Job Description of a Live Sound Technician

Working as a live sound technician requires little formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

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A live sound technician works at events to manage sound quality, volume, and equipment. They may have some educational background in music, sound technology or engineering, or other related subjects. Professional certification is available, but isn't required.

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Essential Information

A live sound technician manages audio equipment, such as a mixing board, during indoor or outdoor events and live performances at such locations as sports arenas, churches, theaters or lecture halls. A technician is responsible for sound checks, equipment placement, volume and quality of sound. Typical education for a live sound technician may be a vocational education program, though associate's and bachelor's degrees are available.

Required Education Completion of a training or vocational program in sound technology; associate's and bachelor's degrees in sound engineering, broadcasting and technology are available
Other Requirements Voluntary certification available through the Society of Broadcast Engineers for technicians with experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 7% for all broadcast and sound engineering technicians*
Mean Salary (2015) $63,340 for sound engineering technicians*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Requirements

Some training is usually required, with options that include vocational education or undergraduate degree programs in an area such as music production. Certification is not required but is available to recognize professional competence. The Society of Broadcast Engineers offers the Certified Audio Engineer (CEA), a certification for candidates who have five years of experience, which can include education or military service, and pass an examination.

Salary and Career Information

Sound engineering technicians earned a mean annual salary of $63,340 in May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The lowest 10% of earners had an annual wage of $22,510 or less, and the top 10% earned $118,530 or more per year. In addition to the sound recording industry, technicians can work for motion picture and video companies, radio and television broadcasting, independent performers and performing arts companies. The BLS projected that broadcast and sound engineering technicians would experience about-average job growth of 7% from 2014 to 2024.

Job Duties of a Live Sound Technician

In addition to managing audio volume and sound quality at live events, technicians may set up and take down equipment and perform sound checks. Technicians record speech, music or other sounds, keep logs of recordings and use sound mixing boards to mix and edit music, voices and sound effects. Other duties include meeting with producers or performers to determine the desired sound for a performance, monitoring equipment for needed repairs and setting up and testing recording equipment.

Knowledge of sound equipment and acoustics is important for a live sound technician position, and a vocational program or undergraduate degree can help to prepare for work in this field. Aside from overseeing the quality and volume of audio levels at various events, they may be responsible for setting up and breaking down equipment, recording and editing sounds.

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