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Become A Light Technician

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Working As A Light Technician

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $41,440

    Average Salary

What Does A Light Technician 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 Light Technician

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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Light Technician jobs

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Light Technician Career Paths

Light Technician
Crew Chief Flight Engineer Pilot
Assistant Director Of Operations
5 Yearsyrs
Audio Technician Technical Director Chief Engineer
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Lighting Designer Technical Director Audio Visual Technician
Audio/Visual Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Technical Director Senior Project Manager Chief Executive Officer
Board Member
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Engineering Technician Engineer
Chief Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Director Chief Technology Officer Chief Information Officer
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
AV Technician Lead Technician Senior Manager
Communications Director
7 Yearsyrs
Electronics Technician Maintenance Technician Property Manager
Communications Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Driver Instructor Assistant Director
Director
8 Yearsyrs
Electronics Technician Instructor Program Director
Executive Director
10 Yearsyrs
AV Technician Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Facilities Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Lighting Designer Master Electrician Maintenance Supervisor
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Audio Visual Technician Field Service Technician Operations Manager
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Audio Visual Technician Project Manager Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Operations Manager Assistant Director
Owner/Director
7 Yearsyrs
Service Technician General Manager Owner
Owner/Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Driver Operation Supervisor Production Manager
Production Director
5 Yearsyrs
Technician Project Manager Program Manager
Program Director
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Lead Technician Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Maintenance Manager Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Light Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

84.1%

Female

14.8%

Unknown

1.1%
Ethnicity

White

79.3%

Hispanic or Latino

12.2%

Asian

6.1%

Unknown

1.9%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.6%

French

9.9%

Italian

4.9%

Mandarin

3.7%

Japanese

3.7%

Swedish

2.5%

Russian

2.5%

Portuguese

2.5%

Chinese

2.5%

German

2.5%

Polish

2.5%

Arabic

2.5%

Icelandic

1.2%

Romanian

1.2%

Gujarati

1.2%

Hindi

1.2%

Hungarian

1.2%

Tahitian

1.2%

Hebrew

1.2%

Carrier

1.2%
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Light Technician Education

Schools

Full Sail University

21.9%

University of Phoenix

8.2%

Santa Monica College

5.5%

Ball State University

4.8%

Middle Tennessee State University

4.1%

Illinois State University

4.1%

Savannah College of Art and Design

4.1%

Columbia College Chicago

4.1%

University of Central Florida

4.1%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

4.1%

University of Nevada - Reno

4.1%

Ohio University -

3.4%

Valencia College

3.4%

Montgomery College

3.4%

San Francisco State University

3.4%

University of Illinois University Administration

3.4%

California State University - Northridge

3.4%

Florida State University

3.4%

Montgomery County Community College

3.4%

Suffolk County Community College

3.4%
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Majors

Photography

16.3%

Theatre

10.6%

Business

10.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

8.3%

Communication

6.8%

Electrical Engineering

5.2%

Music

4.7%

Fine Arts

4.2%

Computer Science

3.9%

Automotive Technology

3.8%

Graphic Design

3.5%

General Studies

3.2%

Engineering

2.9%

Information Technology

2.6%

Psychology

2.5%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

2.5%

Criminal Justice

2.3%

Digital Media

2.3%

Drafting And Design

2.2%

Entertainment Business

2.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.9%

Other

34.6%

Associate

14.0%

Masters

5.9%

Certificate

4.7%

Diploma

1.7%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.5%
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Top Skills for A Light Technician

AudioEquipmentVideoEquipmentTechSet-UpLightFixturesCustomerServiceBucketTruckEmergencySoundEquipmentPropsSpecialEventsLightBoardOperatorCorporateEventsDJSoundBoardHandToolsScissorLiftsRetroElectricalEquipmentSoundSystems

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Top Light Technician Skills

  1. Audio Equipment
  2. Video Equipment
  3. Tech
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Promoted and sold professional audio equipment on eBay; developed and maintained a database of clientele.
  • Designed layout of audio and video equipment for the banquet area and the auditorium.
  • Plan work procedures, using charts, technical manuals, and experience.
  • Performed set-up and operation of lighting equipment for small to medium sized musical venues.
  • Replaced ballasts, pulled wire, removed old light fixtures, installed exit signs, and replaced wall switches and sensors.

Top Light Technician Employers

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