Camera Operators


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Take classes that will prepare you for the technical aspect of the work—courses in photography, journalism, and media arts should give you some hands-on experience with a camera. Mathematics and science can help you understand cameras and filters. You should also take art and art history classes and other courses that will help you develop appreciation of visual styles.

Postsecondary Training

A bachelor's degree or graduation from certificate program at a broadcast television training school, such as the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, is typically required for most positions as a camera operator. A bachelor's degree in liberal arts or film studies that also include business courses provides a good background for work in the film industry, while practical experience and industry connections will provide the best opportunities for work.

You may wish to apply for enrollment in an undergraduate or a master's program at a film school at a private university. Schools offering well-established programs include the School of Visual Arts in New York, New York University, and the University of Southern California. These schools have film professionals on their faculties and provide a very visible stage for student talent, being located in the two film business hot spots—New York and California. Film school offers overall formal training, providing an education in fundamental skills by working with student productions. These programs are academically rigorous and can provide you with peer groups and a network of contacts with students, faculty, and guest speakers that can be of help after graduation.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for camera operators.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Effective camera operators possess knowledge and experience in visual media, computers and electronics, telecommunications, and the practical applications of technology to the basic operations of different cameras. Using this knowledge and experience, camera operators also apply skills in coordinating hand and eye to produce clear images, and using superior eyesight in order to see clearly what they are filming. Finally, camera operators should possess the personal qualities of dependability, adaptability, attention to detail, and ability to cooperate and work easily with others while also maintaining high standards of excellence, producing innovative and independent solutions to problems, and maintaining self-control and calmness in high-stress situations.