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Job Description for an Audio Communications Technician
Audio communications technicians work under a variety of titles, including broadcast engineers and sound engineer technicians. Audio techs are wholly responsible for the sound equipment used in television and radio broadcasts, sound recordings, concerts, movies and even in office and school buildings. Sound engineers deliver sound to speakers and similar equipment using a variety of tools and technology. Many technicians are responsible for handling cables, microphones, mixing boards and amplifiers. Television and radio stations are major employers in the audio communications field.
|Education||High school diploma at minimum, but an associate's degree or certificate is a typical requirement; on-the-job training; bachelor's degree can be helpful|
|Job Skills||Excellent hearing, knowledge of audio hardware and software, communication skills|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$43,660 per year (broadcast and sound engineering technicians)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||8% (as fast as average) (broadcast and sound engineering technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Although a high school diploma may be sufficient to get an entry-level position in the audio communications field, the majority of opportunities require at least a vocational certificate or an associate's degree. Attaining a bachelor's degree in sound engineering could help an audio communications technician stand out from his or her competitors. For nearly all positions, a period of on-the-job, supervised training is mandated. Coursework includes math, physics, engineering acoustics and electronics classes, as well as training in the application of audio technology.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that audio communications technicians must have the following qualities:
- Excellent hearing, since workers are expected to listen for a wide range of sonic details
- Ability to troubleshoot issues when equipment doesn't deliver desired results
- Knowledge about all audio equipment, including newly released technology and programming
- Networking and software skills
- Teamwork and communication skills
- Manual dexterity and physical strength when moving and working on audio equipment
Employment and Salary Outlook
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for broadcast and sound engineering technicians was $43,660 in May 2018. The BLS also reported that employment of broadcast and sound engineering technicians is expected to grow 8% from 2016-2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Specifically, the employment of sound engineering technicians is projected to grow by 6% over the same period. Despite the growth of the digital, entertainment and technical markets, job competition should be tough for most newcomers to the field; advancements in technology have drastically increased the productivity of workers, reducing the need for additional employees.