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Become A Broadcast Engineer

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Working As A Broadcast Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • $78,424

    Average Salary

What Does A Broadcast Engineer Do

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

Duties

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.

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How To Become A Broadcast Engineer

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.  

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.

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

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

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.

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Broadcast Engineer Career Paths

Broadcast Engineer
Maintenance Technician Production Manager Creative Director
Creative Services Director
7 Yearsyrs
Video Engineer Engineer Design Engineer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Chief Engineer Engineering Director Operations Director
Director, Technical Operations
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Senior Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Electronics Technician Technician Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Audio Visual Technician Lead Technician Field Engineer
Field Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Chief Engineer Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor Production Manager
Production Director
5 Yearsyrs
Electronics Technician Field Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Assistant Director Producer
Senior Producer
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Chief Engineer Chief Engineer Program Manager
Technical Director
7 Yearsyrs
Audio Visual Technician Field Service Technician Lead Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Project Manager Technical Manager
Technical Operations Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Chief Engineer Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
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Broadcast Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

87.6%

Female

11.2%

Unknown

1.2%
Ethnicity

White

62.3%

Hispanic or Latino

14.2%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

5.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

60.0%

Portuguese

10.0%

Carrier

6.7%

German

3.3%

Romanian

3.3%

French

3.3%

Hindi

3.3%

Russian

3.3%

Arabic

3.3%

Italian

3.3%
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Broadcast Engineer Education

Schools

Full Sail University

11.0%

University of Phoenix

9.9%

Community College of the Air Force

8.8%

Eastern Michigan University

6.6%

University of Missouri - Columbia

5.5%

Ithaca College

4.4%

New York University

4.4%

University of Central Missouri

4.4%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.4%

Columbia College Chicago

4.4%

Howard University

4.4%

University of Illinois at Springfield

4.4%

University of Arizona

4.4%

University of Southern Maine

3.3%

Appalachian State University

3.3%

University of South Florida

3.3%

Mitchell Technical Institute

3.3%

Siena Heights University

3.3%

University of Kansas

3.3%

Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences

3.3%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

24.3%

Communication

11.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

9.3%

Photography

7.8%

Journalism

6.1%

Business

5.3%

Digital Media

4.6%

Computer Science

4.4%

Engineering

4.4%

Computer Networking

3.6%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

2.7%

Music

2.5%

Information Technology

2.3%

Computer Information Systems

2.3%

Liberal Arts

1.7%

Entertainment Business

1.5%

Education

1.5%

Graphic Design

1.5%

Industrial Technology

1.3%

Mechanical Engineering

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.6%

Other

26.4%

Associate

17.0%

Masters

8.8%

Certificate

4.3%

Diploma

2.1%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.3%
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Real Broadcast Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Staff Engineer 3, Broadcast ENG Directv LLC El Segundo, CA Apr 24, 2015 $101,756 -
$170,000
Staff Engineer 3, Broadcast Engineer Directv LLC El Segundo, CA Sep 30, 2016 $101,010
Senior Broadcast Engineer Globecomm Systems, Inc. Hauppauge, NY Aug 08, 2014 $100,635
Senior Broadcast Engineer Globecomm Systems, Inc. Hauppauge, NY Sep 08, 2011 $97,219
Senior Broadcast Engineer Globecomm Systems, Inc. Hauppauge, NY Sep 09, 2011 $97,219
Staff ENG 3, Broadcast ENG Directv LLC El Segundo, CA Nov 08, 2014 $90,012
Staff Engineer 3, Broadcast Engineering Directv, Inc. El Segundo, CA Nov 07, 2011 $90,012
Broadcast Engineer SVP, Inc. CA Dec 21, 2009 $90,000
Staff ENG 3, Broadcast Engineer Directv LLC El Segundo, CA Oct 25, 2014 $84,799 -
$118,343
Chief Broadcast Engineer WTVZ, Inc. Norfolk, VA Oct 15, 2014 $80,000
Broadcast Engineer Bloomberg, LP New York, NY Jan 08, 2016 $77,500
Chief Broadcast Engineer WTVZ, Inc. Norfolk, VA Nov 08, 2013 $76,440 -
$80,000
Chief Broadcast Engineer WTVZ, Inc. Norfolk, VA Jun 30, 2015 $74,897 -
$80,000
Engineer, Broadcast Dolby Laboratories, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 10, 2014 $73,923 -
$114,399
Broadcast Engineer WTVZ, Inc. Norfolk, VA Nov 30, 2014 $73,791 -
$75,000
Chief Broadcast Engineer WTVZ, Inc. Norfolk, VA Dec 19, 2011 $72,700 -
$90,000
Chief Broadcast Engineer WTVZ, Inc. Norfolk, VA Jul 05, 2011 $72,700 -
$85,000
Broadcast Engineer KSWB LLC San Diego, CA Jan 01, 2016 $67,817
Broadcast Engineer KSWB-TV Fox 5, A Division of Tribune Television Company San Diego, CA Jan 01, 2016 $67,817
Broadcast Engineer KSWB LLC San Diego, CA Dec 31, 2016 $67,817
Broadcast Engineer ORAD, Inc. Jersey City, NJ Oct 01, 2012 $67,500
Broadcast Engineer Consultant BEI Electronics LLC DBA Broadcast Electronics Quincy, IL Jan 10, 2016 $62,500
Broadcast Engineer Consultant BEI Electronics LLC Quincy, IL Oct 01, 2013 $62,500
Broadcast Engineer Consultant BEI Electronics LLC Quincy, IL Oct 01, 2010 $62,500
Broadcast Engineer III Nbcuniversal Media, LLC Los Angeles, CA Dec 21, 2013 $62,171 -
$90,504

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Top Skills for A Broadcast Engineer

  1. Video
  2. Audio
  3. Live Broadcasts
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Perform maintenance and electronic repairs of cameras system video switcher and computer equipment located within the Digital broadcast facility.
  • Operated manual and robotic cameras, audio engineering and studio/location management for newscasts and WFSB productions.
  • Help facilitate and understand the needs of the clients, and competence in dealing with live broadcasts.
  • Operated audio console, master control, tape decks, television, and studio cameras.
  • Master Control Operator responsible for maintaining quality control with on-air programming channels.

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Top 10 Best States for Broadcast Engineers

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Maryland
  3. New York
  4. Colorado
  5. Washington
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Louisiana
  8. New Jersey
  9. Georgia
  10. Wyoming
  • (163 jobs)
  • (293 jobs)
  • (524 jobs)
  • (229 jobs)
  • (336 jobs)
  • (106 jobs)
  • (63 jobs)
  • (220 jobs)
  • (272 jobs)
  • (16 jobs)

Top Broadcast Engineer Employers

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