Recording Arts Technician: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a recording arts technician. Learn about the education requirements, salary potential and job duties to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Music Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Recording Arts Technician?

Recording arts technicians, also known as sound engineering technicians, are trained to work with mixing boards and a variety of other recording equipment. They need to know how this equipment operates, be able to hook it up correctly, be capable of identifying problems with the equipment and be able to correct those problems. They may even perform small repairs on equipment, and are responsible for ensuring it's maintained properly. They record things such as voices, music and sound effects. They may mix these recordings or replay them and combine different recordings. Some of the places they may work include sporting arenas, concert venues, studios and movie production sets. As of 2015, the BLS reported that the industries that employed the highest number of sound engineering technicians were the motion picture and video industry, sound recording industry and the radio and television broadcasting industry.

Degree Required Not always required; Certificate and associate's degree programs available
Education Field of Study Recording arts technology, sound engineering
Key Skills Keen ear, work well under pressure, computer skills
Certification Optional certifications available
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% for all sound engineering technicians*
Median Salary (2015) $53,330 for all sound engineering technicians*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Recording Arts Technicians

As a recording arts technician, you'll most likely work in a recording studio. This hands-on, technical career requires you to work with mixing boards, computer-based audio manipulation tools and forms of analog and digital recording equipment. You may work on recording for a variety of media, including music, television, film, Internet and commercial audio production.

You'll need to possess a keen ear as a recording arts technician. Additionally, many branches of recording arts, such as live television and films on tight schedules, will require you to work well under pressure.

Salary Potential

Your salary will vary based on your area of specialization. Sound engineering technicians earned a median annual salary of $53,330 in May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Audio equipment technicians, who perform more set-up work than sound engineering technicians do, earned slightly less, with a median annual salary of $41,440 in May 2015.

Education and Training Requirements

Not all employers require recording arts technicians to have formal education. You can often learn about recording arts technology through experience. However, many training programs exist, most often leading to certificates or associate's degrees, which introduce you to the recording technology used for music and other forms of audio production. Most programs include hands-on training in a recording studio or laboratory, as well as internship opportunities to further prepare you for your career.

Though rarely required for employment as a technician, you can study recording arts at the bachelor's degree level. Additionally, master's degree programs in this field are available as you look to further your career.

Optional Certifications

You won't need to earn a license or be required to maintain certification to work as a recording arts technician. However, you may increase your employment potential by earning certification through a professional organization. For example, the Society of Broadcast Engineers offers the Certified Audio Engineer, Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer and Certified Broadcast Technologist designations to help demonstrate your professional competence.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers, electrical and electronics engineering technicians, and camera operators all have aspects of their jobs that are similar to recording arts technology. Electrical and electronics installers and repairers receive postsecondary training, although they do not necessarily need a diploma or associate's degree. They connect wires and electrical systems to ensure they work properly, and may also perform repairs on these systems.

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians do need an associate's degree. They help design and develop the equipment that recording arts technicians use, as well as other electronic equipment. They need to understand how this equipment works and be able to determine problems with the equipment and how to improve it. Camera operators require more training, typically needing a bachelor's degree. Camera operators specifically have similarities to recording arts technicians because they need to operate cameras to record events, settings or scenes.

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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