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Become a Studio Technician: Education and Career Roadmap

Explore the requirements to become a studio technician. Learn about the job description and duties, and review the step-by-step process that can help you start a career as a studio technician. View article »

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  • 0:03 Studio Technicians
  • 0:28 Career Skills & Info
  • 1:09 Step 1: Choose a Specialty
  • 1:46 Step 2: Earn a Degree
  • 2:55 Step 3: Get Certified
  • 3:46 Step 4: Get Experience

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Video Transcript

Studio Technicians

If you choose to become a studio technician, you'll work with audio, visual, and other technical equipment in the film, broadcasting, and music industries. Your job will involve working in live-broadcast and recorded situations where you'll set up and operate equipment in music and television studios and on location and maybe even give direction to other equipment operators.

Career Skills & Info

Degree Level Formal education is not mandatory, though many hold certificates or associate's degrees
Degree Fields Broadcast technology, electronics or a related field
Certification Voluntary certification available through the Society of Broadcast Engineers and other organizations
Experience Five years in video or audio production
Key skills Use of audio and video editing software, audio mixing and video consoles, non-linear editing systems, recording equipment, and video cameras
Career Outlook Broadcast and sound engineering technicians can expect a 7%, or fast-as-average, growth in jobs between 2014-2024
Salary (2015) $41,780 per year (Median salary for broadcast and sound engineering technicians)

Sources: Studio technician job listings, O*Net OnLine, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Payscale.com

Step 1: Choose a Specialty

Studio technicians should be proficient in the equipment used to produce audio broadcasts and recordings or videos. Since each sub-specialty utilizes different equipment and technology, prospective studio technicians may want to decide on a specialty before pursuing a degree program.

In smaller or independent productions, formal post-secondary education is not always a requirement. These productions can provide studio technicians with the opportunity to gain some experience with equipment, procedures, and technology before deciding on a specialty or advancing to positions that require more education or experience.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

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  • Piano and Organ
  • Stringed Instruments
  • Voice and Opera

Step 2: Earn a Degree

Aspiring studio technician may pursue formal training through technical certificate or associate's and bachelor's degree programs in broadcast technology, electronics, or a related field. Prospective studio technicians interested in broadcasting can earn an associate's degree in broadcasting, communications and media arts, recording arts, video production, or a similar course of study. A position in the competitive broadcasting field often requires technicians to have a higher level of education, so a 4-year degree may be necessary. Regardless of the degree level, courses generally cover the technology used in the field, including the use of audio and video capture and editing equipment and software, as well as production skills, effects, and techniques.

Success Tip

Serve as an audio or video intern. Internships provide valuable hands-on experience, and some degree programs may offer or require them. Since most degree programs cover many aspects of a production, aspiring studio technicians should seek an internship position that will provide them with experience and skills related to their area of interest.

Step 3: Get Certified

While not mandatory, studio technicians can become certified to demonstrate their dedication to the field and knowledge of current technology. The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) offers a wide range of certification programs for audio and visual engineering professionals at various levels. These include the Certified Audio Engineer or Certified Video Engineer designations. Both of these certifications require five years of applicable experience and passing an exam, though education can serve as a substitute for the experience requirement.

Success Tip

Maintain certification. Certification through the SBE must be renewed every five years. This can involve meeting service requirements set by employers, retaking certification exams, or completing continuing education.

Step 4: Get Experience

Entry-level studio technicians can find employment in smaller markets or lesser-known broadcasting stations. Once experienced, they may go on to larger stations that often offer better pay. In fact, large stations almost always require experience when hiring studio technicians. Eventually, technicians can be promoted to chief engineering or management positions, though these often require a college education.

Just to recap, aspiring studio technicians should decide on an audio or a video specialty before pursuing a postsecondary certificate or degree program and a professional certification. Based on information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, broadcast and sound engineering technicians overall earned a median salary of $41,780 a year as of May 2015.

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