Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians

Career, Salary and Education Information

Top 3 Broadcast Technician Jobs

  • Tower Technician III - FDH Velocitel - Glen Allen, VA

    We believe our success is directly linked to the knowledge and experience of our talented staff. Work with fabulous people: FDH Velocitel provides a

  • Technician, Broadcast Maintenance - Agency Temp - Temp on Payroll - SiriusXM - Washington, DC

    Performs regularly schedule preventive technical maintenance in broadcast studios. • Maintains program continuity for multiple audio channels

  • Broadcast Engineer Technician - Sinclair Broadcast Group - Johnstown, PA

    We are the largest and most diversified television broadcasting company in the country. Sinclair owns and operates, programs or provides services to

See all Broadcast Technician jobs

What Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians Do[About this section] [To Top]

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electrical equipment for radio programs, television broadcasts, concerts, sound recordings, and movies.

Duties of Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians typically do the following:

  • Operate, monitor, and adjust audio, video, lighting, and broadcast equipment to ensure consistent quality
  • Set up and take down equipment for events and live performances
  • Record speech, music, and other sounds on recording equipment or computers, sometimes using complex software
  • Synchronize sounds and dialogue with action taking place on television or in movie productions
  • Convert video and audio records to digital formats for editing on computers
  • Install audio, video, and lighting equipment in hotels, offices, and schools
  • Report any problems that arise with complex equipment and make routine repairs
  • Keep records of recordings and equipment used

These workers may be called broadcast or sound engineering technicians, operators, or engineers. At smaller radio and television stations, broadcast and sound technicians may do many jobs. At larger stations, they are likely to do more specialized work, although their job assignments may vary from day to day. They set up and operate audio and video equipment, and the kind of equipment they use may depend on the particular type of technician or industry.

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians share many of the same responsibilities, but their duties may vary with their specific area of focus.

Audio and video equipment technicians set up and operate audio and video equipment. They also connect wires and cables and set up and operate sound and mixing boards and related electronic equipment.

Audio and video equipment technicians work with microphones, speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, and recording equipment. The equipment they operate is used for meetings, concerts, sports events, conventions, and news conferences. In addition, they may operate equipment at conferences and at presentations for businesses and universities.

Audio and video equipment technicians may also set up and operate custom lighting systems. They frequently work directly with clients and must provide solutions to problems in a simple, clear manner.

Broadcast technicians set up, operate, and maintain equipment that regulates the signal strength, clarity, and ranges of sounds and colors for radio or television broadcasts. They operate transmitters to broadcast radio or television programs and use computer programs to edit audio and video recordings.

Sound engineering technicians operate computers and equipment that record, synchronize, mix, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects in recording studios, sporting arenas, theater productions, or movie and video productions. They record audio performances or events and may combine tracks that were recorded separately to create a multilayered final product. Sound engineering technicians operate transmitters to broadcast radio or television programs and use computers to program the equipment and edit audio recordings.

The following are examples of types of broadcast and sound engineering technicians:

Recording engineers operate and maintain video- and sound-recording equipment. These engineers work with computers, computer networks, and software to produce special effects for radio, television, or movies.

Sound mixers, or rerecording mixers, produce soundtracks for movies or television programs. They rerecord songs or compositions that already have been commercially released. After filming or recording is complete, these workers often dub the final product by adding or removing sounds.

Field technicians set up and operate portable equipment outside the studio—for example, for television news coverage. Because this coverage requires so much electronic equipment and the technology is changing so rapidly, many technicians are assigned exclusively to news coverage teams.

Chief engineers, transmission engineers, and broadcast field supervisors oversee other technicians and maintain broadcasting equipment.

Work Environment for Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians[About this section] [To Top]

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians hold about 117,200 jobs. The industries that employ the most broadcast and sound engineering technicians are as follows:

Radio and television broadcasting 22%
Motion picture, video, and sound recording industries 15
Arts, entertainment, and recreation 11

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians typically work indoors in radio, television, movie, or recording studios. However, some work outdoors in all types of conditions in order to broadcast news and other programming on location. Audio and video technicians also set up systems in offices, arenas, hotels, schools, government agencies, hospitals, and homes.

Technicians doing maintenance may climb poles or antenna towers; those setting up equipment may do heavy lifting.

About 1 in 10 broadcast and sound engineering technicians are self-employed.

Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technician Work Schedules

Technicians typically work full time. Some may occasionally work overtime to meet broadcast deadlines or set up for live events. Evening, weekend, and holiday work is common because most stations are on the air 24 hours a day.

Technicians who work on motion pictures may be on a tight schedule and may work additional hours to meet contract deadlines with movie studios.

How to Become a Broadcast or Sound Engineering Technician[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians near you!

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians typically need postsecondary education. Depending on the work they do, it could either be a postsecondary nondegree award or an associate’s degree.

Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technician Education

Audio and video equipment technicians, as well as sound engineering technicians, typically need a postsecondary nondegree award or certificate, whereas broadcast technicians typically need an associate’s degree. However, in some cases workers in any of these occupations may need only a high school diploma to be eligible for entry-level positions.

Postsecondary nondegree programs for audio and video equipment technicians and sound engineering technicians may take several months to a year to complete. The programs include hands-on experience with the equipment used in many entry-level positions.

