Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians

by Kate Williams

What Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians Do

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electrical equipment for media programs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDoTIgKwLZM

Work Environment

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians typically work indoors in radio, television, movie, and recording studios. They may also work in hotels, arenas, offices, or schools.

How to Become a Broadcast or Sound Engineering Technician

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians typically need postsecondary education. Depending on the work they do, they may need either a postsecondary nondegree award or an associate’s degree.

Pay

The median annual wage for broadcast and sound engineering technicians was $45,510 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of broadcast and sound engineering technicians is projected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected to stem from businesses, schools, and entertainment industries seeking to improve their audio and video capabilities. They will need technicians to set up, operate, and maintain equipment.

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electrical equipment for radio programs, television broadcasts, concerts, sound recordings, and movies.

Duties

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians typically do the following:

  • Operate, monitor, and adjust audio, video, lighting, and broadcast equipment to ensure consistent quality
  • Set up and take down equipment for events and live performances
  • Record speech, music, and other sounds on recording equipment or computers, sometimes using complex software
  • Synchronize sounds and dialogue with action taking place on television or in movie productions
  • Convert video and audio records to digital formats for editing on computers
  • Install audio, video, and lighting equipment in hotels, offices, and schools
  • Report any problems that arise with complex equipment and make routine repairs
  • Keep records of recordings and equipment used

These workers may be called broadcast or sound engineering technicians, operators, or engineers. They set up and operate audio and video equipment, and the kind of equipment they use may depend on the particular type of technician or industry. At smaller radio and television stations, broadcast and sound engineering technicians may have more responsibilities. At larger stations, they may do more specialized work, although their job assignments may vary from day to day.

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians share many responsibilities, but their duties may vary with their specific area of focus. The following are examples of types of broadcast and sound engineering technicians:

Audio and video equipment technicians set up and operate audio and video equipment. They also connect wires and cables and set up and operate sound and mixing boards and related electronic equipment.

Audio and video equipment technicians work with microphones, speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, and recording equipment. The equipment they operate is used for meetings, concerts, sports events, conventions, and news conferences. In addition, they may operate equipment at conferences and at presentations for businesses and postsecondary intuitions.

Audio and video equipment technicians also may set up and operate custom lighting systems. They frequently work directly with clients and must provide simple and clear solutions to problems.

Broadcast technicians, also known as broadcast engineers, set up, operate, and maintain equipment that regulates the signal strength, clarity, and ranges of sounds and colors for radio or television broadcasts. They operate transmitters, either in studios or on location in the field, to broadcast radio or television programs. Broadcast technicians also use computer programs to edit audio and video recordings.

Sound engineering technicians, also known as audio engineers or sound mixers, operate computers and equipment that record, synchronize, mix, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects in recording studios, sporting arenas, theater productions, or movie and video productions. They record audio performances or events and may combine audio tracks that were recorded separately to create a multilayered final product.

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians held about 140,300 jobs in 2019. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up broadcast and sound engineering technicians was distributed as follows:

Audio and video technicians 91,800
Broadcast technicians 32,700
Sound engineering technicians 15,800

The largest employers of broadcast and sound engineering technicians were as follows:

Radio and television broadcasting 17%
Motion picture and sound recording industries 13
Real estate and rental and leasing 11
Self-employed workers 9
Educational services; state, local, and private 8

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians typically work indoors in radio, television, movie, or recording studios. However, they may work outdoors in all types of weather in order to broadcast news and other programming on location. Audio and video technicians also set up systems in offices, arenas, hotels, schools, hospitals, and homes.

Technicians doing maintenance may climb poles or antenna towers. Those setting up equipment may do heavy lifting.

Work Schedules

Technicians usually work full time. They 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 additional hours to meet contract deadlines with the movie studio.

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 Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to computer users and organizations.

See How to Become One $54,760

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians

Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians help engineers design and develop electrical and electronic equipment.

Associate’s degree $65,260

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers

Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers install or repair a variety of electrical equipment.

See How to Become One $59,080

Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Film and video editors and camera operators manipulate moving images that entertain or inform an audience.

Bachelor’s degree $59,810

Announcers

Announcers present music, news, and sports and may provide commentary or interview guests.

See How to Become One $39,790

Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts

Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts

Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts inform the public about news and events.

Bachelor’s degree $46,270

Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers

Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers set up and maintain devices that carry communications signals.

Postsecondary nondegree award $57,910

For more career information and links to employment resources, visit

National Association of Broadcasters

Audio Engineering Society

For more information about certification and links to employment information for broadcast technicians, visit

Society of Broadcast Engineers

For more information on certification and career information for audio and video equipment technicians, visit

Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association

O*NET

Audio and Video Equipment Technicians

Broadcast Technicians

Sound Engineering Technicians


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/broadcast-and-sound-engineering-technicians.htm (visited ).


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