How Much Do YouTube Editors Make? - Freelance Vs Full-Time

Vukasin Ilic 6 min read
Table of Contents

Are you a video editor who wants to get into the world of editing YouTube videos? It can be a tough gig to find, especially when you’re starting off.

However, with the right skillset and enough experience, you can slowly build your business.

And by reading this guide, you can get some tips on what makes a great YouTube editor.

You’ll find information on how much you can make, how to charge more for editing services, what skills can increase earnings, other ways to boost your income while you’re finding YouTube creator clients, and much more.

How Much Do YouTube Editors Make?

YouTube editors can make between $25 and $50 an hour, on average.

It’s important to remember that there are so many creators with small channels that pay low rates and then there are the highest-grossing YouTubers in the world who pay great rates.

For example, PewDiePie has over 111 million subscribers. He has a team of editors, at least one of which earns over $100,000 a year in rates, royalties, and bonuses.

But for every high-earning editor, there are countless making less than $25 an hour.

Seeing as your rate can depend on skills, experience, location, and more, this can be good or bad.

How Much Do Video Editors Make? - Freelance Vs Full-Time

The average hourly rate for a freelance editor in the U.S. is $45.

This works out as just over $86,000 a year if you work a full-time schedule of 40 hours a week all year round.

Full-time, in-house video editors make around $30.75 an hour, or $59,000 a year.

These average values can give you an idea of how much you can be earning as a video editor in different roles.

If you work full-time with a fixed salary for a company or with a select few creators, you can earn less than a freelancer who sets their own rate depending on the job.

Of course, money isn’t the only factor to consider.

Freelance Vs Full-Time - Pros and Cons

Here are some pros and cons to consider if you’re looking into being a freelance video editor or a full-time employee for a media company.



  • Control your own schedule
  • Set your own rate and increase it when you want
  • Control your career progression
  • Work where you want
  • Varied jobs
  • Final decision on what content you work on
  • Work on your own - peace and quiet


  • Less stability in terms of work and income
  • You need to expand your network
  • You need to find your own work
  • You’re in charge of doing taxes (or finding an accountant), paying insurance, social security, etc.
  • No guidance or mentoring
  • No sick or vacation leave
  • Work on your own - no socializing at work



  • Stable salary
  • Less expenses (computer, desk, software, etc.)
  • Employment benefits
  • Guidance and mentoring
  • No need to network
  • Paid sick and vacation leave
  • Office social life - social interaction and possibility to make friends and collaborators


  • Lower pay than freelance in advanced cases
  • No guaranteed salary increase
  • Less freedom
  • No say on what you work on
  • Monotony
  • Targets can lead to quantity over quality
  • Office social life - office politics and noise

Skills To Develop to Make More Money as a YouTube Editor

Making more money is always going to be a factor in your career.

You might need to save up for a house and a family.

Or maybe you just want more cash for buying stuff you like and traveling. The new PlayStation isn’t going to buy itself.

So here are some skills you can develop to become a better editor and work towards a higher income.

  • Technical skills (advanced color correction, motion graphics, audio mixing, software proficiency,...)
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Eye for detail
  • Communication skills

All of these can help you work better - by yourself, with a client, or with a team. And the better you work, the higher your rate can be.

How To Pick Your Rate as a YouTube Editor

Setting your rate is one of the most important parts of being a video editor.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a freelancer or have been asked to work for someone full-time.

You need to be able to objectively look at your experience level and your skills and value yourself correctly.

Comparing yourself to other editors can be both good and bad.

If you see an editor with similar experience and skills asking for $15 an hour, and you’re not feeling too confident about yourself, you might want to equal their rate.

However, they might not be valuing themselves correctly.

On the other hand, if you see an editor asking for $60 an hour and you share the same skills and experience level, you might feel that they’re asking for too much.

Or it might boost your confidence and help you say, “I’m a great video editor and deserve a fair rate”.

Finally, you also need to be able to see freelancers asking for huge rates and understand within yourself that you’re not at that level… Yet. And if you want to be, you need to start dedicating yourself to advancing your skills.

Your rate should also depend on what the client is looking for. If they want something simple, you can consider a lower rate. If they want advanced techniques that few editors have, then make sure your rate matches the workload.

So, here are some factors to consider when choosing your rate:

  • Skills
  • Experience level
  • Your software costs
  • Your subscription costs (like a monthly rate for Adobe Premiere Pro)
  • Your tech costs
  • Length of the video
  • Client’s demands/revisions
  • Delivery time (next day delivery always costs more, just like Amazon)

Hourly Vs Per Video Rate

You should also consider if you want to be paid by the hour or per project. This can be one video at a time or a bunch of videos.

One way of looking at it is if you’re a fast or slow editor. Getting paid per video is great if you’re quick at editing.

An hourly rate can be better if you work more slowly.

Hourly can also work out best if you don’t know the client too well. They might ask for revisions and throw in new details as you’re working. This will take you longer than expected, but you’ll keep making money as each hour goes by.

If you’re sticking to a per video rate, you can limit the number of revisions you’ll do. If the client wants a countless number of changes, you’ll be earning less and you’ll be taking time away from other jobs.

You can tell them that you charge $75 per video with one or two revisions. If they’re not happy with the second cut, they need to start paying extra.

Other Ways to Increase Your Earnings

Looking exclusively for YouTube editing jobs can restrict your work, especially if you’re just starting off.

Here are a few editing gigs that can increase your earnings and experience. You just need to know where to find them.

  • Social media
  • Weddings and other events
  • Music videos
  • Commercials
  • Episodic shows

Where To Look for Editing Jobs

Growing your network is the best way to find jobs, but reaching out on different platforms can bring in lots of work, especially when you’re beginning your career.

For example:

  • Freelancing websites (Upwork, Fiverr,...)
  • Social media (YouTube, Instagram,...)
  • Reddit

Freelancing Websites

Set yourself up as a freelance video editor on websites like Upwork and Fiverr and start looking for jobs. Some are paid badly, and some are paid well. As you get more reviews, you’ll start attracting better clients.

Social Media

If you want to work with a specific YouTuber, why not send them a message asking if they need a video editor?

You can comment on their videos, or reach out on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or even LinkedIn.

You don’t need to focus exclusively on YouTube videos. To boost your earnings and expand your network, try working on Reels, TikToks, and more.


Reddit is an amazing website for getting advice from other editors and reaching out to possible clients.

Subreddits like r/VideoEditing, r/Videography, and r/Editors can guide you in finding jobs, setting your rates, enhancing your skills, and so much more.

Bottom Line - Can You Make a Living As a YouTube Editor?

With the right skills, experience level, dedication, and networking capabilities, you can make a living as a YouTube video editor.

You just need to find the right jobs, set a good rate, and communicate well with clients.

Even if you’re starting at the bottom, hard work and dedication really can bring you to the top.

Don’t forget that YouTube isn’t the only place to look for jobs.

Editing videos for events, music videos, social media influencers, and more can increase your earnings and get you to a steadier revenue.

Or you can find a full-time job with a company that pays you a fixed income. You’ll get benefits and work with a team towards a common goal.

You won’t have the same freedom as a freelancer, but you will have a lot more stability.

Would you prefer to be a freelance or full-time video editor? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


Join the conversation

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