Broadcast technicians typically need an associate’s degree. In addition to courses in math and science, coursework for prospective broadcast technicians should emphasize practical skills such as video editing and production management.

Prospective broadcast and sound engineering technicians should complete high school courses in math, physics, and electronics. They must have excellent computer skills to be successful.

Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technician Training

Because technology is constantly improving, technicians often enroll in continuing education courses and they receive on-the-job training to become skilled in new equipment and hardware. On-the-job training includes topics such as setting up cables or automation systems, testing electrical equipment, learning the codes and standards of the industry, and following safety procedures.

Training for new hires can be accomplished in a variety of ways, depending on the types of products and services the employer provides. Although some apprenticeship programs do exist, more frequently a new technician will accompany a more experienced technician to get the training and skills necessary for advancement.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required by most employers, earning voluntary certification will offer advantages in getting a job as a broadcast or sound engineering technician. Certification tells employers that the technician meets certain industry standards and has kept up to date with new technologies.

For example, the Society of Broadcast Engineers offers eight broadcast engineering certifications, two operator certifications, and two broadcast networking certifications. All of them require passing an exam. Similarly, InfoComm International offers an audiovisual Certified Technology Specialist credential.

Other Experience

Practical experience working in a high school or college audiovisual department also can help prepare someone to be an audio and video equipment technician.

Advancement for Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians

Although many broadcast and sound engineering technicians work first in small markets or at small stations in big markets, after they gain the necessary experience and skills they often transfer to larger, better paying radio or television stations. Few large stations hire someone without previous experience, and they value more specialized skills.

Experienced workers with strong technical skills can become supervisory technicians or chief engineers. To become chief engineer at large television stations, technicians typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering or computer science.

Important Qualities for Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians

Communication skills. Technicians need to communicate with supervisors and coworkers to ensure that clients’ needs are met and that equipment is set up properly before broadcasts, live performances, and presentations.

Computer skills. Technicians use computer systems to program equipment and edit audio and video recordings.

Manual dexterity. Some technicians set up audio and visual equipment and cables, a job that requires a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination. Others adjust small knobs, dials, and sliders during radio and television broadcasts and live performances.

Problem-solving skills. Technicians need to recognize equipment problems and propose possible solutions to them. Employers typically desire applicants with a variety of skills, such as setting up equipment, maintaining the equipment, and troubleshooting and solving any problems that arise.

Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technician Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for broadcast and sound engineering technicians is $41,780. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,940, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,120.

Median annual wages for broadcast and sound engineering technicians are as follows:

Sound engineering technicians $53,330
Audio and video equipment technicians 41,440
Broadcast technicians 37,490

The median annual wages for broadcast and sound engineering technicians in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Motion picture, video, and sound recording industries $50,400
Arts, entertainment, and recreation 42,300
Radio and television broadcasting 35,370

Technicians working in major cities typically earn more than those working in smaller locations.

Technicians usually work full time. Some may occasionally work overtime to meet broadcast deadlines or set up for live events. Evening, weekend, and holiday work is common because most radio and television stations are on the air 24 hours a day.

Technicians who work on motion pictures may be on a tight schedule and may work additional hours to meet contract deadlines with the movie studio.

Job Outlook for Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of broadcast and sound engineering technicians is projected to grow 7 percent through 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Growth is expected to stem from businesses, schools, and radio and television stations seeking new equipment to improve their audio and video capabilities.

Employment of audio and visual equipment technicians is projected to grow 12 percent through 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. More audio and video technicians should be needed to set up new equipment or upgrade and maintain old, complex systems for a variety of organizations.

More companies are increasing their video budgets so they can use video conferencing to reduce travel costs and communicate worldwide with other offices and clients. An increase in the use of digital signs for schools, hospitals, and hotels also will lead to higher demand for audio and video equipment technicians.

In addition, schools and universities are seeking to improve their audio and video capabilities to attract and keep the best students. They are building classrooms with interactive whiteboards and video equipment so teachers can give more interactive multimedia presentations and record their lectures.

Employment of broadcast technicians is projected to decline 6 percent through 2024. More television stations are consolidating the broadcasting duties of multiple local stations into one single site in a term referred to in the industry as “central casting.” This trend may continue to reduce the overall number of broadcast technicians.

Employment of sound engineering technicians is projected to grow 8 percent through 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The television and motion picture industry will continue to need technicians to improve the sound quality of shows and movies. Television and motion picture companies are installing the latest technologies, such as digital or three-dimensional screens, in movie and home theaters and are converting existing theaters to new formats.

Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians Job Prospects

Competition for jobs will be strong. This occupation attracts many applicants who are interested in working with the latest technology and electronic equipment. Many applicants also are attracted to working in the radio and television industry.

Those looking for work in this industry will have the most job opportunities in smaller markets or stations. Those with hands-on experience with complex electronics and software or with work experience at a radio or television station will have the best job prospects. In addition, technicians should be versatile, because they set up, operate, and maintain equipment.

An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in broadcast technology, broadcast production, computer networking, or a related field also will improve job prospects for applicants.

Employment projections data for Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians 117,200 124,900 7 7,700
  Audio and video equipment technicians 70,900 79,400 12 8,400
  Broadcast technicians 30,100 28,200 -6 -2,000
  Sound engineering technicians 16,100 17,400 8 1,200


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

Explore more careers: View all Careers or Browse Careers by Category

Search for jobs: