Many of us love movies and television, but the dream of working in film or video can seem far away. But now, with film schools taking their programs online, you can go to film school online and get a degree that can open up a career that you will love. You can get an online film degree at any level, from just a quick certificate all the way up to a terminal master’s degree. Plus, you can pursue many fascinating specialties in film—from production to film studies—at an online film school. We have put together a list of the top film schools that offer online degrees so that you can find the right choice to turn your passion into a career.
Who Goes to Film School Online?
If you dream of working in the movies, you are not alone. But to get there, you usually need some training to get you started. People from all age groups and all walks of life pursue filming degrees, and since there is a movement towards hearing more different voices in our media landscape, now may be the time for you to add your unique perspective to news and entertainment by studying film, television, and digital media. Whether you want to watch films and become a critic, publicize motion pictures, or become a special effects artist, you can start on that path with an online film degree. And when you go to an online film school, you don’t have to give up your day job while you go after your dream career.
Filming Degrees from Associate’s to Master’s
Whether you have just finished high school or your GED, or already have an undergraduate degree and career in another field, we have found the best film colleges for you to enter the media industry. With an associate’s degree, which usually takes two years to complete, or even an undergraduate certificate in film, you can go out and look for jobs in the industry, from technical production positions to acting. If you know you want to go further, you may want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in film school, which could prepare you for a role such as a television writer, a cinematographer, an editor, or many other positions. But for those who already have an undergraduate degree in a related or completely different subject, getting a master’s degree is a terrific idea. A master of arts or master of sciences degree will often give you lots of preparation for a professional career, and you can study film theory, production, or writing for film. For those who may wish to teach, a master of fine arts is considered a terminal degree and will allow you to teach in universities and colleges, while a master of humanities will qualify you to teach at a community or junior college level.
Careers After Online Film School
With the digital media explosion, jobs in motion pictures have also expanded into new and different roles for professionals. Not only do we still need people to produce, direct, write, and edit Hollywood films and television, but we need people who can do that for webcasting or internet applications of moving images. Video is used widely in corporations, both for advertising and for training, and there are jobs making these important media types. We still need plenty of people to help broadcast the news, sports, special events, and the important money-making commercials which make so much of entertainment possible. Plus, we need people to write about entertainment, study how fil changes the world, and we need people to teach others about media and digital communication. There are lots of different types of jobs that you can get with an online film degree.
Let’s just look at some numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which records average salaries and predicts how many jobs there will be in various professions. For producers and directors, who averagein annual salary, jobs are likely to increase 10% between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than average. Jobs for film and video editors and camera operators are expected to grow even faster, at 18%, and salaries average for these jobs. Audio and broadcast technicians and engineers, who typically need a certificate or an associate’s degree, also make a decent salary of $45,510, and jobs are set to increase much faster than average at 9%. Multimedia artists and animators make an average of $75,270 per year. But what you make may be much higher than any of these averages, though you will likely need to work in the profession for a number of years before commanding the top salaries. But the sky is the limit, especially with all the new careers you may find in digital media. No matter what inspires you about the motion picture industry, you can find a career path that will allow you to fulfill your dreams.
Top 11 Online Film Schools
Now let’s get down to the top film schools to get an online film degree:
Academy of Art University
Total Cost (In-State): $63,853 – $127,661
For top-notch creative degrees and customized interactive platforms, Academy of Art University is a great place to go for your online AA, BFA, or MFA in Motion Pictures and Television. The AA gives students 66 credits of coursework that can transition them easily into the BFA, if they choose. The BFA has a total of 132 credits, which will include liberal arts, core, and major classes. Students in the MFA work on more advanced topics, as well as concentrate on “directed study,” which is work on a major project for the student’s portfolio. While all three degree programs help students develop basic filmmaking skills, the BFA and MFA students may choose an area of concentration: cinematography, screenwriting, editing, directing, producing, or production design. There are many advantages to the AAU programs beyond their excellent courses and experienced faculty: students have many opportunities to interact with peers in other programs, attend streaming VIP events and presentations, get career advice and mentorships, and access plenty of online support for learning. AAU also offers a film school online certificate program of 120 credits for those who don’t feel the need for a degree, but want all the excellent film training. With a complete set of courses covering sound design, cinematography, lighting, film history, virtual reality and more, the degree programs at Academy of Art University offer many chances to develop skills and find a career focus in the film industry. AAU is one of the best film colleges for students who want professional training, while also learning the artistry of this creative industry.
