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What is a Lighting Engineer

Lighting engineers work in the entertainment industry, contributing to creating the visuals for theatre, television, or film performances by lighting the scenes. They create lighting effects to change the mood of the set by operating lighting boards.

You will be an important member of the crew, responsible not only for controlling lights, but hanging and rigging them as well, moving them to the appropriate position. You will select the right temperature and intensity of the light necessary to create the desired effects. You will have to know how to apply shades and covers to spread or direct light in any way the director wishes. Your creative input will be necessary as well, and you will be there to give advice on best practices and solutions.

People in this profession typically learn their craft working the job. Working as an apprentice in a theatre or a local arena is a great way to start. Passion is the most important asset you can have here on a personal level, as is often the case with careers of a creative nature. Once you find your way into the industry, you will be able to make $84,000 on average per year.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a Lighting Engineer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $42.59 an hour? That's $88,584 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 2% and produce 8,000 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Lighting Engineer Do

There are certain skills that many Lighting Engineers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed Initiative, Speaking skills and Writing skills.

Learn more about what a Lighting Engineer does

How To Become a Lighting Engineer

If you're interested in becoming a Lighting Engineer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 60.0% of Lighting Engineers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 5.4% of Lighting Engineers have master's degrees. Even though most Lighting Engineers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a Lighting Engineer. When we researched the most common majors for a Lighting Engineer, we found that they most commonly earn Bachelor's Degree degrees or Associate Degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on Lighting Engineer resumes include High School Diploma degrees or Master's Degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a Lighting Engineer. In fact, many Lighting Engineer jobs require experience in a role such as Audio Engineer. Meanwhile, many Lighting Engineers also have previous career experience in roles such as Internship or Sound Engineer.

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Chevron Jobs (1)
  2. Berklee College of Music Jobs (2)
  3. Tesla Jobs (3)
  4. Sound Jobs (5)
  5. AT&T Jobs (2)
Average Salary
$88,584
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
2%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
35,994
Job Openings
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Lighting Engineer Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Lighting Engineer

Lighting Engineers in America make an average salary of $88,584 per year or $43 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $130,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $60,000 per year.
Average Salary
$88,584
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How much should you be earning as an Lighting Engineer? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.
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Choose From 10+ Customizable Lighting Engineer Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Lighting Engineer templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Lighting Engineer resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

Lighting Engineer Resume
Lighting Engineer Resume
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Lighting Engineer Resume

Lighting Engineer Demographics

Lighting Engineer Gender Distribution

Male
Male
94%
Female
Female
7%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among Lighting Engineers, 6.5% of them are women, while 93.5% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among Lighting Engineers is White, which makes up 68.5% of all Lighting Engineers.

  • The most common foreign language among Lighting Engineers is Spanish at 37.5%.

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Lighting Engineer Education

Lighting Engineer Majors

11.4 %

Lighting Engineer Degrees

Bachelors

60.0 %

Associate

20.0 %

High School Diploma

9.3 %

Top Colleges for Lighting Engineers

1. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

2. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,832
Enrollment
4,550

4. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

5. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

6. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

7. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Pomona, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,353
Enrollment
24,841

8. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tallahassee, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,785
Enrollment
7,711

9. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

10. Texas A&M University

College Station, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,870
Enrollment
53,194
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Online Courses For Lighting Engineer That You May Like

Cinematic Lighting
udemy
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Top Skills For a Lighting Engineer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 24.3% of Lighting Engineers listed A/V on their resume, but soft skills such as Initiative and Speaking skills are important as well.

Best States For a Lighting Engineer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Lighting Engineer. The best states for people in this position are Washington, California, Vermont, and Alaska. Lighting Engineers make the most in Washington with an average salary of $105,267. Whereas in California and Vermont, they would average $100,784 and $99,047, respectively. While Lighting Engineers would only make an average of $97,265 in Alaska, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Lighting Engineer Jobs:
658
Highest 10% Earn:
$150,000
Location Quotient:
1.38
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Vermont

Total Lighting Engineer Jobs:
48
Highest 10% Earn:
$141,000
Location Quotient:
0.96
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Massachusetts

Total Lighting Engineer Jobs:
856
Highest 10% Earn:
$140,000
Location Quotient:
1.43
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Lighting Engineers

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Top Lighting Engineer Employers

Most Common Employers For Lighting Engineer

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Lighting Engineer SalaryAverage Salary
1$136,863
2$107,065
3$104,054
4$100,616
5$100,605
6$97,636