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Television Camera Operator

Television camera operators operate television cameras and related equipment to record news, live events and productions for television broadcast.

  • Avg. Salary $61,474.00
  • Avg. Wage $30.29
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
Also Known As

Camera Operator, Videographer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Film and Video Camera Operators (5222) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Film and Video Camera Operators (F122) 
  • 2011 NOC: Film and video camera operators (5222) 
Interest Codes
The Television Camera Operator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Film and Video Camera Operators

Interest in operating motion picture and video cameras and related equipment, and in attaching lenses, filters and film magazines to cameras


Interest in testing, maintaining and storing equipment, in labelling and recording contents of exposed film, and in completing report sheets


Interest in synthesizing information to select and set up camera equipment; and in speaking with directors and senior members of camera crews to discuss assignments and determine filming sequences, camera movements and picture composition

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Oct 21, 2014

Camera operators work in studios and on location. In general, they:

  • move the camera and operate optical controls (for example, focus, zoom, exposure)
  • follow instructions from the director concerning the mood or dramatic effect to be achieved
  • make minor electronic adjustments to cameras.

They also may:

  • maintain and store camera equipment
  • assist with the lighting and staging of broadcast productions
  • set up and operate live location shoots
  • edit video in non-linear edit suites or on location.

Electronic news gathering (ENG) and electronic field production (EFP) camera operators use portable cameras to televise and record news events, sports events and reports at remote locations. Camera operators working with ENG or EFP equipment also may set up recording, lighting and playback equipment for field productions. They are responsible for producing the visual content of news items and achieving the desired visual content for commercials or program productions. Camera operators may also use robotic cameras and control the movement of cameras using a computer rather than physically making adjustments. Using a computer allows the operator to control multiple cameras at the same time.  

Working Conditions
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Depending on the size of the broadcast company and studio, camera operators may work alone or as part of a team of camera operators. They may work entirely at a station or also work at remote locations in all weather conditions. Most operators work eight hour shifts that include afternoons, evenings, weekends and holidays.

Television camera operators may be required to lift equipment weighing up to 20 kilograms. Handheld camera shoots may involve shouldering a 10 kilogram camera for up to six hours. Coping with tight schedules and deadlines also can be a strain.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Television camera operators need the following characteristics:

  • excellent motor co-ordination
  • good vision and hearing
  • stamina (particularly for field work)
  • an interest in electronic technology
  • the ability to remain alert while performing routine, repetitive tasks and respond quickly to the unexpected
  • creativity and artistic ability
  • good communication and interpersonal skills for working with others in a team environment.

They should enjoy operating, testing and maintaining camera equipment, and working with others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Television camera operators need training in shot composition and framing. A background in journalism is an asset for ENG camera operators because many stations prefer to hire reporters who can shoot and edit their own stories (for more information, see the Reporter occupational profile). Because most television stations use robotic cameras, computer skills related to camera control and operating robotic systems is an asset.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Alberta University of the Arts

Mount Royal University

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Competition is keen in the broadcasting field so inexperienced camera operators must be willing to start at small stations. Once operators have gained experience, they can move to positions in larger stations or specialize in a particular type of work.

Freelancing has become the trend in broadcasting. Contract employment also can be found in producing in-house programs such as corporate videos (for example, videos about safety and technical training, recruiting, sales and marketing). To be successful, freelancers must be talented, able to establish a network of contacts and willing to make themselves available when needed. A significant investment in equipment may be required to compete and maintain a successful business.

Experienced camera operators can advance to technical supervisory positions and, if they have the necessary ability and experience, eventually become directors or producers.

Television camera operators are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5222: Film and Video Camera Operators. In Alberta, 77% of people employed in this classification work in the Information, Culture and Recreation (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Information, Culture and Recreation industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Incomes for freelance television camera operators vary considerably from one contract to another, and from one year to another.

Television camera operators are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5222: Film and video camera operators.

According to the 2017 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Film and video camera operators occupational group earned on average from $25.59 to $30.99 an hour. The overall average was $30.29 an hour. For more information, see the Film and video camera operators wage profile.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Communications
Other Sources of Information
Updated Oct 21, 2014

Cultural Human Resources Council website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Dec 11, 2012. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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