Sound Engineering Technicians
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Assemble and operate equipment to record, synchronize, mix, edit, or reproduce sound, including music, voices, or sound effects, for theater, video, film, television, podcasts, sporting events, and other productions.
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Titles for this career often contain these words
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Responsibilities and activities

Broadcast, sound, and video technicians typically do the following:

  • Operate, monitor, and adjust audio, video, sound, 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. 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. At smaller radio and television stations, broadcast, sound, and video technicians may have more responsibilities. At larger stations, they may do more specialized work, although their job assignments may vary from day to day.

Broadcast, sound, and video technicians share many responsibilities, but their duties may vary with their specific area of focus. The following are examples of types of broadcast, sound, and video technicians:

Audio and video technicians, also known as audio-visual technicians, set up, maintain, and dismantle 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 technicians work with microphones, speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, and recording equipment. The equipment they operate is used for live or recorded events such as meetings, concerts, sporting events, podcasts, and news conferences.

Broadcast technicians, also known as broadcast engineers, 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, either in studios or on location in the field, to broadcast radio or television programs. Broadcast technicians also use computer programs to edit audio and video recordings.

Lighting technicians set up, maintain, and dismantle light fixtures, lighting controls, and associated electrical and rigging equipment used for photography, television, film, video, and live productions. They also may focus or operate light fixtures and attach color filters or other lighting accessories.

Sound engineering technicians, also known as audio engineers or sound mixers, assemble and operate sound equipment. They use this equipment to record, synchronize, mix, edit, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects for theater, video, film, television, podcasts, sporting events, and other productions.  

Median salary: $53,520 annually
Half of those employed in this career earn between $35,460 and $77,410.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for this career compare to other jobs' salaries?
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Salary growth for broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians
Is this job likely to reward you for sticking with it through pay raises and promotions? The higher a job’s “experience quotient,” the more you are likely to get as you stay there.
Experience quotient percentile
Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?
Salary distribution
Number employed
About Sound Engineering Technicians
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs? The availability of health care, especially employer provided health care, and pension plans can add significantly to the value of compensation you receive in a career. These charts compare how this career compares to other careers with regard to health care and pension plans.
Employee has health insurance
Employer is providing health insurance
Employer-provided pension plan is available
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of sound engineering technicians who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (85%)
  • High Conflict Frequency (48%)
  • Consequence of Error (34%)
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Personality and skills
Can you see yourself in the ranks of Sound Engineering Technicians? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.
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 video 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.
Education pathways to this career
Education attained by sound engineering technicians
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sound engineering technicians typically hold a postsecondary nondegree award.
Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.
Details: Education and training recommended for sound engineering technicians

Educational requirements for audio and video, lighting, and sound engineering technicians vary from a high school diploma to a college degree, depending on the position. Broadcast technicians typically need an associate’s degree.

Prospective broadcast, sound, and video technicians should complete high school classes in math, physics, and electronics. Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have skills related to audio and video equipment and related technologies.

Postsecondary programs for audio and video, lighting, and sound engineering technicians may take several months to years to complete. These programs, which may lead to either a nondegree award or a college degree, often provide 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.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for sound engineering technicians

Although it is not required by most employers, voluntary certification may 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.

The Society of Broadcast Engineers offers operator level, engineering level, broadcast networking, and specialist certifications. Most of these certifications require passing an exam.

The Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association offers the general Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) credential as well as the design CTS and installation CTS. All three credentials require passing an exam and are valid for 3 years.

Education level of Broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians
Only 37% of broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
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Programs recommended by the Department of Education
The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click a program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.
Number of degrees awarded in 2018
Education level of awarded degrees
Gender of graduates
Race/origin of graduates
Where are the jobs
State-by-state employment numbers
Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.
Select a state to see local area details
Number of Broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians per 1,000 workers (ACS)
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Job density versus job count
Which states hire the most sound engineering technicians? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as sound engineering technicians. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where sound engineering technicians earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio
We use two methods to compare salaries across states:
  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians.
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this figure might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Location-adjusted median salary for Broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians (ACS for all specialties)
21% of Broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians are working part time.
We’ve found that some jobs have a huge number of part-time workers, and typically that is because they are unable to find full-time work or the job itself can’t provide full-time hours. With 21% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 69% of careers.
Employer types
This donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire for this career.
Employers of undefined (ACS)
Private for-profit
Private not-for-profit
Local government
State government
Federal government
Self-employed incorporated
Self-employed not incorporated
Working without pay
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Distribution: Salaries of broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians by type of employer
Here are the salary distributions based on employer type.
$52K$57K$42K$55K$41K$50K$32K$47K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians and gender
With 8% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 83% of careers.
Gender of Broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians
Men (93%)
Women (8%)
Distribution: salaries by gender
Does gender greatly influence your salary in this career? The closer the bars are, the less discrepancy there is.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.
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Context: Women in the workforce
How does this career compare to other careers with regard to the percentage of women in the career.
Context: Salary inequity
The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians, with the median salary for men 10% higher than the median salary for women.
Race and origin of Broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians
This donut shows the distribution of race and origin among those employed as Broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians.
Race/origin of broadcast, sound, and lighting technicians
White (79% )
Black (10% )
Other (4% )
Asian (4% )
Multiracial (3% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Distribution: salaries by race/origin
Some careers might have a pay disparity based on race or origin, the closer the below bars are the less of a discrepancy is present.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.