Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How to Become a Broadcast or Sound Engineering Technician

How to Become a Broadcast or Sound Engineering Technician

Baton Rouge School of Music Production

Call (225) 773-3350

Most broadcast and sound engineering technicians have an associate’s degree or vocational certification, although some are hired with only a high school diploma. Some formal training, gained through either work experience or education, is often required.


Audio and video equipment technicians need to have at least a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate to be eligible for entry-level positions. However, many also have an associate’s degree or vocational certificate.
Technical training for audio and video equipment technicians may take several months to a year to complete. In this training, they get hands-on experience with the equipment they will use in many entry-level positions. Coursework and practical experience from a high school or college audiovisual club can prepare a student to be an audio and video equipment technician.
Similarly, broadcast technicians need at least a high school diploma or a GED, although many also have some college education or a vocational training certificate in a related field. Because of the competitiveness of the industry, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in broadcast technology, electronics, computer networking, or a related field can help a technician's career.
Sound engineering technicians usually complete a vocational program, which may take up to a year. Many technicians have an associate’s degree.
Prospective broadcast and sound engineering technicians should complete high school courses in math, physics, and electronics and need to have excellent computer skills to be successful in this field.


Technicians who have work experience and formal training in their field will have the best opportunities for a job. Because technology is constantly improving, technicians often enroll in continuing education and receive on-the-job training to become skilled in new equipment and systems. On-the-job training may include topics such as setting up cables, testing electrical equipment, learning the codes and standards of the industry, and following safety procedures.
Training for new hires can be accomplished in a variety of ways, depending on the types of products and services the employer provides. Although some formal apprenticeship programs do exist, more frequently a new technician will accompany a more senior level technician to get the training and skills necessary for advancement.


Although not required by most employers, earning voluntary certification may offer advantages in getting a job as a broadcast or sound engineering technician. Certification allows employers to be sure that the technician meets certain industry standards and has kept up to date with new technologies.
For example, the Society of Broadcast Engineers offers eight broadcast engineering certifications, two operator certifications, and a broadcast networking certification, each of which requires passing an exam. Similarly, InfoComm International offers an audiovisual Certified Technology Specialist credential.


Although many broadcast and sound engineering technicians work first in small markets or with small stations in big markets, after they gain the necessary experience and skills they often transfer to larger, better paying radio or television stations. Large stations almost never hire someone without previous experience, and they value more specialized skills.
Experienced workers with strong technical skills can become supervisory technicians or chief engineers. A college degree in engineering is typically needed to become chief engineer at large television stations.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Technicians need to communicate with supervisors and coworkers to ensure that clients’ needs are met and that equipment is set up properly before broadcasts, live performances, and presentations.
Computer skills. Technicians use computer systems to program the equipment and edit audio and video recordings.
Manual dexterity. Technicians set up audio and visual equipment and cables which requires a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination. Others adjust small knobs, dials, and sliders during radio and television broadcasts and live performances.
Problem-solving skills. Technicians need to recognize problems with the equipment and propose possible solutions to them. Employers typically desire applicants with a variety of skills who are able to set up equipment, maintain the equipment, and troubleshoot and solve any problems.
Technical skills. Technicians work with and repair a variety of electrical, electronic, and mechanical systems and equipment.

Pay About this section

Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians

Median annual wages, May 2010
Sound Engineering Technicians
Audio and Video Equipment Technicians
Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians
Broadcast Technicians
Total, All Occupations
The median annual wage for broadcast and sound engineering technicians was $39,870 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.
The median annual wages for broadcast and sound engineering technician occupations in May 2010 were the following:
  • $47,080 for sound engineering technicians
  • $40,540 for audio and video equipment technicians
  • $35,120 for broadcast technicians
Technicians working in major cities typically earn more than those working in smaller locations.
Technicians usually work full time. Some may occasionally work overtime to meet broadcast deadlines or set up for live events. Evening, weekend, and holiday work is common because most radio and television stations are on the air 24 hours a day.
Technicians who work on motion pictures may be on a tight schedule and may work long hours to meet contract deadlines with the movie studio.

