Camera Operator Certification and Training Program Information

Explore educational and training program options for the aspiring camera operator. See potential program topics as well as salary statistics and continuing education details.

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Essential Information

Certification in camera operation isn't typically required for camera operator jobs; however, certificate and training programs in camera operation, videography and cinematography may prepare students for entry-level jobs in film and television industries. Training programs may also prepare them for further academic study in film production.

Camera operators, also known as videographers, shoot scenes for visual media, including television broadcasts, studio films and documentaries. Although professional camera operators typically hold a bachelor's degree in film production, training programs may provide the technical training needed for smaller productions.

Offered by community colleges and film schools, programs in videography, film production and cinematography offer foundational study and hands-on practice in video camera operation and camera technique. Training programs may require students to have a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Program Coursework

Through classroom lecture and hands-on experience, students become familiar with technical aspects, such as frame composition, camera movement and lighting. Students also learn production concepts, such as how camera operators work with a director of photography and how camera crews operate on film and television sets. Other topics of study include:

  • Camera shooting techniques
  • Videography
  • Cinematography
  • Set lighting
  • Film and digital camera operation

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2012, the annual mean wage for camera operators working in the television, video and motion picture industries was $49,010 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported an expected 2% employment growth for these camera operators between 2010 and 2020. The BLS also noted that keen competition is expected due to the number of people aspiring to enter the entertainment industries.

Continuing Education

An advanced technical study of cinematography further develops camera operation skills and shooting techniques. After learning the essential camera operation and videography skills, camera operators typically work smaller production jobs, eventually moving on to larger and higher-profile productions through professional networking, gaining work experience and developing a professional reputation.

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