How Much Does a TV Cameraman Make?

Updated February 21, 2017

Television cameramen run the cameras on a television set or in the field to ensure that the pictures are telling the story that the director wants to tell, or to capture live events as they happen. They use different types of video cameras to record any show that appears on television, such as studio-shot series, talk shows, reality shows, sporting events, live events and on-the-spot coverage. They ensure the camera is running, subjects are in focus and the colour is correct when shooting.

National Pay

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 17,540 television cameramen in the United States in 2009, and they earned an average of £15.50 an hour, or £32,233 a year. The pay ranged from £6.50 an hour to £25.8 an hour, from the 10th to 90th percentiles. This equates to £13,585 a year to £53,690 a year.

Pay By Industry

The federal government was the top-paying industry for television cameramen in 2009, according to the bureau. The 470 television cameramen employed by the federal government earned on average £41,561 a year. Other top-paying industries were accounting; tax preparation; bookkeeping and payroll services; cable and other subscription programming; computer systems design and related services; and museums, historical sites, and similar institutions. Most of these industries were not among the top employers of television cameramen, though. The industries that employ the most television cameramen are radio and television broadcasting; motion picture and video industries; cable and other subscription programming; other professional, scientific, and technical services, and the federal government.

Pay By State

Oregon was the top-paying state for television cameramen in 2009, where the 290 cameramen in the state earned an average of £48,028 a year. Other top-paying states included New Mexico, Washington D.C., California and Washington state. Washington, D.C., had 0.464 cameramen per thousand workers. Other states that had a high concentration of television cameramen were Connecticut, New York, California and South Dakota.

Pay By Metropolitan Area

The Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton Oregon-Washington area was the highest-paying metropolitan area for television cameramen in 2009. The 190 cameramen earned an average of £61,529 a year. Other top-paying areas were Salinas, California; Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Massachusetts; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, California,. The areas with the highest concentration of television camermen were Elizabethtown, Kentucky; Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Connecticut; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California; Bethesda-Frederick-Gaithersburg, Maryland; and New York-White Plains-Wayne, New York-New Jersey.

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About the Author

James Rada, Jr. was a newspaper reporter for eight years and earned 23 awards from the Maryland Delaware D.C. Press Association, Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists, Maryland State Teachers’ Association and CNHI. He also worked for 12 years as a marketing communications writer, earning a Print Copywriter of the Year Award from the Utah Ad Federation. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications.