With these successes comes a new employment opportunity - YouTube editing. Not all professional YouTubers edit their own videos; in fact, most of them outsource the job to YouTube video editors.
So how much do YouTube editors make?
Today we'll break down the skills every professional video editor should have, the average cost of freelance video editing jobs, and how much a video editor can expect to earn on a regular basis.
The exact salary that YouTube video editors can earn depends on a number of factors, as well as whether or not they work on a freelance or contractual basis; a freelance video editor just starting out may make significantly less than an experienced video editor working for a company or professional YouTuber.
Below we'll break down the average income for YouTube video editors based on several factors.
Average Income For Entry-Level Editors
For someone who is just starting to edit YouTube videos, the average income can vary wildly. However, according to some freelance video editors you can expect anywhere from $30,000 - $45,000 annually or an average of $1,500 a month.
As of 2023, the average salary for an entry-level YouTube editor in the United States is $42,000.
If you're looking to take your video editing skills to the next level, consider investing in higher quality video editing tools and expanding your portfolio with freelance side projects.
Average Income For Experienced Editors
The average salary for an experienced YouTube editor in the United States is $59,523 as of 2023.
The top editors make an average $91,500. Keep in mind that higher paying positions are most likely complex video editing positions for documentaries, music videos, and marketing promotions.
How Much Do Video Editors Earn Per Editing Job?
On Fiverr, the best rated YouTube video editors currently charge anywhere from $5 per job to $96 per job - and those are just the top performers. Some freelancers charge several hundred dollars per projcet, based on the complexity and their experience level.
If you're just starting on editing videos, it's a good idea to price low to build a strong portfolio without risking any mistakes with high profile clients. Of course, as you build your skills as a YouTube editor, increase your per-project price accordingly.
Additional Revenue Streams
Along with video editing for a YouTube channel, YouTube video editors can earn additional income through teaching editing and other side projects.
Sites like Skillshare allow professionals with a variety of applicable skills to share their knowledge and earn an income based on the number of students who enroll in their course. Fiverr allows you to list your skills and connect with employers and individuals who pay on a per-project basis, which can be a great way to work on smaller projects along with your main position.
Before we get into the average salary of YouTube video editors, it's important to be clear on what type of work we're discussing. So what exactly does a YouTube video editor do?
There are several types of YouTube video editors, each with their own pros and cons. Let's take a look below.
Freelance Video Editors
Freelance video editors choose their clients and projects, working anywhere in the world during the hours they set themselves.
Freelancing allows YouTube editors to work with different YouTubers, agencies, or brands at their own discretion. While this can result in a diverse portfolio, it can also be a challenge, especially when dealing with difficult clients.
Along with this, freelancing in general requires strong self-discipline and initial setup work when it comes to building contracts and preparing income taxes. Job security can be lower, and it's the freelancer's job to find clients for themselves.
In-House Editors for YouTube Channels
In-house YouTube video editors work directly for a specific channel or content creator, ensuring a consistent salary and benefits.
Because of the nature of YouTube content creation, in-house editors are expected to work closely with other team members (writers, producers, and designers) collaborating to create the best content possible.
Working with one channel allows the editor to specialize, but can also limit overall exposure to other editing styles and opportunities.
Editors Working for Agencies
YouTube video editors can also choose to work for an agency, meaning that they will handle projects from various clients who are represented by their agency.
This is a great way to develop a well-rounded skill set thanks to the exposure to different industries. It also offers more structure and organization, with a defined workflow and straightforward requirements for each client.
The downside of working for an agency is that - while providing stability - it can also limit creative freedom when clients have specific and rigid demands.
The amoun that you can earn from editing YouTube videos mainly depends on your experience and skill level, the complexity of your editing work, where you work from, and who you work for. Let's break each factor down below.
Experience & Skill Level
Editing YouTube videos is a skill heavy profession, so it's natural that a YouTube editor who has more skills and time under their belt has the potential to earn more.
If you're a beginner, consider developing your professional skills and portfolio through courses, certifications, and specialized training, plus freelance projects to help set you apart from other applicants.
Complexity of Editing Work
Editing videos in a straightforward way (simple cutting and assembling) will likely be charged at a lower rate, while complex video editing that involves special effects, color grading, and sound design has the potential to earn much more.
The complexity of the content, such as high-end commercials or detailed documentaries, can also influence the price.
Editors in cities with higher living costs may charge more for their services. Similarly, different regions might have different video editing demands, influenced by the presence of media companies or influencers.
For example, a city with a high influencer population - like Los Angeles - may be harder to break into than a smaller, lower profile city.
Who You Work For
Working directly with an individual YouTuber could vary your earnings, depending on the creator's budget, while working with an agency could provide much higher and stable income.
Freelance work requires a lot of initial effort, but could pay dividends in the long run, as you're in charge of finding clients, therefore cutting out the middleman.
So you want to become a YouTube video editor? Here's how you can get started...
Share Your Work
It's a good idea to create a professional portfolio either through a personalized site or YouTube channel to demonstrate your editing abilities. Include a variety of examples, genres, and styles to show off your versatility.
Don't hesitate to include personal or mock projects, especially if you're just starting out. This can help you demonstrate your creativity even without professional experience.
Find Opportunities Through Networking
The toughest part of being a YouTube video editor can be finding work, but there are a few straightforward things you can do to build a network and start finding opportunities.
Join an online community. The internet is filled with forums, social media groups, and video editing platforms that can help you engage with other professionals and potentially lead to work opportunities down the line.
Attend events. Industry events are everywhere! From workshops to conferences, building relationships with other content editors or content creators can help you expand your potential.
Improve Your Skills
Never stop expanding your skills. Take the time to follow online courses, tutorials, and workshops no matter how comfortable you feel with your abilities.
Once you reach a point where you feel financially stable, consider investing in better editing software or other useful tools.
All YouTube editors should have a basic set of skills and abilities including:
A well trained creative eye
Attention to detail
Good communication skills
Technical skills are arguably the most important - proficiency in video editing software, sound editing, and color grading will be your main selling points as an editor. However, solid communication and an eye for detail can help set you apart from other editors who are proficient in the same skills.
Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and DaVinci Resolve are the most recommended for YouTube editors of all experience levels.
However, when you're just starting out, consider using a free editing software like iMovie to get the feel for the basics without shelling out a ton of money.
Once you've established your skills there, move on to a paid version.