How to Become a Video Editor Without a Degree (5 Simple Steps)

smiling man editing videos on a laptop and desktop

I was nervous to record my very first video interview with a fellow mom in the work-from-home space, but not because I didn’t know what to say or what to ask. I just wasn’t sure how I would edit the final video before I posted it. This same fear held me back from creating simple videos for many years. But when I finally put in the work and edited that first video, I had to chuckle at myself for my irrational fears.

In this high-tech world, many people are moving toward careers in the digital space. Video editing is a popular option due to the rise in demand for this type of content.

As complex as a video editor’s job might sound, in reality, video editing isn’t difficult to learn. If you are looking for a lucrative, fun, and challenging career, add video editing to your list of career possibilities.

We all experience video editors’ talents on a daily basis. Every single video you see on social media, YouTube, and TV was put together by a video editor.

Even if you don’t have a degree, stepping into the video editing world could change your life, both creatively and financially. Try your hand at this new field to see if video editing is something that you would enjoy doing full time.

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What is a Video Editor?

A video editor manipulates and arranges media into a succinct video that tells a complete story. The editor makes the video compelling to watch and smoothly transitions frames during the course of the video. This process can also include cutting out bad takes and filler words, adding text and media overlays, and rearranging timelines for clarity and succinction.

Video editors are mission-driven, selling products and services, informing the audience about a topic, or just providing entertainment. Good video editors capture the storyteller’s intent and use video clips, media, music, and scripts to transform the video into a flawless piece of art.

Do You Need a License to Become a Video Editor?

While you don’t need a license or certification to become a video editor, many editors do have some level of education or college degree that demonstrate their knowledge and expertise about the subject. This is not a requirement, but you do need to put in the work to learn the trade and practice it. You can be just as successful as others who do have a degree.

Related: How to Start a Photo Editing Business

Other Video Editor Requirements and Qualifications

To get paid to edit videos, you must have great attention to detail, patience, and a good work ethic. Viewers will notice if you cut corners or get sloppy with your work. Due to the nature of this career, your finished product will clearly show what kind of skills you possess.

Although some video edits may be short and sweet, other projects will require a significant amount of time, so it’s important that you be able to exercise patience in your work. It will take time for you to put together videos the right way. There is no point in rushing if it will put the integrity of your finished product in jeopardy.

Practice a good work ethic so your clients know they can count on you to present them with quality products. Clients who rely on your video editing skills to help them sell products or services need you to put in the work and churn out high quality videos.

Salary or Pay Expectations for Video Editors

The national annual average salary for a video editor is $54,030 according to ZipRecruiter. This number can increase to as much as $107,500 and be as low as $19,500. Your salary will vary, based on your experience, expertise, and the location in which you are working. It will also depend on whether you’re working for yourself or for a larger corporation.

Related: Best Side Hustles for Men to Earn Extra Money

How to Become a Video Editor

smiling man editing videos on a laptop and desktop

Read further to find out more about starting a career in video editing. Some of these steps take time to complete, so don’t rush the process.

1. Choose the Best Software for Video Editing

The most important piece of equipment a video editor needs is editing software, but there are thousands of options on the market. It can be overwhelming for beginners to choose one to master, but it’s important to find a program that is compatible with your skillset and that offers the best possible features to help you complete your future projects.

Descript is my personal favorite video editing software. Although I felt completely overwhelmed as a video editing beginner, I found this program to be easy to navigate and user friendly.

To use Descript, simply upload video content and view it alongside the generated script. It’s easy to edit out unnecessary words or phrases by deleting copy within the script itself. You can also add text, video, and image overlays, easily split scenes, and add in missed words or phrases with the help of an AI voiceover dub.

Descript is easy to master and can cut down on editing time for both beginners and pros. You can get started using Descript for free.

2. Research and Practice

Take the time to learn and practice your video editing skills. Try different techniques, explore strategies, and develop your own unique flare for your videos. The best way to enhance your skills is to practice, practice, practice.

Learn more by watching other video editors’ work. Get paid to watch YouTube videos and take notes about how the final product appears to the viewer. What would you fix or tweak? What did the editor do that stands out to you? Use this research as a way to help improve your own editing style.

3. Create a Demo

Once you have fully developed your editing skills, create a video that you can use to demonstrate your work to potential clients. Don’t rush this step; take your time to make a high-quality demo that will help you make a good first impression.

Related: Get Paid to Upload Videos

4. Network

The old adage is true: It’s not what you know; it’s who you know. Network with others to learn more about the business, demonstrate the kind of creator you are, and give your peers the chance to decide if they want to work with you or refer you to their colleagues.

