Broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators maintain electrical equipment. Broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators monitor signals and transmitters. They repair electronic equipment. They regulate contrast and volume of television broadcasts. There are four types:
- Broadcast engineer technician
- Sound engineer technician
- Audio and video equipment technician
- Radio operators
Broadcast technicians operate equipment that manages sound and color. They select the source of material used on television broadcasts by managing the control panel. Sound engineering technicians record sound effects. Audio and video equipment technicians maintain audio equipment such as speakers. They also maintain video equipment such as video screens. They manage mixing boards and electrical equipment used for sporting events, conventions, and conferences. They design lighting. They install and upgrade equipment for large institutions. Radio operators repair electronic equipment using testing tools. All broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators work in television, broadcast, and radio production. The field of broadcast and sound engineering and radio operators is growing. It is expected to grow by eight percent by 2018, with a high demand for audio and video technicians.
Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians and Radio Operators Job Responsibilities
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators typically work a forty-hour work week. They may work overtime to include twenty-four hour days. They are expected to work holidays. Technicians may work at a small station or at a large broadcasting station, indoors and outdoors. They are expected to lift heavy equipment and may perform maintenance on antenna towers. Technicians may work on a film set. They are always on-call.
Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians and Radio Operators Training and Education Requirements
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators learn through on-the-job training tasks. They are not required to have a formal four-year degree. Audio and video equipment technicians complete technical training. They typically have an associate’s degree in the field or they may enter the industry with a bachelor’s degree. However, a bachelor’s degree is not required. Participation in high school and college clubs may substitute for a lack of full-time experience.
Broadcast technicians are expected to have some form of education beyond high school. Enrollment in an associate’s program of study such as electronics or broadcast technology is recommended. Most employers require a degree beyond the associate’s level. To stay competitive, most job applicants who want to enter the industry need a four-year degree. Sound engineering technicians typically enroll in a one-year vocational program. Courses in math, electronics, and computers are required.
To continue their education, broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators should enroll in technology coursework and learn how to record, edit, and broadcast on computers. All technicians must have a work aptitude that prepares them for challenging tasks associated with operating and maintaining electrical and mechanical equipment.
Salary and Wages
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators can receive higher salaries working in radio stations and broadcasting than in non-commercial industries. The median annual wage for audio and video equipment technicians in May 2008 was $38,050, with the lowest ten percent earning less than $21,500. The highest an audio and video equipment technician made in the same year was $66,550. The median annual wage for broadcast technicians in May 2008 was $32,990, the highest earning the same as audio and video equipment technicians. The median annual wage for radio and television broadcasting technicians in May 2008 was $29,220; for sound engineering technicians in May 2008 was $47,490; and for radio operators in May 2008 was $37,120. Of the technicians, the highest ten percent of sound engineering technicians earned $92,700. This is significantly higher than the audio and video equipment technicians.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians and Radio Operators Certifications
Broadcast technicians are not required to have a license, but they may seek a certification from the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE). Before they can become certified, they must pass an examination.
Sound engineering technicians and radio operators are also not required to have a license, but they can enroll in coursework for professional advancement. They can become a supervisor or a chief engineer. To become a chief engineer and work at a television station, a technician must have a four-year degree. A typical major is engineering.
Technicians can choose to become certified through InfoComm and receive two types of credentials: 1) AV Specialist and 2) Certified Technology Specialist. For example, they can achieve certification in audiovisual (AV) by completing a program to receive the Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) with an emphasis in audiovisual. With this credential, technicians are considered an AV specialist. Technicians may also receive the general Certified Technology Specialist credential that includes coursework in audiovisual.
Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians and Radio Operators Professional Associations
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators may join the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). The NAB is a trade association. It serves the broadcasting community. It contributes to the improvement of quality broadcasting. It encourages innovation in technology to bring quality services. It advocates on behalf of its members with the federal government. It provides educational materials to the general public. It fosters community growth. It promotes diversity. Technicians may apply to be a regular, senior, or associate member; and they may reinstate their memberships. Member benefits include career services through the online jobs list or the organization’s resume bank; member discounts in the form of books on engineering and technician coursework, car rentals, and conference registration discounts; engineering consulting and contract services; and insurance in the forms of life, homeowner, and car.
Technicians may also join InfoComm. Membership benefits include programs to help with collecting debts; partnership programs to offer discounts for shipping and freight costs, car rental, office supplies, and commercial insurance; and programs to help with education and curriculum costs. InfoComm also offers an online store for its members.