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Television Production Career Info and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to work in television production. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and prospects to find out if this is the career for you.

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A career in the television production industry could mean working in a variety of different positions, including filming and editing. If you're interested in television and the way in which it is produced, and if you can see yourself with a behind-the-scenes television career, than you owe it to yourself to take a look at a career in television production.

Essential Information

Television production involves the filming, editing and broadcasting of original programming, sporting events and newscasts. Although viewers see only a few actors, television production is a complicated practice involving hundreds of skilled individuals. Production assistants, producers, and camera operators are some of the many roles associated with television production. Formal education is not required for most television production roles, although it is often preferred.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in film
Other Requirements Internships for experience for production assistants
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 2% for camera operators*
Median Salary (2015) $49,080 annually for camera operators*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Production Assistant

Production assistants are entry-level workers who perform a wide range of tasks during production of television programming. A production assistant may copy scripts or run errands for producers or other talent. A few years of experience as a production assistant can lead to a career as a producer or script supervisor.

Education Requirements

Employment as a production assistant doesn't require formal education, but many employers look for applicants with real-world experience. However, bachelor's degrees in film and television studies, broadcasting and communications can prepare graduates for work as production assistants. Many students take advantage of internships to gain experience at production companies and local network affiliates.

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Producer

Producers oversee many aspects of a television show, including hiring the actors and marketing the show. On most television productions, multiple producers are needed to manage details like scripts, sets and props. Executive producers often create shows and operate productions while line producers deal with day-to-day issues like extras and equipment transportation. On news broadcasts, producers often fact check stories and arrange interviews.

Career Information

The BLS found producers and directors earned a median annual salary of $68,440 in May 2015, though income varies widely. The producers behind highly successful network shows, for example, can earn millions of dollars. Employment of producers and directors is expected to grow 9% between 2014 and 2024, according to the BLS. Producers working in California, New York, and New Jersey earned the highest annual mean salaries in May 2015, BLS data reveals.

Education Requirements

Experience is the most important factor for employment as a producer. Most producers have years of industry experience in various aspects of entertainment as writers, actors and production assistants. Producers possess various levels of education. Some complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in film and televisions studies, such as a Bachelor of Arts in Film or a Master of Fine Arts in Media Studies.

Camera Operator

Tasked with filming television productions and maintaining equipment, camera operators are experienced professionals with knowledge of cameras, production and lighting. Camera operators are expected to work under a variety of conditions for television productions. Though most productions are filmed in studios, camera operators working on newscasts might need to shoot on-location.

Career Information

The BLS says camera operators for television, video and motion pictures earned a median annual salary of $49,080 in May 2015. Employment growth for camera operators is expected to change little; job growth in the field is projected to increase 2% from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS. Camera operators working in the District of Columbia, New York, and Connecticut earn the highest mean annual salaries.

Education Requirements

To obtain employment as a camera operator, individuals need extensive experience in television production and entertainment. While little or no formal education is necessary, it may be preferred by many employers. Many camera operators start out as interns or production assistants.

There are many different ways to become involved in television production, such as camera operators, production assistants and film producers. Each career has different education requirements, salary ranges and career outlooks. Remember to look over work environment, nature of the work, salary statistics and education requirement information when selecting a career path.

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