Job Outlook About this section

Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians

Percent change in employment, projected 2010-20
Total, All Occupations
Audio and Video Equipment Technicians
Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians
Broadcast Technicians
Sound Engineering Technicians
Employment of broadcast and sound engineering technicians is expected to grow 10 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Growth is expected as businesses, schools, and radio and television stations demand new equipment to improve their audio and video capabilities.
As a result, employment of audio and visual equipment technicians is expected to grow 13 percent from 2010 to 2020. Audio and video equipment is in demand in many buildings, where technicians set up new equipment or work to upgrade and maintain old systems. More companies are increasing their video budgets, including increasing the use of video conferencing to reduce travel costs and communicate worldwide with other offices and clients.
An increase in the use of digital signage for schools, hospitals, and hotels also will lead to higher demand for audio and video equipment technicians.
Schools and universities are seeking to improve their audio and video capabilities to attract and keep the best students. They are building classrooms with interactive whiteboards and video equipment that allow teachers to give more interactive multimedia presentations and to record lectures.
Employment of broadcast technicians is expected to grow 9 percent from 2010 to 2020, while employment of sound engineering technicians is expected to grow 1 percent. The television and motion picture industry will continue to need technicians to improve the picture quality of shows and movies. The industry is installing the latest technologies, such as digital or 3D screens, in movie and home theaters and is converting existing theaters to new formats.
However, growth will be slowed by consolidation of radio and television stations and by technological improvements that will increase the productivity of technicians. Laborsaving advances, such as computer-controlled programming, may result in fewer broadcasting positions needed to produce the same number of programs.

Job Prospects

Competition for jobs will be strong. This occupation attracts many applicants who are interested in working with the latest technology and electronic equipment. Many applicants also are attracted to working in the radio and television industry.
Those looking for work in this industry will have the most job opportunities in smaller markets or stations. Those with hands-on experience with electronics or with work experience at a radio or television station will have the best job prospects. In addition, technicians are expected to be versatile and contribute to the set up, operation, and maintenance of equipment, whereas previously technicians typically specialized in one area.
Employment projections data for broadcast and sound engineering technicians, 2010-20
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2010 Projected Employment, 2020 Change, 2010-20 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric
SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program
Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians 116,900 128,600 10 11,600
Audio and Video Equipment Technicians
27-4011 61,200 69,400 13 8,200 [XLS]
Broadcast Technicians
27-4012 36,700 40,000 9 3,300 [XLS]
Sound Engineering Technicians
27-4014 19,000 19,100 1 100 [XLS]

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of broadcast and sound engineering technicians.
Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2010 MEDIAN PAY Help
Computer support specialists

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment. Some, called technical support specialists, support information technology (IT) employees within their organization. Others, called help-desk technicians, assist non-IT users who are having computer problems. Some college, no degree $46,260
Electrical and electronic engineering technicians

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians help engineers design and develop computers, communications equipment, medical monitoring devices, navigational equipment, and other electrical and electronic equipment. They often work in product evaluation and testing, using measuring and diagnostic devices to adjust, test, and repair equipment. Associate’s degree $56,040
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers

Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers install, repair, or replace a variety of electrical equipment in telecommunications, transportation, utilities, and other industries. Postsecondary non-degree award $49,170
Film and video editors and camera operators

Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Film and video editors and camera operators record images that entertain or inform an audience. Camera operators capture a wide range of material for TV shows, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, or news and sporting events. Editors construct the final productions from the many different images camera operators capture. They collaborate with producers and directors to create the final production. Bachelor’s degree $45,490

Suggested citation:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/broadcast-and-sound-engineering-technicians.htm (visited May 30, 2012).

Baton Rouge School of Music Production

Call (225) 773-335

No comments:

Post a Comment