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Total Cost (In-State): $25,140
Asbury University offers the online MFA in Film & Television Production to students with or without prior coursework in media. The program can be completed full time in five semesters, but most students study part time and complete the programs in three to four years. There are some prerequisites for students who don’t have a background in media, and these can be taken as on-campus two-week intensives in the summer. All students are required to attend a two-week media workshop in Los Angeles, but all other courses can be taken completely online. Asbury also offers an MFA in Screenwriting or and MA in Digital Storytelling. Applicants to the program need to have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and submit a demo reel to be considered. Students can transfer up to 12 credits from another program, and can apply to get credit for any professional media experience in lieu of taking a specific course. The degree program teaches theory and practice, and Asbury University offers strong academic and practical training within a Christian spiritual tradition. One of the great film production schools for distance learners or those who reside near the university, Asbury offers a solid film program that appeals to students from all walks of life.
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Georgia State University
Total Cost (In-State): $7,620
The pathway towards the online AA in Film and Media Studies at Georgia State University allows students to smoothly continue on to a bachelor’s degree in this field at GSU. Designed as a first step for students who are interested in employment in television, commercial production, film, webcasting, and more, students will get a solid grounding in 42 credits of core liberal arts curriculum, plus 18 credits in this specialized pathway. Students can start in fall, spring, or summer terms, and are required to take classes in aesthetics and film history, but then can choose from among many options to complete the pathway courses, including film production, theater, history, cultural studies, and many more specific options. For students who want a basic degree, with a great array of elective courses to meet their interests, the AA degree from Georgia State is a terrific way to get started towards a career in film—and entirely online.
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Grand Canyon University
Total Cost (In-State): $60,200
Grand Canyon University offers an online BA in Digital Filmmaking-Production and also a BA in Digital Filmmaking-Screenwriting. Online classes are 7 weeks long, and each degree requires 120 credits for completion. 60 credits are in the major, with general education and elective courses rounding out the program. GCU has a Christian grounding, with one required course on Christian Worldview, but students do not need to sign any type of religious pledge to be part of the program. Both programs offer comprehensive courses in their respective areas of filmmaking, including film history, acting, editing, visual storytelling, directing and more. The programs are designed to give students grounding in the profession, as well as a solid undergraduate education, so that they may go on to get jobs in the film and television industry. The GCU programs are great for students who know they want to either specialize in production or writing, and seek a distance education that incorporates ethics and values.
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Los Angeles Film School
Total Cost (In-State): $68,400
The online BS in Digital Filmmaking from Los Angeles Film School gives students the skills to become what is known as a “preditor,” a producer/director/editor, capable of performing all of those essential functions in the creation of film and video products. All courses are 100% online and accessible 24 hours a day, and the 120-credit program is designed to be completed in 36 months. The school provides students with digital filmmaking tools like Adobe Premier and After Effects. Courses in filmmaking include the basics of cinematography, editing, screenwriting, and production design, along with more specialized courses like location scouting, color correction, special effects, and documentary production. General education courses include many that have direct applications to the entertainment business, such as mathematics, behavioral science, and leadership and organizational behavior. The degree culminates in a series of capstone projects in film production, allowing students to create work that will demonstrate their skills. For those who have other interests in the film business, LA Film School offers the BS degree with specializations in Entertainment Business, Animation, or Writing for TV & Film. A great all-around digital film program comes in this nice package from LA Film School, and it is one of the best colleges for film for those who want to be able to write, produce, direct, and edit their own work.
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Total Cost (In-State): $19,990
The online MA in Film Studies at National University, a veteran-founded school, concentrates on the study of film through examining history, directors, theory, international cinema, and more. The degree allows students to research and write on the topics of film theory, aesthetics, history, or on particular directors. Students engage in critical discussions of film theory and other topics within film studies. The whole 10-course program can be completed online, with monthly start dates and accelerated courses available. Students must take the seven core courses before engaging in the capstone project, which includes writing a paper for submission to a scholarly journal. The National University film school online degree is a great program for students seeking a serious film studies education which includes both written and oral discussions of American and international film.
