Career outlook for CCTV operator

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would watch live images sent from closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras so you can spot and prevent crimes, accidents and incidents like traffic jams.

You could work for a local council where cameras would overlook public spaces or a private company in a large complex like a factory or shopping centre.

CCTV is also used on public transport like buses and trains, in stations and to monitor traffic in a city or on busy roads like motorways.

You would watch the images that are sent from the cameras and try to spot if anything untoward is happening so you can stop an incident such as a crime or a traffic jam from developing.

You would:

  • watch screens in a control centre
  • pay attention to any suspicious activity
  • move the cameras by remote control if you need to get a better image
  • contact police to report crimes in action
  • ensure recordings are kept safe and correctly labelled so they can be located
  • find recordings and copy them for the police
  • report if a camera is not working.

You’d need to be observant and skilled at interpreting people’s body language and expressions. You need to able to react quickly.

The images you see and record may include some upsetting or shocking scenes. You’d need to be able to keep calm. You’d also need to be discreet and not discuss what you have seen with people who are not colleagues.


Working conditions


You may be expected to work shifts to cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many jobs advertised are for 12 hour shifts with four days on and four days off.


You would work indoors, in a control room, in front of a number of screens. Working either as part of a team of operators, or on your own, you'd keep in contact with your colleagues through telephone and radio.


You may spend time travelling to sites.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Concentrating
  • Attention to detail
  • Verbal communication
  • Observation
  • Problem solving

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You do not need formal qualifications to entry this job but experience in police, armed services or security roles will be very helpful.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths 

You may also find technologies, in particular ICT, helpful.

You will also need

You require a satisfactory PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) check and may have to pass other security checks.

You may require Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence or specialist CCTV-related SIA qualifications prior to applying to some roles.

To qualify for this licence you must be aged 18 or over. You will also need to pass an identity check, a criminal record check, and have achieved an SIA approved Level 2 Award in CCTV Operations (Public Space Surveillance)

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show expertise in security services such Security Industry Authority (SIA) qualifications will be of value.

Qualifications may be gained once in a job such as the SIA-recognised SQA Award for Working as a CCTV Operator (Public Space Surveillance) within the Private Security Industry (SCQF level 6).