Broadcast Technician Job Facts
Broadcast technicians work behind the scenes at television or radio stations to repair and operate the equipment that makes broadcasts possible. Find out about the typical duties of a broadcast technician, as well as education and certification options and salary data.
What is a Broadcast Technician?
Broadcast technicians install and maintain the electrical equipment used in the broadcasting industry. This may involve monitoring equipment when it's in use to detect problems, fixing problems when they arise and making repairs. In some cases, you may be responsible for setting up and calibrating recording and broadcasting equipment for events. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.
|Degree Required||Associate's or bachelor's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Broadcast technology, electronic engineering technology, radio and television technology, electronics and electronic engineering|
|Key Responsibilities||Test, operate and repair broadcasting equipment|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)*||1% growth|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$40,080|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Does a Broadcast Technician Do?
You job as a broadcast technician involves installing, testing and operating the equipment used in television and radio broadcasts. Basic maintenance of this equipment may also be part of your responsibilities. The electronic equipment you'll oversee includes machines that govern signal strength, color, volume and picture clarity. You may also control switching between cameras or studios, as well as cuts between live and pre-recorded content.
In many cases, broadcast technicians work indoors in a control room, where you'll be surrounded by computers and engineering equipment. Depending upon your job, you may be required to work on remote broadcasts, where you could work out of a van, trailer or at an outdoor set-up. In some cases, you may be required to perform strenuous and dangerous work, such as repairing antennas that require significant climbing to reach.
What Salary Might I Earn?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, broadcast technicians earned a mean annual wage of $46,770 in May 2018 (www.bls.gov). Those working in the District of Columbia had the highest average pay, with a mean annual wage of $81,150. New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Colorado were the only other states with a mean annual salary above $50,000.
What Types of Degree Programs are Available?
In order to find work as a broadcast technician, you must develop a strong knowledge of electronics and broadcasting equipment. You can prepare for this field by earning one of several different associate's degree programs. These include programs in broadcast technology and electronic engineering technology. These programs often incorporate theoretical, lecture-based coursework with hands-on training, where you get first-hand experience with the equipment you might use in your career.
In more competitive environments, a bachelor's degree may be required. Many schools offer radio and television-focused technology programs; while pursuing one of these degrees, you'll study both the technical and creative aspects of mass media production. Alternatively, you can pursue a more general electronics degree, such as a bachelor's degree in electronics engineering. This field includes a wide range of technological study, including microprocessors and computer software.
What Certification Can I Earn?
You won't need certification to work as a broadcast technician. However, the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) offers the industry's most widely recognized voluntary certification, which is often helpful in obtaining a job or seeking advancement (www.sbe.org). SBE has several types and levels of possible certification, including the Certified Broadcast Television Engineer, Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer and Certified Senior Television Engineer. All certifications require industry experience and the successful completion of a proficiency examination. The exams include questions on broadcast technology theories, safety practices and problem-solving.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Computer support specialists are another group of professionals that help solve tech issues. These professionals specialize in helping computer users troubleshoot problems and operate computer software. Computer support specialists often have a bachelor's degree, though it is not always required.
Electrical and electronics engineering technicians work with electrical engineers and play a role in developing communications equipment. They typically have an associate's degree. Meanwhile, electronics installers and repairers are tasked with installing and repairing electrical equipment, which may include telecommunications equipment. They may get by with a postsecondary certificate.