. I think a lot of people go to film and video school thinking they can learn how to make something "viral." That's like saying you can learn how to win at roulette. There are also people who purport how to teach that, which I think is worse.

Most students, though, are probably drawn in more by the possibilities in the medium than they were when I started film school. Behind-the-scenes things were common, and what got me interested, but even the act of going behind the scenes and filming it is now its own industry, so some of the nuts and bolts might be second-nature to people, and they might want to learn to master the medium.

What are the most important things students of film & video should learn by the time they graduate?

Since I graduated film school, things have flipped around entirely. One had passion for film, went to film school, and hopefully learned self-promotion and distribution. Now, self-promotion is an everyday activity and distribution is potentially as simple as something your phone can provide. This isn't cynical, just factual, so I'd imagine the thing people need to learn about is that the most successful people in the industry tend to be (I hasten to say they all are, because there are plenty of successful cynics) passionate about what they do. Pointing and shooting is fine to learn, without a doubt, but passion should lead to the patience to craft, and the willingness to work with people of equal or greater patience and passion. Especially with comedy, as a lot of people take that for granted. Caring about what you do will go a long way to getting people interested in what you make, and of course will allow you to remain passionate about your own work.


  1. Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/film-and-video-editors-and-camera-operators.htm
  2. Film and Video Editors, Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, May 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes274032.htm
  3. May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, California, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ca.htm
  4. Interview with Jason Klamm, film and video editor and CEO of StolenDress.com

Schools for Film And Video Editors in California are listed below.

Selected Schools in California

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

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This list also contains online schools that accept students from California.

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More California Schools

School Name Campus Highest Award Enrolled
Academy of Art University San Francisco Masters 11,334
Allan Hancock College Santa Maria Associate 13,176
American River College Sacramento Associate 33,821
Antelope Valley College Lancaster Associate 13,312
Berkeley City College Berkeley Associate 5,287
Butte College Oroville Associate 12,228
Cabrillo College Aptos Associate 15,114
California Institute of the Arts Valencia Masters 1,324
Cerritos College Norwalk Associate 22,273
Cerro Coso Community College Ridgecrest Associate 4,577
Chapman University Orange Doctorate 6,022
City College of San Francisco San Francisco Associate 46,411
Cogswell Polytechnical College Sunnyvale Bachelor 230
College of Marin Kentfield Associate 6,476
College of the Canyons Santa Clarita Associate 17,499
College of the Redwoods Eureka Associate 6,025
Columbia College Hollywood Tarzana Bachelor 312
Crafton Hills College Yucaipa Associate 5,382
Cypress College Cypress Associate 13,592
De Anza College Cupertino Associate 24,115
Diablo Valley College Pleasant Hill Associate 19,768
East Los Angeles College Monterey Park Associate 28,889
El Camino College Torrance Associate 24,895
Fullerton College Fullerton Associate 20,719
Gavilan College Gilroy Associate 6,049
Glendale Community College Glendale Glendale Associate 16,827
Golden West College Huntington Beach Associate 13,354
Los Angeles City College Los Angeles Associate 17,204
Los Angeles Mission College Sylmar Associate 8,493
Los Angeles Valley College Valley Glen Associate 17,264
Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles Doctorate & First Professional 8,977
Modesto Junior College Modesto Associate 18,546
Mount Jacinto College San Jacinto Associate 14,197
Mt San Antonio College Walnut Associate 29,842
Ohlone College Fremont Associate 11,083
Orange Coast College Costa Mesa Associate 24,424
Pacific Union College Angwin Masters 1,363
Palo Verde College Blythe Associate 3,831
Palomar College San Marcos Associate 27,222
Rio Hondo College Whittier Associate 21,041
Riverside Community College Riverside Associate 30,961
Saddleback College Mission Viejo Associate 18,371
San Bernardino Valley College San Bernardino Associate 12,839
San Diego City College San Diego Associate 17,013
San Diego Mesa College San Diego Associate 21,437
San Francisco Art Institute San Francisco Masters 655
Santa Ana College Santa Ana Associate 33,514
Santa Barbara City College Santa Barbara Associate 21,632
Santa Monica College Santa Monica Associate 28,958
Stanford University Stanford Doctorate & First Professional 19,782
University of Southern California Los Angeles Doctorate & First Professional 33,408
West Valley College Saratoga Associate 11,210

Job Popularity in Metro Areas for Film And Video Editors

The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for California. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.

Metro Areas Rated for Popularity for:
Film And Video Editors

Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Film And Video Editors relative to the population of the city, as of 2008. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Relative Popularity of 1.0 means that the city has an average number of the particular job, for its population, compared to the rest of the US. Higher numbers mean proportionally more jobs of that type.

Metro Area Jobs Salary


Sacramento 50 $0 0.29
Roseville 50 $0 0.29
Arden 50 $0 0.29
Arcade 50 $0 0.29
San Diego 130 $0 0.49
Carlsbad 130 $0 0.49
Los Angeles 10150 $92610 8.99
Long Beach 10150 $92610 8.99
Anaheim 10150 $92610 8.99
San Francisco 490 $61500 1.11
Oakland 490 $61500 1.11
Hayward 490 $61500 1.11
San Jose 110 $0 0.54
Sunnyvale 110 $0 0.54
Santa Clara 110 $0 0.54
Employment For:

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