Compared to the average American, video editors tend to receive high pay. Video editors typically earn at least $48,000 per year or $28 to $39 per hour. The average full-time American worker makes about $44,720 per year while freelancers typically earn about $31 per hour. Both full-time and freelance video editors can earn a decent living. With experience, video editors can also expect to receive higher pay. However, the pay rate tends to vary across the country. For example, video editors in New York City often earn the most.
Average Salary for Video Editors
The average base salary for a full-time video editor is between $48,000 and $53,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay is about $59,810 per year. Less experienced video editors may earn closer to $29,000 while experienced editors can earn $80,000 or more. The top 10% of video editors earn over $168,000.
Freelance video editors typically receive an hourly or monthly rate. The monthly rates range from $2300 to $5700, depending on experience and region. The average hourly rate is about $28 to $39, which is comparable to the $31 per hour earned by the average freelancer in the US.
Video editors also work in a variety of industries. According to the BLS, video editors who work in the motion picture and video industries tend to earn the most. The annual mean wage is about $96,700 while the hourly rate is $46.49. The motion picture and video industries also employ the most video editors, employing about 4.43% of all video editors.
Video editors that work in advertising or public relations also make good money. The mean wage is $76,980 per year or $37.01 per hour. Radio and television broadcasting accounts for about 1.2% of all editing jobs and offers an annual mean wage of $62,950. The hourly rate is $30.26.
Salaries Vary Across the Country (200)
California and New York are the states with the highest pay rates for video editors. California offers the highest average pay for video editors, with an annual mean wage of $118,510 and an hourly wage of $56.98. California also employs over 10,000 film and video editors compared to 4330 in New York. The annual mean wage in New York is $90,290 and the hourly wage is $43.41.
New Jersey is the third-highest pay rate, with an hourly mean wage of $43.05 and an annual wage of $89,540. Washington is fourth, with an hourly rate of $39.45 and an annual wage of $82,060. Massachusetts is the fifth highest-paying state for video editors, with an hourly wage of $35.94 and an annual wage of $74,760.
Georgia, Texas, and Florida offer the most employment opportunities after California and New York but tend to offer lower pay. Georgia has an hourly mean wage of $31.28 and an annual wage of $65,050. Texas has an hourly wage of $27 and an annual wage of $56,160. Florida has an hourly wage of $24.79 and an annual mean wage of $51,560. Other states with relatively high pay and employment opportunities for video editors include Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, and Illinois.
Full-Time vs. Freelance Video Editing
Full-time video editors typically receive a salary while freelance editors are often contracted at an hourly rate or a monthly rate. The pay depends heavily on experience and location.
Full-time editors often work for video production companies and studios. They are salaried employees and typically work a set schedule. Depending on the employer, full-time video editors may also receive access to health benefits and a 401(k).
Full-time and freelance video editors tend to start earning more as they gain more experience. The average starting pay for a full-time video editor is about $29,000. However, experienced editors tend to earn closer to $80,000.
Freelancers do not receive a set salary. The average hourly rate is between $28 and $39. However, video editors who are just entering the field may start at closer to $14 or $15 per hour. The top 10% earn about $80 per hour.
The monthly rate is between $2300 and $5700. However, if a freelance video editor maintains steady work throughout the year, they may earn more compared to the average salaried editor. In 2013, the average annual income for a freelance video editor was $79,000, which is significantly higher than the $48,000 to $53,000 average for salaried employees.
How to Start Out as a Video Editor
Video editors typically require a bachelor’s degree for full-time jobs. Some companies may also prefer to hire freelancers that have college degrees. The most common fields of study include film production, broadcasting, and communications. Some colleges also offer video editing programs or courses in video editing.
Students should develop a demo reel featuring any projects that they worked on in college. As you enter the industry and gain experience, continue to update your demo reel with the best examples of your editing skills.
While a bachelor’s degree is preferred, work experience is the most important factor when applying for new jobs or projects. Aspiring video editors should begin developing their skills by learning how to use video editing software and working on independent projects. Look for small projects in your local area even if you need to volunteer your editing services for free.
When you first start looking for professional video editing work, focus on jobs that require less experience. Beginner editors are more likely to find work in advertising or video production at smaller companies instead of major Hollywood studios.