Sound Technician: Career Profile, Job Outlook, and Education Requirements
Research what it takes to become a sound technician. Learn about the job duties, career outlook, salary and educational requirements to find out if this is the career for you.
What Is a Sound Technician?
Sound technicians use audio/computer equipment to record, mix, or reproduce music, voices and sounds. They may be present at live events to record and edit the mixes for broadcasting in radio or television, and may tape or modify sound effects for film. Sound technicians typically work at sporting events, studios, concerts, news locations, and so forth. Titles included in this field are recording engineers, sound mixers, field technicians, and transmission engineers.
The following chart shows an overview of what you may want to know about becoming a sound technician.
|Degree Required||High school diploma and vocational training; associate's degree preferred|
|Education Field of Study||Sound Technology, Audio Engineering, Broadcast Engineering|
|Key Responsibilities||Equipment set-up and care; sound production and signal strength control; troubleshooting and repair|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)*||8%|
|Average Annual Salary (2018)*||$63,340|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What Will I Do as a Sound Technician?
Your job will require you to control, record and edit sound. Whether recording live performances, sound effects or speech, you'll control the audio panels and equipment. You'll set up and tear down equipment and regulate the sound for signal strength. Producing clear sound - void of static or interference - will be your main priority. You'll also care for equipment, troubleshoot problems and replace faulty parts when necessary.
Because digital sound and software is being used more often, you must be familiar with using digital equipment. You'll need to speak with performers to be sure that the recordings are synchronized and mixed correctly. Radio stations, concert halls, sporting arenas, production studios or theaters may employ you.
What Is the Job Outlook for This Career?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that job opportunities for sound engineering technicians would experience a slower-than-average growth of 2% between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). Approximately 13,510 sound engineering technicians were employed in the U.S. and they made an average annual salary of $63,500 in May 2018, per the BLS. The highest-paid sound technicians worked in specialized design services, as well as those in motion picture and video companies.
What Educational Requirements Will I Need to Meet?
To become a sound technician, you'll need to at least complete high school. Many employers accept applicants who have vocational training, but you may benefit more from an associate degree program. Consider 2-year programs in sound technology, audio engineering or broadcast engineering. Courses in computers and electronics are a must for this career, but you'll also learn about such topics as microphones and acoustics.
While you won't be able to find certification as a sound technician, you can earn certification in broadcasting. The Society of Broadcast Engineers offers voluntary certification that will showcase your skills, experience and competence in the field. A variety of designations are available, but you may be interested in becoming a Certified Audio Engineer. This certification requires five years of experience to qualify for the exam.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Someone seeking a job in a similar field may consider work as an electrical/electronic installer and repairer, or an electrical/electronic engineering technician. The installers and repairers need some postsecondary training to work on electrical or electronic equipment in telecommunications, utilities, and other industries. The engineering techs assist engineers in designing and creating technological developments in computers, communications, and other electrical or electronic equipment. An associate degree is required.