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Career and Education Opportunities for Camera Operators in Portland, Oregon

Camera operator career and educational opportunities abound in Portland, Oregon. About 250 people are currently employed as camera operators in Oregon. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 13% to about 280 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for camera operators are expected to grow by about 9.2%. 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.

The average wage in the general category of Media Technical jobs is $19 per hour or $39,944 per year in Oregon, and an average of $20 per hour or $41,303 per year nationwide. People working as camera operators can fill a number of jobs, such as: director, television cameraman, and movie shot cameraman.

There are fifty-nine schools of higher education in the Portland area, including three within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can get a degree to start your career as a camera operator. Camera operators usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a camera operator if you already have a high school diploma.


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 Portland 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.
  • 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.


Mt Hood Community College - Gresham, OR

Mt Hood Community College, 26000 SE Stark St, Gresham, OR 97030. Mt Hood Community College is a medium sized college located in Gresham, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,251 students. Mt Hood Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Radio and Television Broadcasting Technology/Technician which graduated zero and seven students respectively in 2008.

Clark College - Vancouver, WA

Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA 98663-3598. Clark College is a large college located in Vancouver, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,378 students. Clark College has an associate's degree program in Audiovisual Communications Technologies/Technicians, Other Specialties which graduated five students in 2008.

George Fox University - Newberg, OR

George Fox University, 414 N Meridian St, Newberg, OR 97132. George Fox University is a small university located in Newberg, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,382 students and an admission rate of 83%. George Fox University has a bachelor's degree program in Cinematography and Film/Video Production which graduated six students in 2008.


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.


Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon photo by Fcb981

Portland is located in Multnomah County, Oregon. It has a population of over 557,706, which has grown by 5.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 103, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $194,700 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, six hundred forty-eight new homes were constructed in Portland, down from 1,205 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 23 minutes. More than 32.6% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 10.7%, which is greater than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 45.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Portland is home to the Barnes Yard and the Haig as well as Cottonwood Bay City Park and Wallace City Park. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Shilo Inns & Resorts and Comfort Inn Portland for temporary stays in the area.