A film editor is responsible for taking video or film images and arranging them so they tell a story. These editors work with both film and digital images, taking the original footage and assembling it into an edited work. These workers can be found wherever film needs to be edited, creating everything from motion pictures to industrial and educational films. Salaries for film editors vary widely.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were about 17,550 film editors in the United States in 2009. These workers made an average wage of $30.62 per hour, or $63,680 per year. The highest 10 percent of earners made $54.31 per hour, or $112,960 per year, while the lowest 10 percent earned about $12.21 per hour, or $25,400 per year. The median 50 percent of editors made an average of $24.42 per hour, or about $50,790 per year.
Editors employed in the "motion picture and video industries" sector of the industry had the highest average salary in 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These workers made an average of $33.81 per hour, or about $70,330 per year. Those editors working in the "miscellaneous durable goods merchant wholesalers" sector had the next highest average wages in 2009, making $27.93 per hour, or about $58,090 per year.
Film editor salaries also differ by state. The BLS reports that the five states with the highest average film editor salaries in 2009 were California, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New York and Illinois. Those in California earned an average wage of $40.32 per hour, or about $83,850 per year. Film editors in the District of Columbia made about $36.27 per hour, or $75,450 per year.
Highest-Paying Metro Areas
Editor salaries also differed between cities in 2009, according to the BLS. Those workers in Dallas had the highest average salaries, making $46.88 per hour, or about $97,510 per year. Film editors in Los Angeles had the next highest average salaries, earning an average of $43.60 per hour, or about $90,690 per year. Editors in Sacramento, Calif., made the third-highest average salary of $42.85 per hour, or about $89,120 per year.