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Broadcasting Technician: Job Duties & Requirements

Apr 11, 2019

Broadcasting or sound engineering technicians use their knowledge of computers and electronics to operate equipment during concert, radio, television or other related productions. Read on for more information about education requirements, employment outlook and earnings potential for broadcast technicians.

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Career Definition for a Broadcasting Technician

Digital technology has revolutionized the broadcasting profession, so technicians today are responsible for operating and maintaining computers and related software, along with handling traditional audio and video equipment. Day-to-day responsibilities may include recording and synchronizing sounds and voices, adjusting quality and volume controls or converting existing recordings to digital formats. Depending on the venue, broadcast technicians may hold positions as chief engineers, field technicians, recording engineers or sound mixers, among other titles. Job competition is serious in large cities, where major radio and television hubs attract many broadcasting technicians.

Education Associate's or bachelor's degree
Job Skills Not easily stressed, eye and ear for visual and audio detail, knowledge about technology, good communication and problem-solving
Mean Annual Salary (2018) $46,770 (for broadcast technicians)
Job Growth (2016-2026) -3% (decline) (for broadcast technicians)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

While a high school diploma and on-the-job training may suffice for some entry-level positions, audio and video or sound technicians usually need a certificate or non-degree award from a postsecondary school to enter the field. A 2-year degree in a relevant training area is the usual requirement for obtaining work as a broadcast technician. Broadcasting coursework may cover topics in engineering and computer technology, electronics, physics and telecommunications. Certificate and non-degree programs can take anywhere from a couple of months to up to one year to complete; 4-year broadcasting degree programs may be found at individual schools.

Skills Required

Broadcasting technicians who work with live radio or video transmissions must have the ability to remain cool in a stressful environment. They should also have a sharp ear and eye for audio and visual details, along with a working knowledge of related technology. Communication and problem-solving skills are key, as is the manual dexterity needed to work with cables, dials and knobs. Through continuing education, broadcast technicians can also make sure that their knowledge of automated systems, computers and electrical technology is up to date.

Career and Salary Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected a 3% decline in jobs for broadcast technicians across the country between 2016 and 2026. Radio and television stations, companies and schools who are looking to upgrade their equipment and improve their audio-video potential are expected to contribute to job growth. In May 2018, broadcast technicians earned mean annual wages of $46,770, as reported by the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Alternate Career Options

Careers that are similar to a broadcasting technician include:

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support or information technology (IT) specialists help non-technical consumers and professionals with hardware and software problems. Educational requirements can range from college courses to an associate or bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering technologies or IT; continuing education is a must to stay current in the field. The BLS reports that computer support specialists can look forward to 11%, or faster-than-average, growth in jobs nationwide from 2016-2026. Computer user support and network specialists who were employed in May 2018 were paid average yearly salaries of $55,050 and $68,050, respectively (www.bls.gov).

Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians develop and test a variety of consumer devices, such those related to communications, GPS and medical monitoring. Completion of a 2-year vocational program, particularly one approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, that includes coursework in C++ programming, circuitry, microprocessors and physics is typically required to secure a position. The BLS reports that technicians can expect a 2% increase in employment prospects from 2016-2026. According to the BLS, electrical and electronics engineering technicians earned average annual wages of $65,050 in May 2018 (www.bls.gov).

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