Creative Communities of the World Forums

The peer to peer support community for media production professionals.

Forums Business & Career Building bachelors degree worth it in this field?

  • bachelors degree worth it in this field?

  • Ty Yachaina

    April 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm


    I currently have an Associates degree in Film/Video production and have been working in the field for about 5 years. I find that most jobs i find and apply for ask for a bachelors degree. Though I’m doing good with work experience and have worked for big companies like A&E, I was wondering if i should truly invest the money and go for the bachelors.

    My goal is to become an Editor, and I have a good deal experience in this field. Perhaps i should just become Avid Certified instead, which would look better?

    All in all, just curious about your opinions, and what you are looking for when you hire individuals. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  • Tim Wilson

    April 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    [Tyle Renake] “I find that most jobs i find and apply for ask for a bachelors degree. “

    You’ve just answered your question.

    There are a lot of passionate pro- and anti-college sentiments you’ll see throughout this forum, and indeed, some of the most visionary and successful people I know don’t even have high school diplomas, but this is the one and only thing you need to know: most jobs you will apply for ask for a bachelor’s degree.


    Don’t let the hype take your eye off the ball. Nobody has ever said, wow, I really blew my chance to NOT go to college! Dang, I have too much education! What an idiot I was to try to get a broader context to life, knowledge and experience!

    [Tyle Renake] “I find that most jobs i find and apply for ask for a bachelors degree. “

    And guess what? Very few people stay in the career they got into in their 20s. Most of those next jobs will be looking for people with bachelor’s degrees too. That’s why, when you study, study broadly.

    Get your degree. It will pay for itself many times over. Perhaps in your very first job.

    Keep your eye on the ball. In this day and age, the point isn’t how YOU, or anybody else here, feels about college. It doesn’t matter even a little bit. Here’s the only thing that matters:

    [Tyle Renake] “I find that most jobs i find and apply for ask for a bachelors degree. “

    Again, all respect in the world to everyone who makes it through SELF education and force of will, and building their own resumes one drop of blood at a time. Fooey on narrow-minded HR drones and short-sighted bosses.

    Tough. Needing a degree will be more true over time, not less.

    Let the passionate debate start here, and I assure you that it will.

    Before I go, did I mention that

    [Tyle Renake] “I find that most jobs i find and apply for ask for a bachelors degree. “

    Yr pal,

  • Andrew Rendell

    April 4, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    What exactly do you mean by “become an editor”? I know it sounds like a dumb question, but staff or freelancer, major broadcaster or independent film, these things can make a difference. I’m freelance and my work is a mix of regulars and new clients – the regulars don’t care about qualifications because they know me and the new ones only care about my resume and a couple of phone numbers of people I’ve worked with so that they can ask about me before engaging me on a project.

    I don’t have a degree. I dropped out of college with no idea what I was going to do and got a job as a runner at a small TV production company, thought “this is for me” and badgered the biggest broadcaster in this country (I’m in the UK) until they gave me a position as a trainee in the technical department, which gave me a brilliant mixture of classroom and on the job training to become an online editor in tape suites. I eventually left the broadcaster, but that training has been vital to my having a career as an Editor, even though I don’t have a piece of paper to prove it.

    Doing it this way is tough though and even a persistent b*st*rd like me would have a hard time getting started now – I came into this twenty odd years ago, when you couldn’t do a degree in anything to do with media and the companies were interested in wider experience than just educational qualifications. The situation is different now, it seems like everyone and their dog have a degree and without one you’ll have a real hard time getting those first couple of jobs that will give you enough experience for formal qualifications not to matter anymore. I can only recommend that you go to college and get that degree.

  • Hunter Hempen

    April 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Probably depends on the college/university offering the degree as well. I’m down in the bootheel of Missouri and the equipment is less than impressive. Your professors might be excellent teachers, but if the administration is too stingy to provide the proper tools for learning, then I’d say it’s a must that you educate yourself outside of class while you’re at it. Go learn today’s trends in addition to outdated ones the course provides.

    Ironically our university marketing department just made a huge purchase on HD cameras, computers, and LED light kits, whilst our TV/Film students still fiddle with standard definition/tape based equipment.

    I don’t have enough experience to know if a large part of the industry still heavily relies on tape-based functionality, but I feel as though we’re being left in the dust.

