Sound Technician: Job Description & Career Info

Apr 21, 2019

Learn about what a sound technician does. Find out the education and skills required as well as the salary and job outlook to determine if this is the right job for you.

Career Definition for a Sound Technician

A sound technician takes care of all the technological needs for sound effects and music for a company by setting up, working with and taking care of the necessary electrical equipment and tools. Sound technology offers a wide range of fields to work in due to the need for sound technicians in practically all forms of entertainment, including television, radio, concerts, theater, sporting events, studio recording and film. Big cities offer the most opportunities for these professionals; despite this, a niche can easily be found working in smaller communities.

Education Associate's or bachelor's degree, on-the-job training
Job Skills Agility, physical strength, endurance, understanding of electronics and technology
Median Salary (2018)* $52,390 (for sound engineering technicians)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 6% (for sound engineering technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Many educational paths exist for sound technicians, such as receiving training at a technical school, a vocational school or a community college in either broadcasting, electronics or computer technology. Obtaining an associate's or bachelor's degree at a college or a university may also be helpful. In these programs, students learn to assemble, control and preserve equipment used to produce music and other types of sound effects. Most of the knowledge and skills are developed as a result of on-the-job training by experienced professionals, although those serious about showing commitment could look into receiving certification from the Society of Broadcast Engineers, which is accomplished by passing an exam.

Skills Required

Agility, strength and endurance are all physical aspects that sound technicians must possess in order to transport and set up the different gear and equipment involved with the position. The most important trait needed on the job is a clear understanding of how these machines operate, which requires a passion for both electronics and technology. A flexible lifestyle helps tremendously, as sound technicians often have to work on weekends and holidays and can be on call.

Professional and Financial Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median salary for sound engineering technicians was $52,390 in 2018 (www.bls.gov). Employment of technicians was expected to grow 6% from 2016-2026, which was average in relation to other fields. However, competition could be tough in major metropolitan areas, so entry-level sound technicians might want to look for openings in smaller venues.

Alternate Career Options

Careers that are similar to a sound technician include:

Electronic Engineering Technician

Like sound technicians, electronic engineering technicians also work on equipment, though they're often involved with design and development. They also work in a wide range of industries, including high-tech, medical, aviation and communications fields. The common entry into this field is an associate degree programs in electrical and electronics engineering technology. A bachelor's degree in this field could advance a career. Though the BLS expects employment growth in the field to increase by 2% from 2016-2026, those who can get work in this occupation earn a median salary of $64,330, as of 2018.

Film and Video Editor

Those more interested in the entertainment aspect of sound engineering but want a more creative job might consider film and video editing. This position involves precision and collaboration with film directors and producers to generate the final cut of a film. A bachelor's degree in film studies or a related field is usually required, as well as experience assisting a seasoned film editor. The job outlook for this position from 2016-2026 is 17% growth expected. However, the motion picture industry is expected to need versatile video editors who know how to produce special effects. The median salary for this job in 2018 was $62,650, according to the BLS.

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