If you enjoy working with technology and are interested in broadcasting, then you should consider becoming a broadcast operations technician. This profession usually requires an associate's degree, but a high school diploma is sometimes accepted under certain circumstances.
A broadcast operations technician, or simply broadcast technician, ensures the quality of video and sound in broadcast and cable television programs, radio shows, motion pictures and theatrical venues. They may also operate the master controls and transmitters, video tape recorders, antennas and other technical equipment. An associate's degree is usually required to work as a broadcast technician; however, a high school diploma may be sufficient for some positions. On-the-job training is also frequently necessary.
|Required Education||Associate's degree typically required, high school diploma sometimes sufficient|
|Projected Job Outlook (2018-2028)*||1% for all broadcast technicians|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$40,080 for all broadcast technicians|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Education Requirements for Broadcast Operations Technicians
The level of training for broadcast technicians can vary greatly. On-the-job training could be offered for some positions. In 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that newcomers to the profession should generally earn an associate's degree, however a high school diploma qualifies applicants for some positions (www.bls.gov). For those without a degree, some postsecondary training in electronics, mathematics and physics is generally recommended. Offered through many universities, community colleges, technical and trade schools, broadcast technician programs can last from a few months to earn a certificate to four years for a bachelor's degree.
Coursework in a broadcast technician program covers operations and maintenance of studio, audio and video equipment. Several schools have on-campus radio and television stations that allow students to gain hands-on experience in several communications venues. Additionally, students are frequently offered the chance to receive practical training through work-study and internship programs.
Career Information for Broadcast Operations Technicians
Technicians generally transport, set up and utilize all of the equipment in a broadcast studio and could provide on-site services, as well. Tasks range from adjusting equipment for video and sound quality in the studio to working on exterior operations, such as an antenna tower. Since the job requires working directly with programming content, they must follow strict deadlines.
Broadcast technicians employed with smaller studios or companies could be required to work on a wide variety of equipment. However, working at larger, more profitable establishments could improve a technician's ability to stay up-to-date on industry-specific procedures and newer electronic components. Broadcast technicians can work in television and radio studios, sound stages or theaters. They can also provide support services at on-site locations, maintaining, safeguarding and operating equipment.
Outlook and Salary Information
The BLS projects employment for broadcast technicians will have minimal or no increase through 2028 as a result of industry consolidation. In May 2018, the BLS reported that professionals in the 90th percentile or higher earned $82,580 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $21,130 or less per year. Labor unions, such as the Radio and Television Broadcast Engineers Union or the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, could help with employment opportunities and offer additional benefits, such as housing assistance, training costs or retirement accounts.
A broadcast technician needs to know the ins and outs of broadcasting technology, and strong communication skills are often a plus. Associate's degrees are a common entry-level requirement, and aspiring technicians should look for programs that offer hands-on training in broadcast studios.