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The Average Salary of a Gaffer

A gaffer, also referred to as a theatrical lighting technician, is a professional who maintains theatrical lighting and creates visual effects for theatre, movie production and other entertainment.

This includes selecting appropriate lighting effects, controlling lights during theatrical performances and ensuring lighting is working properly. In January 2011, PayScale reported average salaries and other employer-provided benefits for theatrical lighting technicians.


Most employers only require a high school diploma or GED for this occupation, along with experience in lighting and production. Employment opportunities may increase for those who obtain additional vocational training from a trade school or community college. Coursework in electronics may also increase employment opportunities and many gaffers receive additional on-the-job training.

Average Salary

Gaffers are often paid an hourly wage, and as the cliché goes--"the show must go on"--they're also paid overtime wages for working over 40 hours per week. Average hourly wages range from £8.0 to £12.50 per hour and average overtime wages range from £12.40 to £20.2 per hour.

Some gaffers report receiving bonuses ranging from £113 to £1,300 per year. The total salary ranges from £17,535 to £26,831 per year.


The most popular industry for this occupation is entertainment, which includes audio/visual production, performing arts and entertainment rental services. These professionals can also be found in church/worship services as well.

The highest salaries are reported in the performing arts entertainment industry, where gaffers earn £6.90 to £12.30 per hour. Church/worship services pay average salaries ranging from £6.0 to £10.2 per hour, and the audio/visual production industry pays average salaries ranging from £6.60 to £11.5.

Geography and Experience

The highest wages for this occupation are reported in cities where the entertainment industry is most popular.

In Las Vegas, gaffers earn average salaries ranging from £11.60 to £18.80 per hour and in Los Angeles, gaffers earn average salaries ranging from £7.0 to £30.5 per hour. Gaining experience in this profession can also increase salaries. Gaffers with over 20 years of experience earn average salaries ranging from £8.30 to £17.8 per hour.