Technical Director: Job Description & Salary

Find out about the career of a technical director, including roles, responsibilities and salary details. Also, gain insight into educational and skill requirements as well as career prospects for this position.

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What Is a Technical Director?

A technical director is responsible for overseeing the technical aspects of a radio or television program. Directors are usually tasked with managing filming, editing and engineering processes and might have duties that include watching monitors to make sure images on the screen display correctly and checking equipment to ensure it is up to standard. During live broadcasts, directors typically ensure programs align with federal, state, network or station guidelines.

Technical directors general play a supervisory role, allocating responsibilities to employees who work directly in the production of programs. They may also serve as a point of contact between departments involved in engineering and production.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree is common; high school diploma or some college is often accepted
Job Skills Technical, communication, leadership, problem-solving and time management skills
Median Salary (2019)* $93,643
Job Outlook (2016 - 2026)** 12% (for all producers and directors)

Source: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

According to O*NET Online, technical directors typically possess a bachelor's degree; however, some hold a high school diploma or equivalent or have completed some college. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that producers and directors working in film, television or theater production typically hold a bachelor's degree from a college or university's film or cinema program.

Other degree options for directors and producers, according to the BLS, include communications, journalism, acting or writing. As for work experience, directors sometimes start in assistant roles and work their way up to more expansive roles.

Required Skills

Technical directors should be highly proficient in various forms of technology, including graphics software like Adobe Photoshop, audio software like Adobe Audition and spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel. Directors are usually skilled in the use of video creation, CAD and presentation software.

Additional skills technical directors should possess include the ability to provide leadership on projects and clearly communicate ideas and instructions to workers. They should be able to solve technical problems that arise during broadcasts or at any stage in the production process and also have good time management skills.

Career Outlook and Salary

Career opportunities for all directors and producers were projected to grow by 12% between the years 2016 and 2026, which was faster than average when compared to all occupations, according to the BLS. This expected increase was the result of greater public demand for motion pictures, reality television shows and Internet-based shows and a need for directors to oversee and edit these projects.

According to Payscale.com, the median annual salary for technical directors in February 2019 was $93,643. Technical directors in the lower 10% of salaries earned $37,748 or less, while those in the higher 10% of salaries earned $174,756 or more.

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