Sound Effects Technician: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a sound effects technician. Learn about education requirements, job duties, and salary potential 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 Sound Effects Technician?

Sound effects technicians are also known as sound engineering technicians. They are responsible for setting up, installing and operating electronic equipment that's used to amplify or record sound. They may also perform minor repairs on their equipment, and are responsible for maintaining it. Sound effects technicians may record music, speech or sound effects and may use special equipment to manipulate recordings, combine recordings or reproduce recordings. They may be involved in creating audio tracks for television shows or movies, or for recording music tracks. Sound effects technicians may also work at concert venues or amusement parks or for theater companies.

Degree Required Associate's degree or certificate
Education Field of Study Audio engineering
Key Responsibilities Creating electronic sounds, assembling/disassembling recording equipment, collaborating with producers, directors, and/or performers
Job Growth (2018-2028) 8%*
Median Salary (May 2018) $52,390*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Will I Need for a Career as a Sound Effects Technician?

To prepare for a job as a sound effects technician, you must have a strong understanding of physics, computer technology, mathematics and electronics. Training programs are available within certificate or associate's degree programs. In addition to preparing you for continuing educational opportunities, an associate's degree program includes both general education requirements and sound classes. Both certificate and associate's degree programs include classes in remixing, advanced digital video and sound, scoring for film and video, audio production, sound recording, electronic music and digital audio workstation.

What Are Possible Job Duties?

As a sound effects technician, you might work in a studio environment or in the field. Typically, you use audio equipment to electronically create noises or sounds which emphasize the content of musical shows, television productions or theatrical performances. Your work might involve synchronizing and recording sounds or special effects into music or film. In some cases, you may assemble recording equipment before an event and disassemble it afterward. Additional responsibilities may include duplicating recordings from other media, testing equipment and maintaining recording logs. Some other duties might include sound mixing during the post-production phase and working with producers, directors or performers in order to achieve desired sound effects. You could also be responsible for ensuring that repairs are made to defective equipment.

How Much Could I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average annual salary for sound engineering technicians in the motion picture and video industries was approximately $80,320 in 2018 ( The mean annual wage for those working in radio and television broadcasting was about $63,750. Wages can be variable, depending upon the size of the radio or television markets.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Broadcast technicians work with the same type of equipment as sound effects technicians. They focus on using the equipment to broadcast radio and television content. Recording engineers also use electronic sound equipment and computers. They produce recordings of audio content. Audio and video equipment technicians set up and install audio and visual equipment. They need to know how to install audio equipment correctly, like sound effects technicians, but they also work with visual equipment and may also work on lighting systems. All of these professionals work with electronic sound equipment, and all should have a certificate or associate's degree. They need to be able to maintain electronic audio equipment. The key difference between sound effects technicians, broadcast technicians, recording engineers and audio and visual equipment technicians is the specific focus of their work.

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