Sports Cameraman: Career Requirements and Information

Sep 23, 2019

Sports cameramen require significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and career outlook to see if this is the right career for you.

Sports cameramen must have in-depth knowledge of video equipment, excellent hand-eye coordination, and communication skills. These positions require a college degree. The outlook for camera operators points to faster job growth than average.

Essential Information

Sports cameramen work to capture sporting events and must be attentive and steady-handed. Earning a bachelor's degree in broadcasting, film studies or communications gives candidates the necessary education to pursue this career, which typically begins by putting in time as a production assistant. Demand for the position is expected to increase, but competition for these positions is also increasing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 8% for TV, video and motion picture camera operators*
Median Annual Salary (2018) $54,570 for TV, video and motion picture camera operators*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sports Cameraman Career Requirements

The highly specialized and technical profession of filming sporting events requires a cameraman to have an in-depth knowledge of video equipment. This knowledge most often comes from formal postsecondary studies. Most universities, technical and community colleges offer associate's and bachelor's degree programs in film studies that teach the techniques and theories needed by successful cameramen. Potential majors include broadcasting, communications or film production.

Before handling a camera at a professional level, most companies expect cameramen to have experience in an entry-level position. As a production assistant, a potential cameraman can get direct experience in the trade and help with the lighting, sound equipment and cleanup process.

Apart from the education and experience needed to be a successful cameraman, a candidate must also have excellent hand-eye coordination, artistic instincts, communication skills and eyesight. Because most sporting events are shown live, it is especially important for cameramen to stay focused and accurately capture each moment. They must also be cognizant of the words and actions happening around them, live; if something in violation of a station's censorship policies, they need to be ready to react.

Additional Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts growth for TV, video and motion picture camera operators to be faster than that of other occupations from 2018-2028, and competition for these positions is expected to be stiff due to a high supply of cameramen candidates. The job requires a person to work unusual hours, and there is frequently much travel involved. Many sporting events are at night or in primetime hours, and a cameraman needs to be available to travel to any city, or country, in which an event takes place.

Some sports cameramen operate as freelance workers and provide their own equipment and assignments, but the majority are hired on salary by major networks or individual sports teams. According to the BLS, the median wage of all camera operators was $54,570 as of 2018.

Sport cameramen typically requires a bachelor's degree in a related field. They usually are required to have experience at the entry level. The median salary for camera operators is about $55,000 annually.

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