Audio Visual Specialist

Audio-visual (AV) specialists manage an organization's collections of AV equipment, like cameras, recorders, and speakers, and they may teach students how to operate this technology. Read on to learn more about how to enter this career, employment options, and potential earnings. Schools offering Digital Media Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Audio-Visual Specialist?

Audio-visual specialists store and distribute AV equipment that they or their school or company owns to performers and crew, as well as renting or buying new equipment and accessories when necessary. They may assist in settings up and operating some of this equipment to record a variety of different events, adjusting the quality as needed for the best recording. They might also need to make minor repairs and service some of the equipment between use to keep everything in working order. When not using the equipment themselves, they will have to explain what to do to others clearly and concisely. You can learn some additional details about this career below:

Degree Required Bachelor's; master's may be preferred for some positions
Key Responsibilities Operate and manage various filming and video equipment, teach others how to use equipment, manage new equipment purchases
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% (for all audio-visual and multimedia collections specialists)
Median Salary (2015)** $45,890 (for all audio-visual and multimedia collections specialists)

Source: *O*Net Online, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Programs Are Available for Audio-Visual Specialists?

As of February 2017, U.S. schools did not appear to be offering programs directly aimed at training audio-visual specialists, but programs in video production provide the necessary technical education you need for this career. Programs are available at the certificate and associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree level. Courses teach you the fundamentals of how cameras and audio recording devices capture moving images and sound, shot composition and framing as well as lighting and video editing techniques. You also learn film history, scriptwriting, pre-production, and distribution.

What Will I Do During the Workday?

As an AV specialist, you may manage equipment that includes film and video cameras, projectors, tape recorders, digital recorders, speakers, and portable screens. Supporting duties might include setting up, adjusting, and operating equipment to record classes, meetings, events, seminars, or TV shows. You may evaluate and purchase new or used equipment and acquire film, video, and audio collections. You may also supply instruction on equipment use to students, subordinates, or co-workers and help them practice their AV presentations.

Where Could I Work and What Could I Expect to Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 10,170 people in the nation worked as audio-visual specialists as of 2015. Top employers included elementary or secondary schools, colleges or universities, government agencies, and medical facilities. The educational support services industry supplied the highest mean annual wages to AV workers, at $56,620. October 2016 figures from PayScale.com show that most audio-visual specialists earned a range from $30,945 to $115,730.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Broadcast technicians set up and operate equipment used in live radio and television broadcasts, adjusting it as necessary for the clearest sound and picture and ensuring the feed is consistent and without interruptions. These professionals likely need either an associate's degree, certificate, or vocational training to find work, though some receive on the job training.

Audio and video equipment technicians use AV equipment for live performance, film, music, and more, operating different types of recording, lighting, mixing, and editing equipment to achieve different effects and the best version of recorded material possible. Most people employed in this profession hold an associate's degree.

Computer user support specialists troubleshoot problems with computers and computer systems, answering IT questions for clients in the same way AV specialists instruct others on how to operate recording equipment. Most of these professionals hold a bachelor's degree, though many are hired with less than that.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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