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2021 Film, Video & Photographic Arts Degree Guide

If you prefer a career behind a lens and out of the spotlight you might be interested in Film, Video, and Photographic Arts.

A degree in this field teaches students techniques for filming scenes, producing video, and capturing the perfect picture. You will take classes in film production, lighting, video and picture editing, cinematography, and more to learn how to capture what you see on film or in photos.

When students attend college, they usually specialize in an area of this field. Concentrations include Film, Cinema, and Video Studies; Cinematography and Film Video Production; Photography; and Documentary Production.

Film, Video & Photographic Arts Degrees Remain Stable

#64 Most Popular Major
16.8k Degrees Awarded
0.4% Increase in Graduates

In 2018-2019, film, video and photographic arts was the 64th most popular major nationwide with 16,756 degrees awarded. This is approximately the same as the 16,684 graduates the prior year.

The United States has 455 different schools where you can get a degree in film, video and photographic arts. This year's Best Colleges for Film, Video & Photographic Arts ranking compares 120 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom film rankings further below.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Film, Video & Photographic Arts

Students who are successful in Film, Video, and Photographic Arts, have what professionals refer to as 'a good eye'. They are able to capture a clip or an image in just the right way so that the audience is captivated and feels the emotion the artist was trying to evoke. Professionals are typically creative, detail oriented, and have a background in editing software.

Professionals in the field often work irregular hours, logging overtime on evenings or weekends either in an office or on location. Many photographers and videographers do contract work, so there may be periods of unemployment in between assignments.

Students interested in Film, Video, and Photography Arts should get an internship or summer job with a professional. Since positions are experience based and require students to work their way up, this experience while in school will give you a head start.

Getting Accepted Into a Film, Video & Photographic Arts Program

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Once you obtain your degree, additional film certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Types of Film, Video & Photographic Arts Degrees

There are many different film degree levels. You can get anything from a associate's degree in film, video and photographic arts to the highest film degree, a research/scholarship based doctorate. The type of film degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to film, with approximately 38.3% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for film workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 35.6%
Master’s Degree 17.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 11.4%
High School Diploma 10.5%
Doctoral Degree 8.6%

Most workers in film have at least a bachelor's degree. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in film, video and photographic arts have obtained.

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The education level required is different depending on the film career you are seeking.

Film Careers

Average Number of Jobs
$22.7k Average Starting Salary
7% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Film, Video, and Photographic Arts graduates have gone to work for news studios, newspapers, television broadcast companies, advertising agencies, fashion companies, motion picture companies, or are self-employed. Graduates have the skills to be hired by any company that needs a video produced or photo-shoot.

Growth Projected for Film Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your film degree? Film, Video & Photographic Arts careers are expected to grow 6.8% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to film, video and photographic arts.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Producers and Directors 151,200 12.2%
Photographers 139,000 -5.6%
Art, Drama, and Music Professors 137,200 12.0%
Film and Video Editors 40,000 17.0%
Communications Professors 37,500 10.0%

How Much Money Do People With a Film Degree Make?

Film, Video & Photographic Arts graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $22,675 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $11,100 to as high as $36,100. As you might expect, salaries for film graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.

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Highest Paid Film Careers

Salaries for film, video and photographic arts graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers film grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Producers and Directors $89,840
Film and Video Editors $86,830
Art, Drama, and Music Professors $82,560
Communications Professors $78,090
Television, Video, and Motion Picture Camera Operators $61,750

Getting Your Film, Video & Photographic Arts Degree

With over 1,254 different film degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased film school rankings to help you with this.

One of 9 majors within the Visual & Performing Arts area of study, Film, Video & Photographic Arts has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 40,751
Design & Applied Arts 36,179
Music 26,968
Drama & Theater Arts 17,726
General Visual & Performing Arts 5,720

View All Film Related Majors >

References

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