What Certification Do I Need to Be an Audio Visual Technician?

Read about the topics covered in certificate programs for audio visual technicians at multiple levels. See the voluntary professional certifications that can dial a career up to 11. Schools offering Digital Media Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

A one-year certificate program is generally considered sufficient for entry-level positions as an audio-visual technician. However, longer and more specialized programs are also available for individuals who are also interested in management or in operating other kinds of equipment.

CertificationSociety of Broadcast Engineers certification (voluntary)
Programs Certificates in audio visual systems, audio engineering, or audio visual production
Median Salary (2017)*$42,190

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Programs Are Available for Audio Visual Certification?

Certificate programs are offered in audio-visual systems, production and engineering and generally take one year to complete. Though degree programs are available in these fields, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an associate or bachelor's degree is typically not required for entry-level audio-visual technician positions (www.bls.gov).

However, some schools offer certification programs at varying difficulty levels. Higher-level certificate programs may take longer to complete but the coursework may explore management and troubleshooting techniques.

What Should I Expect From These Programs?

Audio-visual systems programs emphasize the hardware and software of recording technology with courses in networking systems and software. Audio engineering certification programs may focus on the music industry. If you're interested in television and movie production, you may prefer an audio visual production program.

You might study some of the following topics:

  • Networking systems
  • Software
  • Music business
  • Music theory
  • Recording technology
  • Lighting
  • Camerawork
  • Audio equipment

What Should I Expect From My School?

Audio-visual technicians have a physically demanding job. To prepare for this career, consider programs that provide practice with safely loading, moving and setting up equipment. Schools should be equipped with industry standard technology, such as spotlights, cables, cameras and recording software. As a result, most programs are offered exclusively on-campus, with no distance learning options.

Because technicians work a variety of events, ranging from stage sets to live music and sporting events, you may prefer programs that cover what recording equipment is appropriate for a particular event. You will also probably complete a practicum, which can include preparing lighting, sound and recording equipment for theater and other live functions. Internships at music recording studios or audio production companies may be included in the curricula of longer certificate programs.

What's Covered in a Certificate Program?

In a certificate program, you can expect to study the proper terms for the technology and basic methods of operation. If you're training to become an audio engineer, you may be familiarized with mixing software that balances the sounds of instruments. Possible course titles include:

  • Audio engineering
  • Video production
  • AV sound
  • Troubleshooting
  • Project management
  • Safety
  • Teamwork skills

Where Will I Work?

Audio-visual technicians work at entertainment venues, such as sports arenas, theaters or churches. If you're interested in the entertainment business, you may seek employment at television and radio stations. Alternatively, technicians are needed to set up and maintain equipment for schools or businesses.

You can expect competition for most positions in the audio-visual industry. As a result, you may consider pursuing a degree or internships to build your resume. You may also start out as an audio-visual assistant and work your way up. Because technology is always changing, it is recommended that you take continuing education courses to stay up-to-date.

How Do I Get Certified?

National licensing is not required for audio-visual technicians. However, the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) offers a voluntary certification exam. Because the SBE certification proves proficiency in the field, it may help you to gain employment. Additionally, after becoming certified, you may use the SBE certified logo on your business card, website and resume.

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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