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Cameraman School and College Program Information

Students interested in becoming camera operators can enroll in broadcasting degree programs at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. Students at both levels learn to shoot and edit video, and explore other aspects of journalism and media production.

Essential Information

Students studying broadcasting in both associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs will learn many aspects of media production and journalism, and can often hone their skills by joining campus television stations and participating in internships; hands-on projects are typically part of the curriculum as well. Two-year associate's programs are usually offered at community colleges and technical schools, while bachelor's programs are available through four-year colleges and universities. Bachelor's degree programs require SAT or ACT scores.


Associate of Science in Broadcasting

An associate's degree program in broadcasting introduces students to the video production techniques used by professionals who work as a video producer or camera operator. This program teaches students to use equipment and computer software to shoot and produce quality video and audio. An associate's degree program in broadcasting offers courses on shooting, editing and refining digital video and film. Most programs allow students to work directly with cameras and lighting equipment. Programs also include courses on business, journalism and radio or television advertising. Some broadcasting programs also include filmmaking courses. Other common courses include:

  • Camera handling
  • Broadcast and video equipment
  • Digital editing and video processing
  • Broadcast journalism
  • Video and audio production

Bachelor's Degree in Broadcasting

Most camera operators earn a bachelor's degree in broadcasting. These degree programs usually offer greater resources, such as access to advanced audiovisual equipment and video studios. Most colleges and universities have television stations that allow students to gain experience as camera operators and video producers. Students can also take advantage of internship opportunities with local news media and entertainment businesses. A broadcasting bachelor's degree program offers courses on camera handling, video recording and news production. Many programs offer specialized broadcast courses in news journalism, documentaries, stage direction and broadcast advertising. Typical courses in a bachelor's degree program include:

  • Mass communication theories
  • Broadcast video production techniques
  • Audiovisual concepts
  • Television news production
  • Technical video editing

Employment Outlook and Career Information

Most broadcasting careers require a bachelor's degree in broadcasting. However, an associate's degree can prepare students for entry-level positions as video assistants, broadcast editors and production assistants. These entry-level positions require students to perform basic technical tasks, like setting up and changing lighting and audio equipment. As students gain more experience, they can pursue careers as camera operators and video broadcast producers. There were a projected 25,400 camera operators in 2014, reported the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov).

The BLS expects opportunities for camera operators to increase by 2% from 2014 to 2024. Because broadcasting and camera operation is an attractive career option for many students, competition is expected to be high for camera operators. Television, video and motion picture camera operators earned a median annual salary of $49,080 in 2015, according to the BLS. Camera operators can also work as independently employed freelance professionals, though freelance salaries vary significantly depending on the geographic location and job responsibilities (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education Information

The most common degree among camera operators is a bachelor's degree in broadcasting or videography. Therefore, many students prefer to apply the credits of their associate's degree to a bachelor's degree program. With a bachelor's degree, it is easier for students to find careers as a camera operator with larger media and film companies.

Students can pursue a master's degree in broadcast journalism, videography or cinematography. With an advanced broadcast degree, camera operators can become video directors, executive producers and teachers with technical, film and broadcast schools.

Depending on the career goals of an aspiring camera operator, an individual can choose from an associate's or bachelor's degree program in broadcasting, which will equip them with the knowledge, skills and hands-on experience needed to work in the field.

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