Broadcast engineers, also known as broadcast technicians, monitor and repair equipment that regulates video and audio quality for TV and radio broadcasts.
Associate and bachelor's degree programs in broadcast technology, electronics technology, computer engineering technology and telecommunications are among the options offering instruction in the fundamentals of this field through classes as well as lab work that includes hands-on experience in topics such as electricity and circuitry. Bachelor's degree programs offer more advanced instruction, including how to use computers to solve problems and electronics testing. An internship may offer opportunities to gain hands-on experience. A high school diploma or equivalent is required to enter both programs. Prior coursework in physics, chemistry, trigonometry, algebra and geometry is helpful.
Associate Degree in Broadcast Technology
Associate degree programs leading to a career in broadcast engineering teach the basics of operating and maintaining equipment for audio and television broadcasts. Depending on the program, students may take courses in basic electricity, circuitry and telecommunications. Degree programs also might offer courses in editing programming, as well as developing and applying video effects and graphics. Students typically gain practical experience by working with broadcasting audio and visual equipment. They may investigate the development of radio and television programming and gain production knowledge in a working studio. Additionally, they're likely to learn to install, maintain and repair electronic equipment used to develop video and audio for broadcast. The program may also offer basic courses in computer programming and include internship opportunities with local radio and television stations, allowing students to gain experience. Coursework may include:
- Digital electronics
- Broadcast operations
- Digital editing
- Computer systems
- Television production
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Bachelor's Degree in Broadcasting Technology
Broadcast technicians who are looking to advance need to earn a bachelor's degree, according to the BLS. In these programs, students typically hone various essential skills, such as problem solving, decision making and analyzing. They're likely to investigate circuit problems and develop the ability to use computers and mathematics to resolve problems. They also might learn about electronic testing and testing equipment. Students typically are required to take general education courses in behavior and social sciences, humanities and science. Programs may include electives, allowing students to take more courses in a particular area, such as computers. Students may be required to participate in an internship. Curricula may include courses in:
- Electronic circuits
- Digital systems
- Technical computing
- Power conversion
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for broadcast technicians was $37,490 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Jobs for broadcast technicians are anticipated to decline 6% during the decade 2014-2024.
Popular Career Options
Graduates of bachelor's degree programs in broadcast technology may take positions as various types of technicians, such as:
- Computer communication technicians
- Radio and TV broadcasting technicians
- Mobile communication technicians
- Optical networking technicians
- Technicians responsible for controls and automation
- Telecommunication technicians
- Technicians working with sound or electronic systems
For technicians with five or more years of experience in broadcast engineering, the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) offers the Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer (CBRE) and Certified Broadcast Television Engineer (CBTE) credentials. Certification is awarded after an applicant successfully completes an examination.
Broadcast technology associate and bachelor's degree programs typically consist of coursework that includes both labs and hands-on experience. Certifications for experienced technicians are also available through the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE).