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Video Production Technician: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a video production technician. Research the job description, education and work experience to find out how to start a career in video production. View article »

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Video Production Technicians

Video production technicians are trained to set up, operate and maintain cameras, editing machines, lighting sources, and teleprompters. They work as videographers, directors, producers, production assistants, lighting directors, camera operators, or video editors.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma or equivalent; associate/certificate/bachelor's degree preferred
Degree Field Video production
Experience 5 years experience to be certified; varies by position
Licensure/Certification Voluntary SBE certification and Certified Video Engineer classification available
Key Skills Script writing, video editing, and digital filmmaking skills; installing equipment, troubleshooting media systems, operating cameras, and repairing minor problems; storing video files, compressing data, and upgrading software; directing and cinematography
Salary $41,440 (2015 median for all audio and video technicians)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

To work as a video production technician, a high school diploma or GED and a certificate, an associate or a bachelor's degree in video production or a related field, might be preferred by employers. Experience requirements vary based on the position. However, 5 years experience is needed to earn the Society of Broadcast Engineers' Certified Video Engineer certification.

Video production technicians should have skills in script writing, video editing, digital filmmaking, equipment installation, media systems troubleshooting, camera operations, video file storage, data compression, software upgrading, directing, and cinematography. They should also know how to repair minor problems as they arise.

According to 2015 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics audio and video technicians earned a median salary of $41,440 annually.

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Steps to be a Production Technician

Step 1: Complete High School

Video production technicians begin their careers by earning their high school diploma or its equivalent. Courses in electronics and participation in high school clubs that help setup or operate video production equipment help prospective candidates gain experience.

Step 2: Consider Postsecondary Educational Options

Although some entry level positions in video production are open to high school graduates, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that video technicians consider postsecondary options, such as a certificate or associate's degree program, in order to gain advanced skills (www.bls.gov). Students in certificate programs complete coursework in less than a year, which provides training in electronic circuitry, video editing, studio production techniques, and graphic imaging.

Associate's degree programs build on these ideas and teach principles necessary to produce high-quality video presentations. Students study many aspects of video technology, including script writing, advanced editing and digital filmmaking. They also learn to use a variety of computer software programs vital to the field, and to work as a member of a production team.

Step 3: Find Employment

Graduates work for television stations, cable TV companies, government agencies, and industries that require the use of video images to inform and educate. They are responsible for installing equipment, troubleshooting media systems, operating cameras, and repairing minor problems with equipment. Other duties include storing video files, compressing data, and upgrading software.

Step 4: Pursuing a Bachelor's Degree

Aspiring video production technicians also acquire a bachelor's degree focusing on video production. Bachelor's degree programs concentrate on preparing graduates to work with interactive media or website design, where knowledge of video production is an increasingly valuable skill. Specializations include screenwriting, cinematography, or directing. Some programs require students to work with a team to produce a 'thesis film' that will be evaluated as part of the coursework.

Step 5: Become Certified with a Professional Organization for Career Advancement

Acquiring a certificate from a professional organization, such as the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) helps video production experts increase their earning power and advance to levels of greater responsibility (www.sbe.org).

A candidate for the Certified Video Engineer classification must have five years of experience in the industry and pass a proficiency exam. A bachelor's degree is counted as four years of experience, and an associate degree is valued as two years of experience. The SBE exams last for three hours and consist of 50 questions covering all aspects of video production.

Video and audio equipment technicians earned an annual median salary of $41,440 in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which noted that from 2014-2024, employment opportunities in this field would grow 7%.

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