Audio Technician: Job Duties, Employment Outlook, and Educational Requirements
Research what it takes to become an audio technician. Learn about the job duties, education programs, job outlook and salary information to find out if this is the career for you.
What Is an Audio Technician?
Sound management is important to musical groups, singers and recording studios. Audio technicians are vital to making sure the sound is right and the equipment in working order.
Audio technicians set up sound equipment in studios, concerts and other locations requiring sound systems. The table below provides some basic information for this career:
|Education Required||No formal educational requirements; certificate and associate's degree programs are available|
|Training Required||Hands-on experience with audio equipment|
|Key Responsibilities||Position & configure audio equipment, choose digital audio file formats for a recording, maintain session logs|
|Job Growth (2018-28)||12%* (for audio & video technicians)|
|Median Salary (2018)||$43,770* (for audio & video technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Does an Audio Technician Do?
Your primary responsibility will be to ensure that audio equipment is positioned and configured to capture optimal quality sound at live events and in recording studios. Duties include setting up microphones and speaking monitors, running audio cable, connecting mics to the mixing board, conducting sound checks, adjusting mic position and resolving miscellaneous technical problems. You might also monitor and adjust the sound mix, choose digital audio file formats for a recording and maintain session logs. Duties not directly related to sound recording may include notifying your superiors about damaged equipment, repairing equipment, installing equipment upgrades, and training other technicians in equipment use and maintenance.
Where Could I Work?
Your leading employment prospects will be with movie studios, video production companies, equipment rental and leasing companies, radio and TV stations, hotels, and colleges and universities. As of May 2018, approximately 75,940 people held jobs as audio and video technicians. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment will rise to 104,000 by 2028 (www.bls.gov). The need for audio systems in new and existing buildings, particularly schools, will drive demand for your services. In addition, more companies are expected to establish in-house audio and video departments requiring technical staff. Audio and video technicians earned a median salary of $43,770 as of May 2018.
What Education Will I Need?
Employers have no fixed educational requirements for audio technicians. According to O*Net Online, about 25% have a high school diploma or GED, around 43% have a bachelor's degree and about 20% have a postsecondary certificate (www.onetonline.org). If you intend to enter the field with only a diploma, take high school courses in computers, electronics, physics and math. You should also consider taking part in whatever relevant extracurricular activities your school offers, such as the school radio station.
If you choose to attend college, audio-related certificate and associate's degree programs such as audio production, audio recording or music recording can help you acquire the necessary technical skills. Programs cover topics in sound physics, equipment setup and maintenance, recording techniques, and computer applications for audio editing and processing. You will have many opportunities to gain hands-on experience with audio equipment. Certificates are typically earned in a year or less and associate's degrees in two years.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Most of the related professions may have something else to do with audio or video editing or as a camera operator. Jobs in electrical engineering or electrical installers and repairers are also a choice. Most audio work today is done with computer support so there are positions as support specialist out there as well. Most of these jobs will require at least a high school diploma while others, like editing jobs, may require an associate's or bachelor's degree.