Multimedia technicians, also referred to as broadcast technicians, set up and operate the equipment used in television, radio and other broadcast studios. Multimedia technicians are also responsible for recording music and sounds, converting video to digital formats and ensuring the lighting on a set is adequate. The position might require doing some physical work, such as lifting heavy equipment or climbing antenna towers. Evening and weekend shifts are common in the field. Professionals in this field usually need to complete formal postsecondary training to prepare for employment.
|Degree Level||Associate's degree; high school diploma may be acceptable for some entry-level positions|
|Degree Name||Multimedia technology, broadcast technology, radio and television broadcasting|
|Experience||Varies by employer; on-the-job training is usually required; internships offered|
|Licensure/Certification||Licensure not required; several voluntary certifications available|
|Key Skills||Communication and computer skills; manual dexterity and physical strength necessary to operate production machines and equipment; aptitude in using cameras, recording devices, and lighting equipment|
|Salary||$37,490 (2015 median salary for all broadcast technicians)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Society of Broadcast Engineers
While a high school diploma may be acceptable for some entry-level positions, an associate's degree in multimedia technology, broadcast technology or radio and television broadcasting is typically needed. Experience requirements vary by employer, but on-the-job training is usually required, and internships might be available. While licensure not required, several voluntary certifications available. These professionals should have good communication and computer skills, as well as manual dexterity and the physical strength necessary to operate production machines and equipment. They should also have an aptitude for using cameras, recording devices and lighting equipment. According to 2015 earnings data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, broadcast technicians earned a median annual salary of $37,490.
Steps to Be a Broadcast Technician
Step 1: Earn an Associate's Degree in Multimedia Technology
Students enrolled in a multimedia technology program learn about the technical aspects related to working in television and radio. In addition to teaching students about broadcasting basics, students have the chance to learn about lighting, editing and sound. Courses cover areas including video production, mixing audio, story boarding, radio studio techniques and television studio operation.
Step 2: Participate in an Internship
A program may offer students an opportunity to participate in an internship, which will allow them to apply what they have learned in the classroom in a real-world setting. Students work under experienced technicians and begin setting up and operating equipment in a professional studio. This training also gives prospective technicians the opportunity to learn how to communicate with other professionals on set.
Interning may be an applicant's first step toward landing a job, and it may be beneficial to intern at a company that specializes in an area of interest. For example, candidates could choose to work in either television or radio. They may also have a chance to work for a news, entertainment or sports production company.
Step 3: Receive On-The-Job Training
After obtaining employment, broadcast technicians will need to undergo training in the field. Technicians will need to learn how a production company or radio station conducts shoots and broadcasts shows. The amount of training will depend on the employer, and different industries require specific skill sets for technicians.
Step 4: Consider Certification and Career Advancement Options
Multimedia technicians can obtain voluntary certification to prepare for advanced opportunities and improve their competency in using the latest industry technologies. The Society of Broadcast Engineers offers various levels of certification, such as the Certified Television Operator, Certified Broadcast Networking Engineer and Certified Broadcast Technologist credential, that typically last for five years. Professionals may also consider an audiovisual designation as a Certified Technology Specialist through InfoComm International.
Professionals in this field can advance as supervisory technicians or chief engineers, which may require further education. For instance, those seeking senior engineering positions at television studios usually need an engineering or computer science bachelor's degree.
Aspiring multimedia technicians often have an associate's degree in television and radio broadcasting, multimedia technology or broadcast technology and undergo on-the-job training.