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Camera Operator Schools and Training Programs

Camera operators are trained to work in many different industries, including film, television and music. Find out more about the camera operator schools and training programs available to you, and explore career options in this field.

What You Need to Know

Although a degree is not required to become a camera operator, it may help interested candidates find more desirable employment. Film and related media degree programs familiarize students with the filming process, including camera operation techniques and technology.

Degrees Associate's and bachelor's in film and related studies
Courses Lighting for the Camera, Production Design, Broadcast Production, Film and Moving Image History, Production Management
Training Options Apprenticeships, internships

Where Can I Learn Camera Operation?

The United States Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration lists camera operator on its list of apprenticeable occupations. Apprentices are people who train with a professional mentor, getting paid while undergoing a combination of on-the-job learning and classroom study. Camera operator apprenticeships may not be common. If you'd like to learn more, you can visit the federal Office of Apprenticeship online (www.doleta.gov/oa/) or contact your state's apprenticeship office. You might also want to consider these schools which offer camera operator training programs:

  • Stevenson University (MD)
  • Lansing Community College (MI)
  • Pittsburgh State University (PA)
  • New York Film Academy (New York, NY)
  • Academy of Art University (San Francisco, CA)
  • SAE Institute (New York, NY)
  • Diable Valley College (Pleasant Hill/San Ramon, CA)

How About Degree Programs?

Associate's degree programs in digital media or communication arts are also available at many community colleges. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), camera operators usually need to earn a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). Several 4-year schools offer bachelor's degree programs in film and video production.

What Will I Learn in a Degree Program?

A communication arts or digital media associate's degree program introduces you to the cinematography, video production, radio production and acting fields. Many programs also require you to complete an internship before graduating. These topics may be studied:

  • History of broadcasting
  • TV production techniques
  • Music video production techniques
  • Camera operations
  • Lighting
  • Digital video editing

What Will I Learn in a Bachelor's Degree Program?

A bachelor's degree in film and video production allows you to take a more in-depth look at these industries. You can also learn how to operate state-of-the-art equipment, such as the Sony HDCAM and Varicam high-definition cameras. Students in these programs may also complete internships. These topics might be covered in your bachelor's program:

  • Studio setup
  • Studio lighting
  • Location lighting
  • Field production
  • Self-employment strategies

What Will These Programs Prepare Me For?

Camera operators can film television shows for TV networks. They may also work for film studios as cinematographers, according to the BLS. You can also find work as an electronic news gathering (ENG) operator with a local or national news outlet. These camera operators work in the field and film events as they are happening.