How to Become a

Projectionist

The complete career guide to be a Projectionist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $24,540
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • -17.9%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute
  • Office Work Environment
    Career Attribute

Projectionists project motion pictures on different screens for small and large audiences, with the use of film or digital equipment. Traditionally, projectionists work at cinema theatres making certain that film screenings go smoothly.


What is a Projectionist?

Duties

A projectionist has to carry out a set of duties which are as follows:

  • Receive films for inspection and make a note of any technical issues for repairs.
  • Oversee every aspect of technical operations at the cinema venue such as ventilation, fire alarms, heating and lighting.
  • Ensure that cinema screenings are in compliance with Health and Safety regulations and requirements.
  • Turn on the projector and confirm that images are the right size and in-focus for easy viewing.
  • Arrange for other technicians such as a repair person to visit the site for replacing parts and fixing existing equipment.

Day In The Life

On a typical day, it will be up to the projectionist to set up and inspect screen and curtain controls, along with film projection equipment. You will spend most of your time efficiently operating equipment for showing films in a few theaters at the same time. To make certain films run without any glitches, you will carry out minor repair work such as replacing worn sprockets and letting maintenance know about major repairs required.

Occasionally, a projectionist has to splice as well as rewind films onto reels manually or automatically to fix interrupted sections of the film. Finally, your role will revolve around closely monitoring the seamless functioning of projectors to anticipate when you need to transfer operations from one projector to another.

Work Schedule And Typical Hours

One’s work schedule will depend on the hours a cinema viewing venue is open. Cinemas theatres are usually open on afternoons and evenings, not early mornings. Some cinemas have extra late nights including weekends so work timings can be irregular. Most projectionists work in shifts for different parts of the day.

In this type of career, individuals carry out their responsibilities indoors, in small rooms that are well-ventilated and dust-free to preserve the film. This type of work can often be strenuous due to heavy lifting of film reels. Taking care of big screens and curtains require that projectionists are comfortable with heights.

Growth Of The Job

Vacancies in this job sector have been mostly unchanged since 2004. However, demand for motion picture projectionists is expected to increase with up to 1490 new opportunities to be filled by 2018. Over the next few years, job availability in this career path, will experience a rise of 1.98 percent.

Typical Employers

Typical employers include academic institutions, healthcare facilities, museums, movie theatres, etc. For instance, some companies that hire can be as diverse as Alamo Drafthouse, Cinepolis USA, Video Tech Services, US Space and Rocket Center, Satikos Theatres, the Smithsonian Museum, Sunrise Theatre, IMAX Corporation, Greenwich International Film Festival, and AMC Networks.

Early career professionals gather experience with larger cinema chains before moving to more exclusive independent cinemas. Progress in this area can advance projectionists to administrative or managerial roles.


How To Become a Projectionist

There is no specific academic qualification needed to enter the field of cinema projectionists as a profession. However, a minimum high school diploma will put you at an advantage against your competition in the market. An interest in the film industry and films is essential to embark on this role. Due to classification laws, the main requirement is that candidates are at least 18 years old.

Opportunities are available for training programs and courses, provided by various organisations. Completing coursework that is assessed by the film industry will better prepare you for a career as a projectionist. Typically, individuals gain experience by joining a film club or taking film production courses in higher studies.

To get your foot in the door, start by submitting an application for a Trainee Projectionist position or a similar role in cinema, until you take on the role of a projectionist full-time. More experience allows you to anticipate the needs of future events and successfully maintain various audio/visual equipment such as video projectors, sound mixers, stage lights, 3D lens convergences, etc.

You must have superior technical skills regarding electronics, camera operations and sound equipment. Possessing attention to detail gives you an edge when it comes to tracking control operations of equipment and systems such as gauges or dials for undisrupted projection. To keep films in focus, one has to have high levels of hand-eye coordination, good eyesight and hearing.


Projectionist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$18,800

Average

$24,540

High Range

$35,780

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$9/hr

Average

$12/hr

High Range

$17/hr

How do Projectionist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Projectionist's can make an average annual salary of $24,540, or $12 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $18,800 or $9 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #777 Nationally for All Careers


Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Projectionist. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.


Highest Education Among Projectionists

  • 0%   Doctorate
  • 0%   Masters
  • 30.1%   Bachelors
  • 6.7%   Associates
  • 36.5%   College
  • 24.6%   High School
  • 2.1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

6,700

2024 Est. Jobs

5,500

Job Growth Rate

-17.9%

Est. New Jobs

-1,200

How does Projectionist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -1,200 jobs for a total of 5,500 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -17.9% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #778 Nationally for All Careers


What Companies Employ The Most Projectionists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Motion picture and video exhibition 5,700 -1,200 -1%
Self-employed workers 500 --- ---
Museums, historical sites, and similar institutions 200 -100 ---

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