There are many online programs for documentary and film making. While no official rankings exist as of 2013, determining the best schools depends on your individual goals. Some programs are offered through trade schools at competitive prices, while traditional four-year colleges tend to be much more expensive per class but provide a liberal arts education as well. Those looking for courses in modern digital film making may be better served at a trade school.

Academy of Art University

The Academy of Art University has a film school program that is completely online. This college offers an accredited associates, bachelor's and master's degrees that are all online. Using the latest digital technology, students create scenes and short films to get hands-on experience. Classes include directing, cinematography, lighting, sound and camera angles. This program even offers classes in screenwriting, and each class is taught by professors who work in the field.

New York Video School

The New York Video School offers a wide selection of online courses for a low monthly or yearly cost, which makes it an attractive option. By becoming a member of the website, you gain access to a full curriculum and a social learning community. The instructors have decades of real-world experience in the industry and have worked with some of the leading media broadcasting companies in the nation.

Full Sail University

Full Sail University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in digital cinematography that may be earned completely online. The program covers digital film and video production along with content creation. Classes in documentary film making, commercial production, advanced post-production, story development and even web video courses are available. They also offer specialized classes in mobility and data management to help students learn nonlinear editing, video content archival, file management and compression technology, which are vital aspects of post production that are often overlooked at older colleges.

Arizona State University

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers an online Bachelor of Arts degree in film and media studies. This education is broader that many other online programs and incorporates writing-intensive courses. Some classes include film history, race and gender in American film, new media, Latinos in Hollywood, and screenwriting. Because these courses are offered through a traditional university, the cost is more expensive than some trade schools at $460 dollars per credit hour.