Projectionist

Run the movie projector at a theater.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$16,000 – $31,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Projectionists do?

A Projectionist is the person in a movie theater who operates the projector and all the sound equipment that goes with it. Unfortunately, this is a little bit of a dying job. The reason for the poor outlook is that technology has made it simpler to project movies.

It used to be that Projectionists were professionally trained to master very specific skills. Now however, movie projectors are so easy to use that Movie Theater Managers can operate the machines with little training.

Another reason for the drop in job opportunities has to do with the way film is packaged. Full-length films used to come in multiple rolls that had to be switched over every 20 minutes. During the switch, a Projectionist would lower the screen’s curtain and play music.

Today, this obviously isn’t the case anymore. Movies now come in one large roll, and can play from start to finish without stopping. You can still find jobs as a Projectionist, but they tend to be pretty rare and are often for historical theaters or organizations, and old-school drive-in theaters.

If you do manage to get hired as a Projectionist, your job is to load the film and then to keep an eye on it while it runs. You look for breaks in the film, holes in the frames, or other problems. When you find something wrong, you fix it so it doesn’t interrupt the running of the movie. You also maintain or repair broken parts on the projector itself.


Should I be a Projectionist?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Film Projector Operator, Movie Projectionist, Process Projectionist, Projection Technician, Projector See More

    How to become a Projectionist

    Most Projectionists have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Bachelor's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:a9abaa&chl=|no+college+%2897%25%29||bachelor%27s+%283%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,97
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