Television, Video and Motion Picture Camera Operators: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

Television, Video and Motion Picture Camera Operators operate television, video, or motion picture camera to record images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, video production, or motion pictures.

  • Compose and frame each shot, applying the technical aspects of light, lenses, film, filters, and camera settings to achieve the effects sought by directors.
  • Operate television or motion picture cameras to record scenes for television broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.
  • Edit video for broadcast productions, including non-linear editing.
  • Instruct camera operators regarding camera setups, angles, distances, movement, and variables and cues for starting and stopping filming.
Read more about what does a Television, Video and Motion Picture Camera Operator really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$61750 per year

Average hourly wage
$30 per hour

Camera Operators with little to no experience tend to make between $25790 and $36520 while the more experienced ones can earn over $77290 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
NY $42 $86,430
DC $37 $77,770
CA $37 $77,540
OR $33 $68,100
WA $31 $65,400

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Television, Video and Motion Picture Camera Operator is to move to a higher paying state like NY. Right now, the highest paying states for Camera Operators are NY, DC, CA, OR and WA.

However, a higher pay at NY doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at NY might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Television, Video and Motion Picture Camera Operator is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Associate’s degree

We asked other Camera Operators what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had an Associate’s Degree followed by a High School Diploma.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Radio and Television Broadcasting Technology/Technician
Audiovisual Communications Technologies/Technicians, Other
Cinematography and Film/Video Production
Documentary Production
Read more about how to become a Television, Video and Motion Picture Camera Operator and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Television, Video and Motion Picture Camera Operator.

Suitable for people who likes practical and hands-on work
Suitable for people who wants to work in a supportive work environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Not suitable for people who likes to start and carry out projects
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

68% of Camera Operators said they were satisfied with their job and 49% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Builders and The Artists

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery..

They also like working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Learn more about Camera Operators

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Related career information

Camera Operators job description, Camera Operators salary, Camera Operators information, what is the job of a Television, Video and Motion Picture Camera Operator like, pros and cons about Television, Video and Motion Picture Camera Operators, colleges and universities for Television, Video and Motion Picture Camera Operators, is Television, Video and Motion Picture Camera Operators the right career for me, careers in Art, Entertainment and Sports

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