Projectionist School and Training Programs: How to Choose

Finding a training program for film projectionists in the United States can be difficult. Many projectionists learn their skills on the job and are trained by a more experienced projectionist rather than receiving formal schooling. However, a few film programs do offer courses in projection, and students can occasionally find them through other organizations.

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Employers rarely require education other than a high school diploma to become a film projectionist. A few film and video technology programs in the U.S. offer courses in film projection; however, students should be aware that these programs offer more training than required to work as a film projectionist.

10 Schools with Digital Cinema Programs

Programs in digital cinema and related fields are available at these colleges and universities.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition
(2015-2016)*
DePaul University Chicago, IL 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's $36,361 Undergraduate; $17,904 Graduate
Pace University New York, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $41,333 Undergraduate
Argosy University Hollywood, CA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $13,560 Undergraduate
Northern Michigan University Marquette, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's $9,620 In-state Undergraduate; $15,020 Out-of-state Undergraduate
St. John's University Queens, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's $38,680 Undergraduate
Santa Monica College Santa Monica, CA 2-year, Public Associate's $1,136 In-state Undergraduate; $8,078 Out-of-state Undergraduate
Utah Valley University Orem, UT 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's $5,386 In-state Undergraduate; $15,202 Out-of-state Undergraduate
Portland State University Portland, OR 4-year, Public Bachelor's $8,034 In-state Undergraduate; $24,009 Out-of-state Undergraduate
Grand Canyon University Phoenix, AZ 4-year, Private Bachelor's $17,050 Undergraduate
Bowie State University Bowie, MD 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,660 In-state Undergraduate; $18,142 Out-of-state Undergraduate

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

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School Selection Criteria

Students should consider the following before choosing a projectionist program:

  • Both associate's and bachelor's degrees are available in areas like film production, digital cinema and film and video technology.
  • A film production, digital cinema or film and video technology program focuses on the technical aspects of filmmaking and post-production.
  • Students with a strong interest in attending a formal training program may wish to consider studying abroad; several short-term projectionist training courses are available in the U.K., for example.
  • School facilities and internship opportunities are important; students should ensure they will be trained in the latest technology and get hands-on experience.

Projectionist Short Course

Though rare in the U.S., it's possible to occasionally find a facility, such as a movie theatre or nonprofit arts organization, devoted to cinema projectionist training that offers beginning, intermediate and advanced courses in the skills needed to work in a projectionist booth. Short courses in theater design, including sight lines and acoustical considerations, and in cinema marketing may be available, as well. Some of the larger movie theater chains also offer their employees short training courses.

Associate's Degree in Film and Video Production

No schools in the U.S. currently offer an associate's degree in film projection, so aspiring projectionists may wish to consider an associate's degree in film and video production. These programs often offer television and film production internships.

Bachelor's Degree in Digital Cinema

At least one Bachelor of Science in Digital Cinema degree program offers a course in traditional and digital film projection. Digital cinema programs teach the technical aspects of digital imaging. Students who want to work as projectionists while pursuing an interest in filmmaking might choose a program that awards a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Filmmaking. These programs teach the art and craft of storytelling through cinema

Although no formal education is technical required to become a projectionist, it is possible to take courses or degree programs in related fields. Factors that may affect the choice of program include program length, the school facilities, internship opportunities and location.

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