When you see a brilliant white Apple-branded certificate of accomplishment framed and hanging in an editing suite, it can make your soul fill up with envy. I mean, how better can you show off your video editing swagger than with the seal of approval from Apple itself? However, those Final Cut Pro certification papers come with a price. Not only are the tests expensive, but they also require you to spend multiple hours sitting in training sessions. Is the time and money worth the investment? Or are you better off as a self taught guru? We look at some of the pros and cons of the Apple Certification process, and whether or not you need it to professionally edit a clip.

What is Final Cut Certification?

Final Cut certification is a series of classes and tests that are approved by Apple and are made to distinguish different levels of professional knowledge. They offer certifications for many of their media programs, Final Cut being one of them. There are three different tiers of Final Cut certification:

  • Certified Associate: this level does not require a class. You can take the test online to prove your basic knowledge of the Final Cut platform. This is designed for students or recent grads that may be trying to distinguish themselves in the work force.
  • Certified Pro Level 1: This is the first professional level of certification that you can obtain. It requires that you attend a Final Cut class and pass a test at the end. This level is a comprehensive overview of the entire program’s basic functions.
  • Certified Pro Level 2: Just like Certified Pro Level 1, this certification also requires a class and a test immediately following. Level 2 requires an in depth mastery of advanced functions.

Why should I get certified?

There are many advantages to getting Final Cut certified. On the most basic level, it is the best and most efficient way to learn all of the features the program has to offer. Not only that, you’ll be learning from a certified professional who will be able to walk you through the advanced features of the program better than a user’s manual can.

Of course, there are professional benefits to becoming certified, as well. Being able to proclaim that you are Apple certified on a resume is certainly a selling point for employers. It shows you took the time to invest in your own professional development. Upon completing certification, you’re also allowed to enroll in Apple’s certification registry. This not only catalogues you among some of the most knowledgeable and well-trained editors in the field, but is also is a great way to publicize your skills online. And if you’re planning on teaching video editing in any capacity, certification is often required, so you’ll already be qualified when applying for those jobs.
Finally, you get that snazzy certificate to hang in your office. It looks good, and it impresses clients!

Why shouldn’t I get certified?

While there are certainly many advantages to getting Final Cut certified, there are also some drawbacks. First and foremost is the amount of time and money needed to get through the program. While the test itself only costs $150 to take on its own, the classes required to pass the test can cost upwards of $1,000. Many classes take at least 2-3 days to complete, as well. If you’re self-employed or your employer won’t pay for the classes or give you time off, it’s almost impossible to justify this amount of time and money.

And speaking of employers…not all of them care if you’re Final Cut certified. Many, if not most, employers would rather see an impressive demo reel than your Final Cut certificate. Many aspect of the video editing field can be self-taught through trial and error and online tutorials. If you have the patience and discipline to teach yourself, seeking out certification may not be worth it.

In the end, it’s up to you. If you are relatively new to the program and the video editing industry, signing up for a certification may be a wise investment in your future. However, if you’ve been editing for some time now and are just looking for a resume booster, you may want to consider spending those extra hours on sprucing up your demo reel instead.

What do you think? Are you Final Cut certified? Has it been beneficial to you? Let us know! Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter. We love hearing from you!