Camera Technician Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

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What are the pros and cons of a camera technician career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary information to see if becoming a camera technician is right for you.
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What are the Pros and Cons of a Camera Technician Career?

A camera technician is responsible for repairing and maintaining cameras and other video equipment. Learn about the pros and cons of a career as a camera technician to make an informed decision about your future.

Pros of a Camera Technician Career
Minimal educational requirements (associate's degree or certificate may be needed) **
Training usually occurs on the job*
Can specialize in areas such as film or video equipment repair**
Opportunity to work independently when performing repairs***

Cons of a Camera Technician Career
Have to remain up-to-date on new technical information and formats*
Work is often routine and repetitive**
The need to quickly troubleshoot equipment can cause stress**
Overtime hours are sometimes required***

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net Online, ***iSeek.org.

Essential Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Camera technicians troubleshoot and repair various types of cameras and video equipment. They may also be responsible for handling inventory and addressing customer questions and complaints. The work is highly technical, involving disassembling and reassembling of cameras to troubleshoot them. Technicians assess the level of damage and determine the best way to proceed with a repair. Technicians also operate measuring equipment to calibrate parts, such as lens systems, shutters and light meters. Once a repair is completed, technicians also clean and polish a camera before it's returned to a customer. As a technician, you will also need to be physically able to lift camera equipment.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), camera and photographic equipment repairers earned a median annual salary of approximately $40,000, as of May 2014. The lowest 10% of professionals earned about $22,000 or less, while the highest paid 10% earned around $65,000 or more. The projected job growth for these positions was 3 percent from 2012-2022, which is slower than average.

Education and Training Requirements

To work as a camera technician, a certificate or associate's degree and on-the-job training is often required, although a high school diploma or its equivalent and relevant experience may be sufficient for some employers. Applicable fields of study can include machine technology, photography or film. Although much of the training for a career as a camera technician occurs on the job, most employers still prefer to hire candidates that have some experience operating and/or repairing cameras and other film equipment.

Useful Skills

If you're technologically minded, manually dexterous, can work well with others and have a good eye for detail, repairing cameras and other video equipment will likely be compatible with your skill set. It can also help to have a strong working knowledge of various cameras, shooting techniques and editing software.

Job Posts from Real Employers

Successful candidates typically have training, some education and the ability to repair and troubleshoot equipment with little or no supervision. You will also need to work well under pressure and be able to manually perform all repairs. Job postings obtained in May 2012 indicate that employers may look for the following qualifications:

  • In North Carolina, a camera rental company is looking for a qualified camera technician that can maintain and service a large inventory of cameras. Additional responsibilities include preparing rental packages, evaluating new cameras for potential purchase and participating in the research and development of digital imaging technologies. This role requires at least two years of experience in camera repair, knowledge of the postproduction workflow, strong customer service skills and proficiency with both Macintosh and Windows computers.
  • A consumer product manufacturer in New York is seeking a camera technician to provide product inspections, maintain parts inventory, teach other employees repair methods and assist customers. This position requires strong computer skills and technical ability, the skill to read and follow assembly diagrams and the ability to solder parts, as well as professional certification and training or a year of equivalent experience.
  • A camera repair facility in Illinois is hiring a technician to repair DSLR cameras and lenses, as well as provide customer support. Responsibilities include using tools to disassemble and reassemble cameras, diagnosing malfunctions, calibrating equipment, cleaning cameras and providing customer service. A high school diploma or its equivalent and 2-5 years of experience are required.

How to Make Your Skills Stand out

To stand out in this field, demonstrable knowledge and experience are often necessary. Although a formal degree isn't always required, obtaining a degree or certificate in electronics is one way to build relevant skills and knowledge, according to iSeek.org. Completing an internship in the repair or mechanical industry can also help you develop relevant skill set . You may also be able to gain experience through the completion of an apprenticeship program.

Many camera repair technicians are self-employed, according to iSeek.org. If you plan to run your own camera repair business, taking classes in business, accounting and entrepreneurship could be beneficial to your career goals.

Other Careers to Consider

Camera Operator

If you'd prefer to be the individual filming the shots, rather than the one maintaining and operating the equipment, consider a career as a camera operator. In conjunction with the director, camera operators select the lenses, camera angles and shots that best convey a particular story and then record the appropriate footage. A bachelor's degree and training are the main requirements to obtain one of these positions. As of May 2011, the BLS indicated that these professionals earned a median annual salary of about $40,000.

Photographer

Individuals who are interested in using still cameras to capture compelling images or tell stories can consider careers as photographers. In many cases, only a high school diploma is needed to work as a photographer, although a bachelor's degree is usually required to work as a scientific or industrial photographer or as a photojournalist. As of 2011, the BLS reported that these professionals earned a median annual salary of around $29,000, which is lower than the salary of camera technicians.

Video Editor

If you enjoy telling visual stories but do not want to work behind the lens or with cameras, consider a career as a film and video editor. Editors are responsible for cutting footage shot by camera operators. Both a bachelor's degree and professional experience assisting an editor are usually required to obtain this position. These professionals earned a median annual salary of around $53,000, according to the BLS.

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Film Production
      • Master of Fine Arts - Media Design
      • M.S. - New Media Journalism
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Film (Campus)
      • BS - Media Communications (Campus)
      • BS - Audio Production
      • B.S. - Digital Cinematography
      • B.S. - Media Communications
  • Online Programs Available
    2. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Regent University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Film and TV
      • Master of Arts in Film and TV - Producing
      • Master of Arts in Film and TV - Script Writing
      • Master of Fine Arts in Script and Screenwriting
      • Master of Arts in Communication
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Political Communication
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Advertising and Public Relations
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Rhetoric and Public Culture
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Strategic Communication
      • Bachelor of Arts in English - Communication
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Communication Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Communication
  • Campus and Online Programs
    6. The Art Institutes

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Film (MFA)
    Bachelor's
      • Audio Production (BS)
      • Digital Photography (BFA)
      • Digital Photography (BS)
      • Photography (BS)
      • Audio Production (BA)
      • Digital Photography (BA)
    Associate's
      • Video Production (AS)
      • Audio Production (AS)
      • Digital Photography (AAS)
      • Digital Photography (AS)
      • Photography (AS)
      • Digital Photography (AA)
    High School Diploma
      • Video Skills (D)
      • Commercial Photography (D)
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Queens University of Charlotte

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication - General
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Integrated Digital Strategy Concentration
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Undecided
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
      • HS Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Communication Studies, B.A.
    Associate's
      • Communication Studies, A.A.

Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Film Production
  • Master of Fine Arts - Media Design
  • BS - Film (Campus)
  • BS - Media Communications (Campus)

What is your highest level of education?

American University

  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration

What is your highest level of education?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Arts in Communication

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Master of Arts in Film and TV
  • Master of Arts in Film and TV - Producing
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Advertising and Public Relations

What is your highest level of education completed?

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Communication

What is your highest level of education?

The Art Institutes

  • Film (MFA)
  • Audio Production (BS)
  • Video Production (AS)
  • Video Skills (D)

What is your highest level of education?

Queens University of Charlotte

  • Master of Arts in Communication - General
  • Master of Arts in Communication - Integrated Digital Strategy Concentration
  • Master of Arts in Communication - Undecided

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Communication

What is your highest level of education?