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Broadcast Tech: Education Requirements and Job Information

A career as a broadcast technician requires a high school degree at a minimum, but a two- or four-year degree can give a job applicant an edge in this very competitive field. Learn about the training, job responsibilities and certification options to see if this is the right career for you.

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With a high school diploma it may be possible to begin a career as a broadcast technician. Some employers may prefer applicants with an associate's or bachelor's degree in broadcast technology, and postsecondary studies may increase job prospects. With an anticipated job decline from 2014-2024 for broadcast techs, those planning to enter this field can expect competition for available openings.

Essential Information

Broadcast technicians are responsible for operating electronic equipment that produces high quality sound and images for a variety of applications. Many broadcast techs are employed by radio or television stations, but they may also find work on stage productions or concert tours. Broadcast technicians work in recording and movie studios, as well.

Career Broadcast Technicians A/V Technicians Sound Engineering Technicians
Education Requirements High school, associate or bachelor's degree High school, associate or bachelor's degree High school, associate or bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* -6% 12% 8%
Average Salary (2015)* $44,050 $46,630 $63,340

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Education Requirements for Broadcast Techs

Some entry level jobs in this field, such as radio operator, may be open to high school graduates. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that radio operators may learn the necessary skills during a few months of on the job training. According to O*Net Online, 22% of broadcast technicians had a high school diploma or equivalent.

Postsecondary Training

Many other positions require formal training prior to employment. Students may earn a diploma or certificate from a technical or vocational school in a year or less that will qualify them for some jobs in broadcasting. For example, audio and visual technicians may begin work after completing a technical training program. Coursework usually includes classes in circuitry, video editing and production techniques.

Associate Degree Programs

Completing an associate degree program will provide a student with greater career options in the area of broadcast technology. An Associate of Applied Science in Broadcast Technology can usually be completed in two years and includes courses, such as studio production and digital electronics. Many of these programs also involve hands-on training at a student-run radio or television station, as well as a chance to complete an internship. Graduates may be qualified to be a camera operator, sound mixer, technical director or lighting technician.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Some students go on to earn a bachelor's degree in broadcast media, broadcasting technology or a similar field. These learners usually study for four years and take classes in communications and technical subjects. The BLS stated that people with several years of experience in broadcast technology along with a bachelor's degree may work as chief engineers or supervisory technicians.

Certification

The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) has a certification program that may provide greater chances of advancement for workers in this industry. Experienced technicians may take an examination in any of 11 different areas to become certified with the SBE.

Job Information for Broadcast Techs

According to the BLS, job prospects for broadcasting technicians were expected to decline by six percent between 2014 and 2024. Some occupations in closely related fields were predicted to increase faster than others. For example, audio and video equipment technicians were anticipated to enjoy job growth of 12 percent, while sound engineering positions were expected to increase by 8 percent.

While the highest paying broadcast jobs are found at large stations in metropolitan areas, this is also where competition for employment is the stiffest. Those working in the motion picture and video industries earned more than those working for radio and television broadcasting in May 2015, said the BLS.

As of May 2015, broadcast technicians received an average annual salary of $44,050. Those working in radio or television averaged $41,590 per year, while those working in the motion picture industry earned $57,040 per year.

Broadcast technicians usually work for radio or television stations, operating the equipment that produces sound and images. Some may opt to work in a related field as a sound technician, or audio and video equipment technician. While a high school diploma may be sufficient for some positions, most employers are looking for someone with an associate's or bachelor's degree.

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