What Does a Radio Engineer Do?

Radio engineers are responsible for repairing and maintaining a variety of equipment. Continue reading to learn about the basic responsibilities of a radio engineer, and how to acquire the skills and education required by the job. Schools offering Electronics & Communications Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Duties

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), radio engineers may sometimes be referred to as broadcast technicians, radio operators, or broadcast engineers; these titles often refer to jobs with a similar set of duties. Your job as a radio engineer may include maintaining and operating the electronics and broadcasting equipment that keeps radio stations on the air.

You might monitor or fix cables, wire electronic equipment located inside the station, design the layout of equipment, log readings from external radio transmitters, and ensure clear transmission between antennae and broadcast towers. Your specialized knowledge is also needed to ensure that the station is in compliance with federal and local regulations of radio frequency interference.

Important Facts About Radio Engineers

Median Salary (2014) $36,560 ('for broadcast technicians')
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 9% growth
Continuing Education Specializations and professional credentials available
Similar Occupations Film and video editors, camera operators, computer support specialists, electrical and electronics engineering technicians, electrical and electronics installers and repairers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Skills Required

You will be working with high tech equipment and much of your job will require skills in information technology, computers, and electronics. You might also be required to climb into tight spaces or up to great heights to make repairs on radio equipment. Employers also appreciate excellent communication skills; your job may include reporting problems to supervisors, listening, and responding to broadcasts from remote workers and upkeep of station logs.

Education

While it may be possible to learn the skills you need on the job, employers may prefer to hire you if you have some formal education. Many colleges and technical schools offer associate's degree programs in broadcast technology that will provide an overview of audio engineering and practical skills in electronics repair.

While enrolled, you may study subjects including sound production, broadcast engineering, and computer broadcasting technology. You'll also have the opportunity to practice your skills in the studio using real equipment.

Certification

If you're interested in advancing your career, you might wish to pursue optional certification through the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE). This professional organization offers certification at several levels, including the Certified Radio Operator, Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist, and Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer.

Depending on your desired level of certification and area of expertise, you may have to complete a number of years of professional experience or formal education in order to qualify. In general, exams take a few hours to complete and consist of 50 multiple-choice questions (www.sbe.org).

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