Camera Technician: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a camera technician. Learn about the usual responsibilities, required education and annual salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Digital Media Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Camera Technician?

What is film, television, or internet videos without cameras? Radio, I would say. Cameras are still necessary and like all electrical equipment, they eventually need repair. Digital, video cassette, and analog film cameras need to be fixed at times and camera technicians have the training to troubleshoot problems and fix the issues. Camera technicians could work independently or for a repair company or even a large studio who does repair work in house.

Camera technicians are in charge of keeping all camera equipment in working condition. The following table presents information for this career:

Education Required Vocational certificate or associate's degree program (recommended)
Training Required On-the-job training, apprenticeship or internship in electronics repair or camera repair
Education Field of Study Electronics certificate, electronics technology
Key Responsibilities Disassemble and inspect camera equipment; diagnose equipment problems; repair, clean, test and calibrate equipment
Job Growth (2014-24) 5%*
Median Salary (2015) $40,620*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Camera Technician Do?

If you are working as a camera technician (camera repair person or camera equipment repairer), you are primarily responsible for repairing all types of cameras and other photographic equipment. Specific job duties might include disassembling and inspecting camera equipment to determine the problem, repairing, cleaning and calibrating cameras and broken parts and testing cameras for performance. You require a good understanding of the different components that make up a camera, including lenses, shutters, viewfinders and lens mounts. You need to be able to read camera instructions and specifications to find and solve technical problems.

What Educational and Training Programs Are Available?

You might be able to learn the necessary skills through on-the-job training. However, some employers require you to complete a vocational certificate or associate's degree program before hiring you. A basic Electronics Certificate program can provide you with an understanding of fundamental DC (direct current) and AC (alternating current) electrical circuits. In an Associate of Science in Electronics Technology, you learn advanced troubleshooting procedures to repair electronics.

A program that combines hands-on training and classroom study of theory is a good choice. After graduating and obtaining a position, a senior technician will probably mentor you. However, the most common pathway to becoming a camera repairer is to enroll in an apprenticeship or internship in electronics repair or camera repair. Such programs typically take about two years to complete.

What Skills Will I Need for the Job

You need to have an understanding of electronics and basic engineering technology, along with knowing how to use hand tools. You should have strong eyesight and finger dexterity to work with the small pieces. You may work as a freelance camera technician or you may find a position within a repair or service center where you work either in the shop or in the field. If you are interacting with customers, good customer service skills are necessary.

What Salary Could I Expect?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), the median annual salary for camera and photographic equipment repairers was $40,620 in 2015. Jobs for these workers were only expected to increase slightly (5%) between 2014 and 2024, since cameras are becoming less expensive and individuals discard old cameras rather than getting them repaired.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several related career areas available for camera technicians with just some post secondary education. Broadcast and sound engineering technicians may operate and maintain all the media equipment for a studio or film set. Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers use their skills to install or repair telecom products from landline phones to wireless devices. Another field of endeavor could be as a general maintenance repair workers. These professions need experience in a variety of repair work including electrical and appliance work.

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