Piano Technician: Job Outlook & Career Info

Mar 17, 2019

A piano is a complex instrument that requires the expertise of a professionally trained piano technician to keep it tuned and in good working order. Continue reading to learn more about training requirements, helpful skills, job outlook, and salary potential for piano technicians.

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Career Definition for a Piano Technician

Piano technicians repair and restore the working mechanisms of pianos, often working alone and making house calls. In general, their duties include using specialized tools to adjust the strings, correct the tension of the hammers, or repair the keys on pianos.

Education High school diploma required, degree programs available
Job Skills Piano playing, musical pitch, manual dexterity, customer service
Median Salary (2017)* $36,530 (for musical instrument repairers and tuners)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 1% (for musical instrument repairers and tuners)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

While it is possible to become a piano technician with only a high school diploma, relevant courses and degree programs can be found 2-year and 4-year colleges, trade schools, and universities. Basic courses usually include training in piano tuning, string adjustment, and instrument mechanisms. More advanced courses cover topics in regulation testing, surface restoration, and rebuilding. Aspiring piano technicians may have to complete an apprenticeship before they are allowed to do out-of-shop repairs.

Piano technicians can earn the Registered Piano Technicians (RPT) credential from the Piano Technicians Guild by passing exams in piano tuning, maintenance, and repair.

Skills Required

In order to evaluate whether a piano is in tune, technicians should be able to play the instrument. They should also have good musical pitch and be able to sing or hum a note in tune. Manual dexterity is required for repairs, and good customer service skills are necessary for working with clients.

Career and Economic Outlook

Piano technicians can work for themselves or for piano retailers or manufacturers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment growth for musical instrument repairers and tuners is expected to increase by just 1% between 2016 and 2026, a little to no change when compared to other occupations. According to the BLS, musical instrument repairers and workers earned median annual salaries of $36,530 in May 2017.

Alternate Career Options

Consider these other options in the field of sales and home entertainment:

Electronic Home Entertainment Equipment Installers and Repairers

Professionals who install and repair home entertainment equipment can work with audio or stereo systems, musical instruments, televisions, or video systems. A non-degree award in a relevant field of training is often required for employment. According to the BLS, between 2016 and 2026, little to no change in jobs is expected for entertainment system installers and repairers nationwide. As of May 2017, professionals in this line of work earned median annual wages of $37,190, as reported by the BLS.

Retail Sales Workers

Retail sales workers sell merchandise and parts for a variety of consumer goods, and according to the BLS, approximately 8% were employed in book, hobby, music, and sporting goods stores in 2016.

A high school diploma is the minimum education requirement for obtaining a position, and the majority of workers train on the job. Between 2016 and 2026, the BLS has projected a slower than average increase of 2% for retail sales workers nationwide. In May 2017, the BLS reported a median annual wage of $23,370 for those employed in retail.

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