1. Home: Explore careers
  2. TV or film assistant director

TV or film assistant director

Alternative titles for this job include AD

Assistant directors support directors by organising and planning everything on TV or film sets.

Average salary (a year)


Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 irregular

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become TV or film assistant director

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses run by private training providers


You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • film production
  • creative media production
  • film and television
  • drama or theatre studies
  • business

Courses that include practical skills and work placements are usually the most useful.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information


You could start by taking a college course to help you get a job with a production company. Courses include:

  • Level 3 Diploma in TV and Film Production
  • Level 3 Diploma in Creative Media Production and Technology
  • T Level in Media, Broadcast and Production
  • Level 4 Diploma in Media Production Film-making

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T Level

  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course

More Information


You might start as runner or production assistant on set, and work your way up to 3rd or 2nd assistant director (AD). It can take several years to progress from being a runner through to 1st AD.


You'll need relevant work experience to get into an entry level job like a runner, from where you could work your way up. You could volunteer for student or community film and TV projects.

You can also search for film and TV companies to approach for experience through media business listing services like PACT and The Knowledge.

Direct Application

You could join the Assistant Directors Guild UK for professional support.

Other Routes

You can take short courses in production skills for assistant directors run by film schools, regional screen agencies and private training providers.

More Information

Career tips

It's important to get practical experience of the production process. You'll also need a network of contacts in the industry to help you find work.

You may find it useful to train in health and safety, as this is likely to be part of your duties.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in film and TV from ScreenSkills.

You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • broadcasting and telecommunications knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Most productions use a team of assistant directors (ADs). First, second, and third assistant directors have different jobs.

As first assistant director, you could:

  • plan a filming schedule, taking into account the director’s ideas and the budget
  • manage the hire of locations, props and equipment
  • recruit the cast and crew
  • make sure filming stays on schedule
  • supervise a team of 2nd and 3rd ADs and runners

As second or third assistant director you might:

  • produce daily schedules
  • deliver messages between the set and the production office
  • deal with paperwork
  • organise transport and hotels
  • make sure cast members are on set at the right times
  • direct the action in the background scenes

Working environment

You could work at a TV studio, at a film studio or on a film set.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you may spend nights away from home.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

Many assistant directors work freelance. With experience, you could progress to be a director, production manager or producer.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a TV or film assistant director right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Film and TV Production: Diploma

  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: Altrincham

BTEC Level 3 in Film and TV Production (Double)

  • Start date: 04 September 2024
  • Location: Blackpool

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Is this page useful?

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for your feedback. Click here if you'd like to let us know how we can improve the service.