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2023 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 Shrinking in Popularity

#62 Most Popular Major
16.8k Degrees Awarded
-4.3% Increase in Graduates

Film, Video & Photographic Arts was the 62nd most popular major in the 2020-2021 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 16,778 degrees in this year alone. This 728 less than the prior year, a decrease of 4.3%.

This year's Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools ranking compares 278 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom film rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for Film, Video & Photographic Arts
2023 Overall Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Colleges >

Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Film, Video & Photographic Arts
Bachelor's Degrees in Film, Video & Photographic Arts
Master's Degrees in Film, Video & Photographic Arts
Doctorate Degrees in Film, Video & Photographic Arts

What Are The Requirements For 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.

Prior Education for a Film Program

film, video and photographic arts degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. In addition to these basic film, video and photographic arts program qualifications, to serve in some film careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Types of Film, Video & Photographic Arts Degrees

There are various different levels of film degrees. You can spend many years getting as high as a in film, video and photographic arts to something that takes less time like a . The time it takes to complete a film degree varies depending on the program.

DegreeCredit RequirementsTypical Program Length
Associate Degree60-70 credits2 years
Bachelor’s Degree120 credits4 years
Master’s Degree50-70 credits1-3 years
DoctorateProgram required coursework including thesis or dissertationAt 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. Find out other typical degree levels for film workers below.

Level of EducationPercentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree35.6%
Master’s Degree17.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)11.4%
High School Diploma10.5%
Doctoral Degree8.6%

About 60.6% of workers in careers related to film obtain at least bachelor's degrees. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in film, video and photographic arts have obtained.


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

Film Careers

Average Number of Jobs
$24.1k 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 NameProjected JobsExpected Growth
Producers and Directors151,20012.2%
Art, Drama, and Music Professors137,20012.0%
Film and Video Editors40,00017.0%
Communications Professors37,50010.0%

Film Degree Salary Potential

Film, Video & Photographic Arts graduates between 2017-2019 reported earning an average of $24,104 in the 2019-2020 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $10,984 to as high as $49,856. As you might expect, salaries for film graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


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 highest paying careers film grads often go into.

Occupation NameMedian 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 1,278 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 10 majors within the Visual & Performing Arts area of study, Film, Video & Photographic Arts has other similar majors worth exploring.

Film Concentrations

MajorAnnual Graduates
Film & Video Production7,768
Film/Cinema/Media Studies5,191
Other Film/Video & Photographic Arts1,557
Documentary Production78

View All Film Concentrations >

Majors Similar to Film

Related MajorAnnual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts37,413
Design & Applied Arts36,301
Drama & Theater Arts17,341
General Visual & Performing Arts6,355

View All Film Related Majors >


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