    Just be sure to account for that, IMO.

    Too bad she won’t live! But then again, who does?

  • Andrew Rendell

    April 4, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    I don’t think you should worry too much about having the latest kit. Camerawork is about framing, focussing, exposure, getting the stuff recorded in a range of conditions, editing is about assessing pictures and sound and putting them together in ways that are meaningful, etc. In some ways, having “yesterdays” kit and learning how to get the results you’re after from it is better training than having the latest stuff (as every advance tends to make things easier) – once you’ve learned how to shoot, record sound, edit or whatever, it’s actually quite easy to transfer your new found knowledge onto new kit when the time comes.

  • Hunter Hempen

    April 4, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Perhaps my expected standards of education are a bit too high and unrealistic. 😛

    Too bad she won’t live! But then again, who does?

  • Mark Suszko

    April 4, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    In religion, the parallel argument to our situation perhaps is the debate between salvation via “faith alone” versus “faith plus works”.

    I’d say a B.S. in Liberal Arts and Sciences would be invaluable to anyone: most of the fortune 500 CEOS have one. Even if it didn’t have a concentration in the subject of production, it represents that fact you made and succeeded in pursuing a 4-year commitment, during which you picked up critical thinking skills, the ability to learn HOW to learn, and some background skills that will be of use in a video position as well as in general business.

    A certification in operating a particular piece of technical hardware or software doesn’t compare to that, IMO. Especially since nothing about a tech certification promises you have even a modicum of aesthetic ability in USING the tool. Any more than teaching you how the airbrush works makes you a commercial artist. It can only be considered a beginning. That’s why a killer reel and references will trump a certification and no reel or references every time. You want to ebcome an editor? START EDITING. As well as learning about and even copying what great editors before you have done. The greatest painters of our history all apprenticed to someone and spent long hours copying the experts’ work, until they learned intimately the rules of how to create art, and THEN, they each broke away to make the skills they acquired uniquely their own.

    We’re in a business where the means of production radically change at a rapid pace. Survivors have the ability to adapt to rapid change. I was “certified” when I got out of school around thirty years ago to operate a number of very specific and niche-use pieces of production gear… and every one of them pretty much is history now, long gone. I’ve forgotten most of how to program a Chyron VP-2, run a Convergence linear edit controller, adjust back-focus on an image orthocon based camera sensor, splice quadruplex tape, disengage the comparator of a Mark II interociter… Yet I still draw a check, a larger one, even, because the basis of my knowledge is not limited to a specific piece of metal, but in the underlying priciples and techniques and processes, and the ability to update the skill set as required.

    This is why we have two sort-of career tracks to get to similar goals in our biz: an academic-based track, and a practical-experience-based “hard knocks” track. Either one can be valid for a particular individual. And neither are mutually exclusive of the other: my “book larnin'” included hands-on practicums, labs, and internships that were just as important in forming my skills as the background lectures on theory and history. If you’re a hard-knocks type, an “auto-didact”, you enjoy the hands-on enough that you probably also go looking for books and things to learn more about what you do, for the fun of it.

    There’s no “wrong” answer here. Just what works for you.

  • Malcolm Matusky

    April 4, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Education and training are two different concepts; education lasts a lifetime and training becomes obsolete quickly.

    You need both to be “employable” Though, training may get you a job, education will make you promotable over time.


  • Mark Suszko

    April 4, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Darn it Malcom, how am I going to get rich getting paid by the word, if you go and encapsulate my thoughts in two sentences?!?!?!


  • Steve Martin

    April 5, 2011 at 12:21 am


    I think you hit the nail on the head. I would only add that in my experience of getting an degree (not in production, but in Marketing) what I learned more than anything was how to think and re-think.

    As a person who is now in a position to hire people, I like folks with 4 year degrees because they have demonstrated a variety skills and characteristics:

    That they can stick with a goal for a number of years even when some of the classes (and/or professors) may have been useless – perhaps like some projects and clients.

    That they have a well rounded education and can hopefully relate to wider variety of people (again, like clients)

    Production is fun – but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!

Viewing 1 - 10 of 22 posts

Log in to reply.

We use anonymous cookies to give you the best experience we can.
Our Privacy policy | GDPR Policy