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Education Requirements

A student learns how to use an audio mixing desk.

Audio and video equipment technicians should complete a technical training program related to the field, which may take several months to a year to complete. Many recent entrants to the field have also received an associate degree or bachelor’s degree, although it is generally not required for entry-level positions. In addition to coursework, experience in high school or college audiovisual clubs can provide a student with good training for this occupation. Working as an assistant is a useful way to gain experience and knowledge for an entry-level employee.

For broadcast technicians an associate degree in broadcast technology, electronics, computer networking, or a related field is generally recommended. Because of the competitiveness of the broadcast industry, many jobs require a bachelor’s degree. A four-year degree also gives employees much better prospects for advancement in the field.

Most entry-level employees find jobs in small markets or with small stations in big markets and can transfer to larger, better paying stations after gaining experience and learning the necessary skills. Small stations usually value more general skills since they have fewer employees doing less specialized work. Large stations almost never hire someone without previous experience, and they value more specialized skills. Working at a college radio or television station can be very advantageous for prospective employees.

Students enjoy each others' company during a shift at the college radio station.

Sound engineering technicians usually complete a vocational program, which can take about a year, although there are shorter programs. Prospective technicians should take high school courses in math, physics, and electronics. Technicians need to have excellent computer training to be successful in this field.

Radio operators are not usually required to complete any formal training. This is an entry-level position that generally requires on-the-job training.

In the motion picture industry, people are hired as apprentice editorial assistants and work their way up to jobs requiring higher level skills. Employers in the motion picture industry usually hire experienced freelance technicians on a picture-by-picture basis. Reputation and perseverance are important in getting jobs.

Continuing education to become familiar with emerging technologies is recommended for all broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators.

Other Qualifications

A student uses a sound mixing board.

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators need skills in information technology and electronics since most recording, editing, and broadcasting are done on computers. Prospective technicians must have manual dexterity and an aptitude for working with electrical, electronic, and mechanical systems and equipment.

Certification and Advancement

Licensing is not required for broadcast technicians. However, certification by the Society of Broadcast Engineers is issued to experienced technicians who pass an examination, and the certification may help with advancement. Experienced technicians can become supervisory technicians or chief engineers. A college degree in engineering is needed to become chief engineer at large television stations.

How To Apply:
Santa Barbara City College