Becoming a broadcast director often requires the completion of a four-year degree program, combined with significant industry experience. An associate's degree is good preparation for an entry-level position in the industry, while a bachelor's degree provides more technical training and often internship opportunities as well. These directors typically take on either a managerial or technical role.
In the broadcasting industry, there are two main types of directors: hands-on technical directors who operate equipment and direct broadcasts and program directors who fulfill management functions at broadcast stations. Broadcasting directors typically need a bachelor's degree and industry experience, though some entry-level positions may be available to those with just a high school diploma.
|Career||Television Director||Program Director|
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Experience in the field||Experience in the field|
|Projected Job Growth*||9% (for all producers and directors)||9% (for all producers and directors)|
|Median Salary (2016)**||$72,208||$57,539|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. **PayScale.com
Education Requirements for Broadcasting Directors
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that while some technical jobs in the broadcasting industry demand only a high school education or some college, others may expect a minimum of a 4-year degree (www.bls.gov). Additionally, employers may prefer candidates who have some experience, such as a college internship with a broadcasting station.
Associate's degree programs generally last two years and prepare students for entry-level broadcasting careers. These programs introduce students to the basic skills and knowledge needed to enter the workforce, including studio and field production, editing techniques, news writing and reporting. Many also include hands-on technical experience through internships and college broadcast or print media.
Typical bachelor's degree programs in broadcasting provide more in-depth training and greater opportunities for students to gain technical and project management experience because most programs require four years of study and offer increased co-curricular activities. In addition to technical and production offerings, bachelor's degree programs include courses on mass communication history and law, media management and a variety of media specializations. Programs at this level often require internships and experience as part of the degree, and many also offer different degree tracks in production or management.
Graduate programs allow students to further specialize in the production and management of broadcast media. These programs place a greater emphasis on the business aspects of the broadcasting industry, such as regulations and law, leadership, research, technological advances and production management.
Job titles in the broadcasting industry vary widely from one production or station to the next. Additionally, job duties for broadcasting directors may vary based on market share and the size of the media outlet. Both the BLS and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) explain that job experience is often just as valuable, if not more so, to potential employers, and that candidates should seek internships and summer or part-time work at broadcast stations (www.nab.org).
According to the BLS, the number of jobs for technical and broadcast directors and program directors is expected to increase at a faster-than-average rate, by 9%, between 2014-2024. According to PayScale.com as of October 2016, broadcast directors made a median salary of $57,539 and the median salary of television directors was $72,208 as of October 2016.
Technical and Broadcast Directors
A variety of directorial positions exist in the production and technical areas of a broadcast station, which include job titles, such as newscast director, floor director, technical director, production director and studio director. Directors often begin as production assistants, camera operators or editors, and use their knowledge to direct projects and programs.
Technical and production directors may operate audio or video switches, direct camera shots, adjust lighting and communicate with engineering personnel. These professionals may also act as producers and edit video or create graphics. Some technical directors may guide or train production staff in the use of equipment.
Program Directors and Managers
Program directors and managers oversee productions and the execution of administrative duties for broadcast stations. They help set program scheduling and ensure adherence to broadcast rules and government regulations. These professionals may also plan budgets, create work schedules for station staff, monitor programming and advertisements, establish station policies and set future goals. Employees in this position interact with station and operations managers, news directors and head engineers to foster communication and shared goals.
Aspiring broadcasting directors can consider three levels of degrees: an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree, with graduate work generally emphasizing the business side of the industry. The daily duties of these directors vary depending on the place of employment and job title; for example, technical directors might oversee studio operations, floor direction, newscasts or lighting and audio. A program director, on the other hand, performs both managerial and administrative tasks, such as budgeting, scheduling and organizing advertisements.