An audio-visual production specialist assembles, adjusts and operates various audio and video components, including cameras, microphones, lights and sound mixers. A comprehensive understanding of telecommunications and media, and the dissemination of information are important. While an associate's degree isn't necessary, it is helpful for entry-level positions. A bachelor's degree will provide more opportunities for advancement in the field.
|Required Education||High school diploma; associate's or bachelor's degree recommended|
|Other Requirements||On-the-job training; voluntary certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)||14%*|
|Average Salary (2014)||$46,040*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Audio-visual production specialists perform a variety of tasks and work with audio, video and lighting equipment, with the ultimate goal of producing professional video presentations. These tasks include the arranging, connecting, tuning and operation of video and lighting equipment. The function of these components and their interconnectivity to computers is important to correctly running wires and cables, and creating a harmoniously functioning audio-visual program.
Other responsibilities include preparing teleprompters with scripts, monitoring live feeds to ensure quality, diagnosing and resolving problems, and digitizing the data. An audio-visual production specialist will also store and maintain the equipment and the facilities in which the equipment is housed.
Audio-visual production specialists find employment at businesses with in-house audio-video production facilities and equipment. Generally the work is indoors, but can include positions outside a studio environment in sporting events, concerts and news broadcasts. The work varies from steady 40-hour work weeks to having to work overtime, evening, weekend and holiday shifts, depending on the position and any contractual deadlines.
Employment Prospects and Salary Outlook
As of 2014, audio-visual equipment technicians earned average salaries of $46,040, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment opportunities for these professionals were projected to increase 14% during the 2012-2022 decade, which was close to the national average growth rate among all job sectors.
Entry-level positions for audio-visual production specialists oftentimes only require a high school diploma. Experience with audio-visual equipment during high school or with an audio-visual club is beneficial. After gaining experience and skills in an entry-level position, a person may be able to transfer to a more senior, better paying position. Working as an assistant to an audio-visual production specialist is a good way to gain necessary experience.
To be more competitive for better job opportunities, an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree is recommended. Technical schools and community colleges offer one- and two-year certificates and degrees focusing on careers in the audio-visual industry or as preparation for obtaining a bachelor's degree. Requirements for entering these programs include having a high school diploma or GED, high school level algebra and proficiency in basic skills.
At the university level, audio-visual students will be trained in the technologies and practices of both new and existing media, as well as traditional journalism values. Courses include topics in:
- Remote video production
- Television production
- Broadcasting workshops
- Audio-video production workshops
- Visual journalism
Obtaining a bachelor's degree in audio-visual production is a 4-year process. Graduates will enter the job market with pre-professional training for career choices in multimedia, television and video production.