CCTV Operator Job Description

CCTV Operators are mainly responsible for operating and maintaining surveillance equipment, watching both live and recorded video surveillance footage, reporting incidents or suspicious behavior and contacting the authorities when necessary. CCTV Operators can be employed at hospitals, airports, schools, housing complexes, gated communities, malls and many other types of establishments.

Regardless of the type of institution they work for, the role of a CCTV Operator is relatively uniform across the board. They are charged with maintaining control center equipment, watching multiple monitors at once, making note of any unusual occurrences and interacting with law enforcement officers. Typically, CCTV Operators will report to a higher-level member of staff, such as a CCTV Supervisor or CCTV Manager, and will be expected to maintain a high level of fastidiousness, professionalism, care and integrity at all times.


CCTV Operator Duties and Responsibilities

In the interest of protecting people, information and property, CCTV Operators perform a variety of tasks. After analyzing multiple online job postings, we identified these core CCTV Operator duties and responsibilities.

Operate Equipment

To do their job effectively, CCTV Operators must have a thorough understanding of the equipment they’re working with. They are tasked with deleting or archiving old footage as needed, organizing old footage in an orderly fashion, and switching out videotapes, compact discs, memory cards, hard drives or servers.

Maintain Equipment

Simply knowing how to operate video surveillance equipment is not all there is to being a CCTV Operator. Additionally, CCTV Operators must also be able to maintain and repair that same equipment, whether it’s analog or digital.

Store Footage

Since any amount of footage from any given day could be required at any given time, properly storing footage is one of the most important roles of a CCTV Operator. Storage policy can vary slightly from company to company, but in general CCTV Operators will need to correctly catalog all footage so that it can be easily recalled at a later time.

Watch Surveillance

This is the crucial difference between a CCTV Technician and a CCTV Operator: while the Technician may be asked to come in for a few hours, complete any necessary repairs and then leave, CCTV Operators must watch the video surveillance footage is it’s being recorded.

Make Observations

CCTV Operators don’t just watch a bunch of screens all day. Rather, they must be unwaveringly focused and observant so that whenever they witness something unusual, suspicious or questionable they are able to make a detailed note of it.

Report Incidents

If a CCTV Operator sees something illegal on one of their monitors, it is up to them to contact the appropriate authorities at the appropriate time. In serious situations, CCTV Operators can also save the police vital time by immediately reporting a criminal’s license plate number, clothing, tattoos or other identifying features.


CCTV Operator Skills

Successful CCTV Operators are mindful, alert and scrupulous individuals who are highly dedicating to protecting others. In addition to having a talent for all things technical, they also have the ability to quickly identify patterns and abnormalities. In addition to these general personality traits and abilities, employers are looking for CCTV Operators with the following skills:

  • Surveillance System Knowledge

    : Because extensive knowledge of video surveillance systems is to crucial to the job of a CCTV Operator, many employers required CCTV Operators to have video surveillance certification of some kind.

  • Attention to Detail

    : CCTV Operators must be able to identify small, seemingly insignificant details that most people would overlook. This ability allows them to keep the area as safe as possible.

  • Ability to Multitask

    : Even when a CCTV Operator receives a phone call or has to speak to a colleague, they must always be keeping an eye on the monitors.

  • Ability to Work Independently

    : For the most part, CCTV Operators will not be required to interact with very many people. Because of this, it is important that they’re able to work and stay alert without constant supervision.

  • Communication Skills

    : Since CCTV Operators will occasionally have to give statements to police officers, communicate with emergency services or even appear in court, they need to have strong written and verbal communication skills.


CCTV Operator Salary

According to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for Security Guards, which includes CCTV Operators, is $24,630. The lowest ten percent earn $18,350 per year, while the highest paid can earn up to $45,010 per year. CCTV Operators in the District of Columbia, Alaska and Washington earn the highest annual salary in the United States, making $36,800, $36,500 and $30,200 per year, respectively.


CCTV Operator Tools of the Trade

Since their work incorporates multiple skills, CCTV Operators must know how to use a variety of tools. If you’re interested in becoming a CCTV Operator, you should be familiar with the following:

Video Surveillance Equipment

: This may be the most obvious item on this list, but it doesn’t make it any less important. A thorough technical understanding of video surveillance equipment is absolutely necessary.

Radio Communication Systems

In many cases, CCTV Operators will need to communicate with Security Guards, Supervisors or Managers via a radio receiver.

Recent Versions of Microsoft Office Software Suites

A number of the programs in the Microsoft Office software suite, such as Excel and Word, are important tools for CCTV Operators when writing reports or recording data.

The National Incident Management System

If an incident should occur, it is very likely that the CCTV Operator will need to follow the steps laid out in the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which is used by government agencies and private companies alike.


Additional CCTV Operator Resources

We compiled this list of resources to help you keep exploring your career as a CCTV Operator:

If you’re looking for news and industry updates on video surveillance, the Camera Security Now Blog is the place for you.

With news, columns, events, resources, white papers, sector-specific information and more, Security Magazine has it all.

The NCISS was founded in 1975 and provides its members with legislative advocacy, networking, peer assistance, discounts and more.

This LinkedIn group of nearly 50,000 members is a great place to connect with fellow CCTV Operators and other Security professionals.

Join this LinkedIn group if you want to learn about and discuss all the latest developments in the world of CCTV video surveillance technology.


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