Jobs in Audio and Video Equipment Manufacturing: Career Info

Careers in the manufacture of A/V equipment may include production line assembly, electronic and design engineering, and software programming. Entry-level education and training requirements vary from a high school degree and in-house training to a B.S. in electronic engineering. Learn about career options, projected job growth and salary information for workers in the A/V equipment manufacturing field.

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High school graduates can pursue work as electronic equipment assemblers, although some employers prefer applicants with an associate's degree. For engineering technicians, an associate's degree is required, while electronic engineers must have a bachelor's or master's degree in engineering.

Essential Information

The production of consumer and professional electronic equipment such as speakers, MP3 players, TV sets and DVD players is referred to as audio and video equipment manufacturing. Careers in the industry include electronic and design engineering, production line assembly and software programming.

Job Options Assemblers Product Inspectors Engineering Techs Electronics Engineers
Required Education High School High School Associate's B.S. Engineering
Other Requirements Associate's/Certification In-House Training Bachelor's Master's in Engineering
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) -5% for electrical and electronic equipment assemblers* 0% for quality control inspectors* -2% for electrical and electronics engineering technicians* 0% for electrical and electronics engineers*
Median Salary (2015) $30,860 for electrical and electronic equipment assemblers* $36,000 for quality control inspectors* $61,130 for electrical and electronics engineering technicians* $95,230 for electrical and electronics engineers*

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov)

Job Options

Individuals working in audio and video (A/V) equipment manufacturing can fall into one of two groups: production workers and technical professionals. Production workers include assembly line workers and inspectors; technical professionals include engineers, programmers and technicians. Jobs in the technical professional category typically earn more money, but require more education than jobs in the production worker category.

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Production Worker Careers

Assembly Workers

Job Description

Assembly workers manually put together either entire products or components of products. In A/V equipment manufacturing, this includes tasks such as connecting wiring, attaching components to a circuit board or assembling a device's case. In situations where much of the assembly line has been automated, these workers monitor the assembly machines. More skilled and/or experienced workers generally perform the more complicated steps of assembly, whereas the less skilled workers may only do one simple step of the assembly repeatedly.

Job Requirements and Salary Information

Some production jobs require no experience or education beyond a high school diploma. Other employers prefer assembly workers to have an associate's degree or certification in high-tech manufacturing or electronics. Accredited programs in these subjects can be found at 2-year colleges and technical schools.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electronic equipment assemblers in the A/V equipment manufacturing industry earn a median annual salary of $31,630 (www.bls.gov) as of May 2015. The median annual salary for all electrical and electronic equipment assemblers is $30,860.

Product Inspectors

Job Description

Product inspectors evaluate the products being manufactured to make sure they are free from flaws and performing to design standards. An evaluation may be a simple visual inspection to ensure the product looks as it should. Inspectors may also test the function of the product by simulating a real-life situation with it; examples include connecting speakers to an audio playback device to test their sound, or taking a DVD player, connecting it to a screen and playing a DVD. If a statistically significant number of faulty products are found, then the production process will be evaluated to find and correct the cause of the flaws.

Job Requirements and Salary Information

Becoming an entry-level inspector generally requires a high school diploma. As every product is different, companies generally prefer any training to be done 'in-house' or by the company itself after the inspectors have been hired. A variety of certifications are available from the American Society for Quality; these generally require several years of experience in the field and passing an exam on the subject area.

As the amount of required training is low, the median hourly salary of a quality control inspector, which could include an inspector of A/V equipment, is also relatively low, at an average of $17.31, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary for a quality control inspector is $36,000.

Technical Professional Careers

Electronic Engineering Technicians

Job Description

Engineering technicians working in A/V equipment manufacturing are involved in the creation of new products and the implementation of their manufacture. In the design and development process, these technicians work with engineers, performing tasks such as building prototypes and testing them based on the engineers' designs. In the production process, engineering technicians may troubleshoot and repair machines if inspectors find that a number of defective products are being made.

Job Requirements and Salary Information

It may be possible to find engineering technician jobs that require no training past high school; most companies, however, prefer candidates to have finished an accredited 2-year program in engineering technology. These programs involve practical engineering training as well as courses in math, electronics and computing.

Electronic engineering technicians, as a result of their higher levels of technical training and responsibilities, generally earn more than production workers, pulling in a median annual salary of $61,130 a year. Other types of technicians take in similar salaries, according to the BLS. Industrial engineering technicians and mechanical engineering technicians earn a median annual salary of $53,780 and $53,910 per year, respectively (www.bls.gov).

Electronics Engineers

Job Description

In the A/V equipment manufacturing industry, electronics engineers devise new products for manufacture. They utilize knowledge of advanced mathematics, physics, electronics and materials to design products with higher specifications, such as speakers with more responsiveness at particular frequencies, or a television with more vivid colors. They often use specialized computer software to visualize and design their products before making a physical prototype. They also supervise and work with engineering technicians in the development process.

Job Requirements and Salary Information

Electronics engineering jobs require a 4-year degree in engineering from an accredited university. Many universities offer specializations for their engineering degree; specialization in electronics or electrical engineering may be helpful but is not generally required by employers. Those who are looking for top-level engineering positions may want to consider a graduate degree focused in electronics engineering.

Electronics engineers make a median annual salary of $95,230 according to May 2015 reports from the BLS (www.bls.gov). Material engineers, meanwhile, earn a median annual wage of $91,310, while computer hardware engineers make a median annual wage of $114,970 per year.

There are a wide range of career options in the field of audio and video equipment manufacturing. These include electronic equipment assemblers, product inspectors, and electronic engineering technicians. Jobs in this field are expected to see very low growth or decline during the 2014-2024 decade, according to BLS data.

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