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Become a Radio Broadcast Engineer: Education and Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become a radio broadcast engineer through this video. Learn about the job description and duties, and see the step-by-step process to start a career in broadcast engineering.

Should I Become a Radio Broadcast Engineer?

Radio broadcast engineers are responsible for setting up and operating equipment in radio stations, as well as maintaining and repairing broken equipment. They must be experts in using the equipment and computer systems needed to program broadcasting devices and edit audio recordings. Radio broadcast engineers typically work for radio stations that broadcast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a result, engineers might have to work or be on-call on weekends and holidays. They can work independently and may work indoors and outdoors.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Associate's degree typically required
Degree Field Broadcast production technology, radio production or related field
Certification Voluntary certification available
Training Short-term on-the-job training and apprenticeships offered in lieu of work experience
Key Skills Manual dexterity, communication, computer and problem-solving skills, ability to use audio mixing consoles and media control systems
Salary $39,140 per year (2014 average salary for all broadcast technicians in the radio and television industry)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET OnLine

Step 1: Earn an Associate's Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many radio broadcast engineers entering the field usually need an associate's degree. Degree programs in broadcast production technology, radio production or electronics engineering technology are applicable fields of study for this career. Some positions may only require a high school diploma, but having a degree may lead to better career opportunities in a competitive market. The curricula in these programs typically include audio and radio production, radio programming and broadcast management coursework.

Success Tips:

  • Get involved with student organizations. Students may find opportunities to become involved with audiovisual clubs or college radio stations while they're completing their degrees.
  • Develop communication skills. Strong written and verbal communication skills enable radio broadcast engineers to express themselves clearly while directing others on how to set up and operate complex broadcast equipment. Courses with a strong writing component, such as English composition may be helpful.

Step 2: Gain Experience

Radio broadcast engineers may work in smaller broadcasting venues to gain experience and learn work protocol. These smaller stations may offer less specialized work and require more general skills. Entry-level engineers might also gain experience by seeking out an apprenticeship program or working alongside experienced radio broadcast professionals. Once a radio broadcast engineer has acquired solid working knowledge of how to operate broadcasting equipment and work in a radio studio, they can advance to larger markets and supervisory positions.

Step 3: Consider Certification

The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) offers several optional certifications, enabling broadcast engineers to provide quality benchmark assurance for prospective clients and professional employment opportunities (www.sbe.org). The Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer (CBRE) and Certified Broadcast Networking Engineer (CBNE) designations both require applicants to pass an examination and renew certification every five years.


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