Home > The 10 Best Film Schools In The United States in 2017

The 10 Best Film Schools In The United States in 2017

What is it that makes one film school superior to another? The process of creating a film, regardless of whether it is art, cinema, or documentary, and regardless of where it is filmed requires knowledge in a variety of areas. Directors are more than just camera operators; they must understand the theory behind film, the technology necessary to capture events on film, and the knowledge to produce a meaningful series of images which convey the intended meaning behind the project.

A good film school will teach students the skills and knowledge needed to convey their meaning and vision through film. An excellent film school will produce graduates who have developed an inherent understanding of film theory, as well as who have the creativity to produce unique projects and the ability to successfully implement their ideas. Developing a curriculum that advances each student’s natural abilities and cultivates an advanced understanding of film is essential to success in the commercial or private film industry.

Camera operators must understand the foundational premise of multiple subject matters. Gaining an understanding of journalism, communications, marketing, graphic design, computers, and photography are all invaluable to a career in film. Every one of these fields provide knowledge that is essential to the production of meaningful films, though students may also need to develop a more in-depth understanding of certain areas based on the nature of film in which they intend to work. To this end, certain schools may provide a general overview of the field but may concentrate more in one area than another.

Schools that offer strong degree programs in film will provide sufficient training in multiple areas to ensure graduates are equipped with a comprehensive understanding of the entire industry, not just small segments which barely cover the vital areas. By encompassing each aspect of the film industry, students are given the opportunity to explore their individual interests, and make an informed decision as to where their strengths lie and which specialty is most relevant to their abilities.

Picking the Right Film School

With the high level of competition imposed on individuals vying for positions in the film industry, choosing the right school is crucial. Applicants should pay attention to film school rankings, and graduates entering the film industry will need to rely substantially on the reputation of their school in order to give themselves an advantage over other applicants applying for the same position. A limited number of entry level positions are expected to be available over the next several years, as competition will be fierce. With limited practical experience, the quality of the education received by a candidate will be the deciding factor most employers will consider above all else when selecting whom to hire.

Choosing a school ranked among the top in the nation can provide film graduates with a unique competitive edge. BLS reports that between 2014 and 2024, careers in filmmaking and production are expected to grow by 9%, a slightly faster rate of growth than most careers in the U.S. Most individuals entering this field can expect, over the course of their career, to earn a median salary of $70,000 per year, though those with graduate/master’s degrees are likely to make slightly more.

What Are The Best Film Schools?



To determine the best film schools, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the 10 best film schools. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.

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