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Lighting Technician Schools with Training and Degree Program Info

Lighting technicians typically install lighting systems for TV and film productions. There are a few schools that offer career-focused certificate programs for aspiring production assistants, but formal education in the field is more widely available through broader degree programs in lighting design.

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Lighting technicians can learn to install, repair and conduct maintenance on various types of lighting control systems through certificate programs. Bachelor's and master's degree programs are available for those who want to study lighting design.

Schools with Lighting Design Degree Programs

These schools offer lighting design programs at the bachelor's and master's degree levels.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees 2015-2016*
University of North Carolina School of the Arts Winston-Salem, NC 4-year, Public Bachelor's $8,983 in-state, $24,403 out-of-state
DePaul University Chicago, IL 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $36,361
The New School New York, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $41,250
Boston University Boston, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $48,082
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $11,000 in-state, $26,334 out-of-state (undergraduate), $14,468 in-state, $26,210 out-of-state (graduate)
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $50,665 (undergraduate), $41,371 (graduate)
University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Master's $10,934 in-state, $20,762 out-of-state
Illinois State University Normal, IL 4-year, Public Master's $9,400 in-state, $17,017 out-of-state
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,381 in-state, $28,659 out-of-state
Yale University New Haven, CT 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $38,700

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

When looking for lighting technician and design programs, consider the following:

  • Prospective students should consider their career aspirations when choosing between programs. Certificate programs typically prepare students for entry-level production assistant jobs, while bachelor's and master's degree programs can lead to higher level positions as lighting designers.
  • Prospective students may want to find out if there are student-run theater groups on campus where they might gain hands-on experience with lighting design and installation.
  • It can be helpful to find out about the school's facilities in order to ensure that they will have access to industry-standard equipment and computer software.
  • Many schools require students to submit a portfolio of their work prior to admission to a degree program, so prospective students should make sure they have a sufficient body of work to offer.

Certificate Programs

Undergraduate certificate programs for lighting technicians cover the technical aspects of stage lighting for film and TV productions. Students gain experience with commonly used equipment and take introductory courses in entertainment design and the processes involved in creating content for the media industry.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

At the bachelor's degree level, students who are interested in studying lighting can enroll in a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program with a focus in lighting design. Students learn about the electrical and mechanical systems used for lighting on theatre, TV and film productions, and they gain creative experience designing their own sets. In addition, they must fulfill general education requirements.

Master's Degree Programs

In Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs, students hone their artistic skills and gain experience with high-level technologies and software applications used the lighting design field. Prior to graduation, students may be required to submit a final thesis project. In total, MFA programs take three years to complete.

Lighting technician programs are available at the undergraduate certificate, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Prospective students should consider a school's facilities and program curriculum when choosing between schools.

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