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Career and Education Opportunities for Camera Operators in Columbia, Maryland

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for camera operators in the Columbia, Maryland area. Currently, 470 people work as camera operators in Maryland. This is expected to grow by 13% to 530 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for camera operators, which sees this job pool growing by about 9.2% over the next eight years. Camera operators generally operate television, video, or motion picture camera to photograph images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.

A person working as a camera operator can expect to earn about $23 hourly or $48,020 per year on average in Maryland and about $20 hourly or $41,670 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for camera operators are better than earnings in the general category of Media Technical in Maryland and better than general Media Technical category earnings nationally. Camera operators work in a variety of jobs, including: video photographer, animation camera operator, and news cameraman.

The Columbia area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including ten within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a camera operator. The most common level of education for camera operators is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn to be a camera operator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Camera Operator

Camera Operator video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, camera operators operate television, video, or motion picture camera to photograph images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.

Camera operators use cameras in any of several different camera mounts such as stationary, track-mounted, or crane-mounted. They also operate zoom lenses, changing images according to given requirements and rehearsal instructions. Finally, camera operators operate television or motion picture cameras to record scenes for television broadcasts or motion pictures.

Every day, camera operators are expected to be able to understand events and object details at a distance. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for camera operators to adjust positions and controls of cameras and related apparatus to change focus and lighting. They are often called upon to gather and edit raw footage on location to send to television affiliates for broadcast, using electronic news-gathering or film-production equipment. They also observe sets or locations for potential problems and to establish filming and lighting requirements. They are sometimes expected to test and maintain apparatus to insure proper working condition. Somewhat less frequently, camera operators are also expected to view films to deal with problems of exposure control, subject and camera movement, changes in subject distance, and related variables.

Camera operators sometimes are asked to label and record contents of exposed film, and note details on report forms. They also have to be able to download exposed film for shipment to processing labs and read charts and compute ratios to establish variables such as lighting and camera distances. And finally, they sometimes have to ready slates that describe the scenes being filmed.

Like many other jobs, camera operators must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Audio Visual Technician. Set up or set up and operate audio and video equipment including microphones, sound speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, recording equipment, connecting wires and cables, sound and mixing boards, and related electronic equipment for concerts, sports events, meetings and conventions, presentations, and news conferences. May also set up and operate associated spotlights and other custom lighting systems.
  • Broadcast Technician. Set up, operate, and maintain the electronic equipment used to transmit radio and television programs. Control audio equipment to regulate volume level and quality of sound during radio and television broadcasts. Operate radio transmitter to broadcast radio and television programs.
  • Choreographer. Create and teach dance. May direct and stage presentations.
  • Director. Interpret script, conduct rehearsals, and direct activities of cast and technical crew for stage, motion pictures, or radio programs.
  • Film or Videotape Editor. Edit motion picture soundtracks, film, and video.
  • Graphic Designer. Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.
  • Music Composer. Write and transcribe musical scores.
  • Photographer. Photograph persons, subjects, or other commercial products. May develop negatives and produce finished prints.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.
  • Sound Engineer. Operate machines and equipment to record, synchronize, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects in sporting arenas, theater productions, or movie and video productions.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Camera Operator Training

Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N Charles St, Mason Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218-2688. Johns Hopkins University is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,049 students and an admission rate of 26%. Johns Hopkins University has a bachelor's degree program in Radio and Television Broadcasting Technology/Technician which graduated one student in 2008.

Montgomery College - Rockville, MD

Montgomery College, 40 W. Gude Drive, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20850. Montgomery College is a large college located in Rockville, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,452 students. Montgomery College has 2 areas of study related to Camera Operator. They are:

  • Radio and Television Broadcasting Technology/Technician, one to two year which graduated 7 students in 2008.
  • Audiovisual Communications Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties, one to two year which graduated 16 students in 2008.

American University - Washington, DC

American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016-8001. American University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,684 students and an admission rate of 53%. American University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Cinematography and Film/Video Production which graduated one and twenty-one students respectively in 2008.

Towson University - Towson, MD

Towson University, 8000 York Rd, Towson, MD 21252-0001. Towson University is a large university located in Towson, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,111 students and an admission rate of 61%. Towson University has a bachelor's degree program in Radio and Television Broadcasting Technology/Technician which graduated 112 students in 2008.

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has a one to two year program in Radio and Television Broadcasting Technology/Technician.

Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale, VA

Northern Virginia Community College, 4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale, VA 22003-3796. Northern Virginia Community College is a large college located in Annandale, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,870 students. Northern Virginia Community College has a one to two year program in Audiovisual Communications Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties which graduated five students in 2008.

The Art Institute of Washington - Arlington, VA

The Art Institute of Washington, 1820 N Fort Myer Dr, Arlington, VA 22209-1802. The Art Institute of Washington is a small school located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,871 students and an admission rate of 56%. The Art Institute of Washington has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Cinematography and Film/Video Production which graduated two and thirteen students respectively in 2008.

Bowie State University - Bowie, MD

Bowie State University, 14000 Jericho Park Rd, Bowie, MD 20715-9465. Bowie State University is a medium sized university located in Bowie, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,541 students and an admission rate of 85%. Bowie State University has a bachelor's degree program in Radio and Television Broadcasting Technology/Technician which graduated seventy-two students in 2008.

Gallaudet University - Washington, DC

Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695. Gallaudet University is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,389 students and an admission rate of 64%. Gallaudet University has a bachelor's degree program in Audiovisual Communications Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties.

George Mason University - Fairfax, VA

George Mason University, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. George Mason University is a large university located in Fairfax, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,800 students and an admission rate of 63%. George Mason University has a bachelor's degree program in Cinematography and Film/Video Production which graduated four students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Legal Video Specialist: The use of video in the legal environment is growing fast.

For more information, see the National Court Reporters Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.