How to Become an Audio Technician in 5 Steps
Explore the career requirements for an audio technician. Get the facts about training, certification and work experience to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Does an Audio Technician Do?
Audio technicians operate and manage the equipment used in event productions. Before live performances, they set up all the audio recording equipment, test the sound levels, and make sure it is functioning preparing. They also work in studios recording musicians, interviews, and radio programs. They then take the audio files and edit them together to create a finished product. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.
|Degree Required||Certificate; associate's and bachelor's degrees available|
|Education Field of Study||Audio technology; multi-track recording; audio engineering|
|Key Responsibilities||Set up, operate and maintain audio equipment|
|Certification||Optional through the Electronics Technicians Association and/or the Society of Broadcast Engineers|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)||8%* (sound engineering technicians)|
|Average Annual Salary (2015)||$63,340* (sound engineering technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Is an Audio Technician?
As an audio technician, you would install, operate and maintain the equipment and related systems and components used to produce or amplify sound. This includes microphones, recording equipment, sound speakers and mixing systems. You would also be responsible for connecting components, such as cables, that are used to operate the equipment. Your services would be used for a variety of purposes, including sound production for conventions, music concerts and sports events.
Step 1: Get Trained
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that your audio technician training should consist of a formal technical training program (www.bls.gov). Program titles that are consistent with your profession include audio technology, audio production technologies, recording and audio engineering, audio/video technician and related disciplines.
While associate's and bachelor's degree programs are available, they usually are not a requirement for entry-level, audio technician job opportunities. In most instances, diploma or certificate programs offered at vocational/technical/trade schools or community colleges are adequate. Your curriculum for diploma and certificate programs may include targeted coursework in subjects, such as aural perception, multi-track recording, audio engineering and music technology.
Step 2: Consider Certification
Licensure is not required, and certification is voluntary. However, obtaining certification may be beneficial for employment and career advancement. You can get certification through trade associations, such as the Electronics Technicians Association and the Society of Broadcast Engineers, upon passing an examination.
Step 3: Acquire Work Experience
As an audio technician, you can work for a variety of employers, such as motion picture and video companies, colleges and universities, radio and television stations and sound recording service companies. Internships also may be a way to obtain initial experience in the field. According to the BLS, employment for sound engineering technicians (a subset of all broadcast and sound engineering technicians) is projected to increase by 8% between 2014 and 2024.
Step 4: Join a Trade Association
By joining a trade association, you receive membership benefits, such as professional networking outlets and industry updates. The Audio Engineering Society is just one of many associations available for membership. Joining an association may also provide additional job opportunities.
Step 5: Stay Current
Staying current on industry protocols and technologies is vital to your daily work responsibilities. Industry updates and continuing education is available through trade associations, including those that provide certification. Even current software programs may get updates, and you will need to learn new applications.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Individuals who are interested in becoming audio technicians may also want to consider careers in video and film editing. Film and video editors require expert-level editing skills and knowledge of various software programs and electronic equipment. There are also jobs available as electronics engineering technicians, as job that involves designing and testing various electronic products that can be used in a variety of fields.
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