Anyone with whom you come into contact might need a video editor or know someone who is looking for one. Be personable and intentional with your interactions.

5. Advertise Your Services

Advertise your services to find jobs as a video editor. Many people in the field turn to YouTube to pitch their services to hosts of existing channels. Use this method to establish a rapport with online personalities; if they are in the market for a new video editor and agree to see your work, send them your demo.

You can even create your own YouTube channel and post your demos and ongoing portfolio. Your views will climb and your audience will broaden every time you publish a new video.

Take to social media to advertise your services. Start an Instagram page to establish your role in the industry. Share editing tips and tricks on your page to set yourself up as an expert. Professionals who are looking for a video editor could find your work this way and easily get in contact with you.

Global freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork connect businesses with talented workers who offer a variety of services – including video editing. Create an account on one of these sites and keep your rates low at first, to quickly build your portfolio and earn reviews from your clients. As your experience and reputation grow, so can your prices.

Related: How to Get Paid to “Like” Instagram Posts

6. Request Reviews

Once you have worked with a few clients, ask them to leave a review for your work. Request that they leave information about their experience working with you, what they liked most about your partnership, and why they would recommend your work to others.

These reviews will show potential clients that you create quality products that are worth the investment. Portfolio work and reviews show businesses that you follow through on your assignments and demonstrate your accountabiity.

7. Always Leave Room for Improvement

Use every project as a learning experience and allow yourself to grow in your video editing skills. Nobody is perfect, and you will inevitably encounter a project that doesn’t go as planned. Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged, and never give up.

It’s also important to remember that trends change. An editing strategy that was a huge hit last year could be passé today. Consistently watch videos that are trending within the industry you work in to help you quickly pick up the newest editing tricks.

Related: Short Certification Programs That Pay Well

Questions New Video Editors Are Asking

Starting a new career is both exciting and nerve-racking. Educate yourself about this new field to help you determine if a career change is the best move for you.

Where can I find video editing jobs?

You will be able to find video editing jobs almost anywhere. Connect with YouTube personalities, check out job boards, or list your services on sites like Fiverr. You will eventually have the skills and portfolio needed to create your own professional website and work directly with clients using a secure payment gateway like PayPal or Stripe.

The key is to find jobs that match your skill set. You will soon find out what type of editing you prefer (i.e. that you enjoy editing YouTube videos rather than commercials). Keep an eye out for editing options that interest you most.

Is being a video editor worth it?

Your level of interest in the field and dedication to making your career a success will determine whether or not becoming a video editor is worthwhile for you.  Will this career make you feel fulfilled, or will you dread doing the work? Once you’ve spent some time working as a video editor, reevaluate your finances to decide if the job is as lucrative as you need it to be.

Your personal needs and lifestyle alone will determine whether or not you will get what you need as a video editor.

Related: How to Become a Voice Actor With No Experience

Is it hard to become a video editor?

If you are already familiar with simple video editing tools and software, then the hardest part of becoming a video editor will be finding stable work. If you don’t have any existing skills or experience, but are genuinely interested in learning and are willing to stick with the process, you can turn this into a successful venture. It all depends on your skills, knowledge, and willingness to learn.

Is video editing a good career?

Video editing is a good career move for anyone who is satisfied with the pay and enjoys the aspects of the job. Because the online space is ever evolving, video editing has a high level of job security. You’ll probably never get bored or run out of clients, and the high demand for video editors can give you leverage to charge more for your services.

Are video editors happy?

Video editors have the opportunity to work in a fast-paced environment and exercise their creativity. Many video editors have a passion for storytelling and use that skill as they create their videos.

Is there a demand for video editors?

Many businesses are branching out and exploring new ways to advertise to their customers. This often means relying on a video editor to create visually stunning and persuasive video content.

Thanks to the ever-rising popularity of YouTube and TikTok, content creators constantly need help editing their pieces. This is especially true if the channel owners don’t have editing experience.

Related: Jobs That Pay $40 an Hour Without a Degree or Experience

Who Should Become a Video Editor?

Anyone can become a video editor. Just find out more about the process of creating videos and see if this is something you enjoy doing before turning it into a career. To get a feel for the job, start with a side hustle or part-time work.

You don’t have anything to lose by giving video editing a try. The worst that could happen is that you end up disliking the job and you walk away from it with more knowledge and appreciation for the video editing world. This career is best for those who enjoy editing and look forward to upcoming changes within the industry.

It will take time and patience to become a video editor. But once you work on your skills, create a demo, and start finding paying clients, you will be well on your way toward a fulfilling career.

Related: Fun Jobs that Pay Well Without a Degree

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