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Northcentral Technical College
Total Cost (In-State): $10,109
Northcentral Technical College offers an online AAS in Video Production that is 62 credits long and can be completed 100% online. The virtual option allows self-motivated students to study at their own pace. NTC offers credit for prior experience and has agreements in place for graduates of this degree program to transfer to other schools for a bachelor’s degree. This program offers not just a degree, but a good foundation in producing professional videos from a technical, conceptual, and design perspective. Courses include editing, audio, mathematics, sociology, 2D motion design, on-location production, and portfolio preparation. The AAS in Video Production from Northern Technical College is a great way to get all the skills you need to start out in professional video production, and doing it online gives you the flexibility to fit this degree in around your work and family commitments.
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Total Cost (In-State): $21,700 – $31,350
If you are looking for an online MA in Film-Television, Regent University offers two different options of concentration: Producing or Screenwriting. Each program is a minimum of 30 credits of work and culminates in a capstone project appropriate to the concentration. Regent also offers an online MFA in Screenwriting for those who want a terminal degree in film that would allow them to teach at the university level. The MFA requires a minimum of 44 credits of study. All the online courses are eight weeks long, and there are eight different possible start dates per year. Tuition is the same reasonable rate for in-state or out-of-state students. Not only do these online film programs offer thorough professional training in these concentrations, but they also offer a Christian perspective. For students who want to become storytellers using Christian principles, Regent University is one of the top film production schools online for students from all geographical areas.
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Savannah College of Art and Design
Total Cost (In-State): $38,975
For those who are interested in motion graphics, which is an in-demand field of expertise in film, television, and digital media, the online MA in Motion Media Design from Savannah College of Art and Design can provide an excellent professional education. The core program is 45 credit hours of work, but at the time of admission, up to five additional graduate level intensive courses may be assigned, bringing the total number of hours up to a possible 70. Courses include Contemporary Art, Visualization and Concept Storyboarding, Motion Media Cinematography and Editing, Studio Business Practice, Dynamic Topography, Media Theory and Application, electives, and a required final project. The program encourages collaboration across disciplines, and prepares students to make graphics for blockbuster films, sports, or for the mobile devices we use every day. For students who know they want a profession that incorporates design, graphics, and moving images, the Savannah College of Art and Design MA program offers excellent preparation for an exciting career.
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Total Cost (In-State): $17,300
Tiffin University’s online Master of Humanities – Film Studies is a 100% online degree program composed of 30 credits of in-depth courses in fascinating subjects pertaining to film history, theory, and aesthetics. Part time students usually finish the program in two and a half years, while full time students can complete the degree in one and a half years. Transfer credits are accepted, and the school is regionally accredited. Courses include Classic Hollywood Cinema, Censorship, Cult and Independent Films, plus numerous other topics covering international and American films from the beginning of the industry up to the present day. The degree from Tiffin is great for students who want a distance education in film studies and who want to teach at a 2-year college.
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University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Total Cost (In-State): $7,330
It is easy to get into the University of Massachusetts-Amherst online Certificate in Film Studies—there is no admission procedure and anyone can register for the classes required to complete the certificate program. This 18-credit undergraduate certificate gives students a great quick education in the history, aesthetics, production, theory, and criticism of motion pictures. Students can use the certificate to help them get into prestigious film schools, apply for jobs in film distribution or production, or become independent filmmakers themselves. There are six courses required for the certificate, one in each of six different categories. Sample courses include African Films, Making Short Films, The Horror Film, TV Screenwriting: The Pilot Episode, The Western in Transnational Cinema, Advanced Filmmaking, and more. The UMass-Amherst online film certificate program makes a great choice for students seeking a quick credential comprised of powerful courses that will give them a strong foundation for further study or professional work in the film industry.
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Getting Started in Online Film School
Distance education brings film training to you, no matter where you live. Gone are the days when you had to quit your job and move to Los Angeles to get into motion pictures. You can start your online film degree from the comfort of your own home with one of these recommended film school online programs. Take a look and see if you can envision the path to your future in the movies right now!