Camera operators are an essential part of video and film production. They use film and video cameras to record images for television, movies and the Web. In 2013, 16,860 people took on this task, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The pay range for these operators depends on a number of factors, including the location where they work.
In 2013, the average salary of a camera operator was $52,340, according to the BLS. The top-paying state was New York, with an average salary of $71,020. The District of Columbia was the next best-paying area, at $71,430. California rounded out the top three, with average salaries of $68,360. To become a camera operator, you'll typically need a bachelor's degree in a field related to film or broadcasting. When you're starting out, you may earn less, with the bottom 10 percent of earners making less than $20,560 per year. High earnings potential exists, however; the top 10 percent of camera operators earn more than $91,890, according to the BLS.
2016 Salary Information for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators
Film and video editors and camera operators earned a median annual salary of $59,500 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, film and video editors and camera operators earned a 25th percentile salary of $38,840, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $92,790, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 59,300 people were employed in the U.S. as film and video editors and camera operators.