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What Is Audio Technology?

Learning about audio technology can make you an asset to corporations, organizations, and firms that use audio equipment for a variety of events. It's also important in the music business. Read on to learn more.

Field Overview

The field of audio technology includes the maintenance and operation of sound equipment and the mechanics of sound engineering. Audio technology helps produce sound in the worlds of communication and entertainment. Since media production and the medium of digital audio encompass a variety of career options, you can select from many different fields and specializations within audio technology. Some areas include broadcasting and sound engineering, which can lead you to jobs in movie and theater productions, recording studios, and sports arenas, to name a few environments.

Important Facts About Audio Technology

Key Skills Manual dexterity, problem-solving, communication and computer skills
Similar Occupations Computer Support Specialist, Electrical Engineering Technician, Film/Video Editor or Camera Operator
Work Environment Full-time in a variety of different settings, commonly on a tight schedule
Required Education In addition to a college education, previous work in math, science, video editing, and project management helps

Employment Opportunities

In broadcasting, live radio, and television use audio technology to produce and deliver the sound on which they depend. As an audio and video technician, you would set up, manage, and maintain the necessary equipment, such as microphones, video monitors, and speakers. You could also become a broadcast technician, focusing on the equipment that regulates the audio and visual signals.

As a sound engineering technician, you'd capture, create, or reproduce sounds for film, theater, and television. You might also engineer sound for arena-style events, including those for sports teams and music concerts. You could make queued-up effects for soundtracks, film, and theater productions that enhance a story. In this capacity, you might work as a sound mixer for recording studios and video production teams, inserting sounds after filming has wrapped for television shows or movies.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), job opportunities for broadcast and sound engineering technicians were projected to increase 8% from 2016 to 2026, which is about average compared to other fields. Depending on the specialization you're interested in, you could find better job prospects in certain industries. For example, BLS projections indicated that audio and video equipment technicians could see a 13% increase, while sound engineering technician job opportunities were only expected to grow 6% during that time period.

In May 2018, the BLS reported that audio and video equipment technicians earned a median annual income of $43,770. At the same time, sound engineering technicians made a yearly median wage of $52,390, and broadcast technicians were paid a median salary of $40,080 per year.

Education and Certification

For entry-level positions, you'll improve your employment opportunities by completing a technical program related to audio technology. The BLS said that many recent applicants have earned associate's or bachelor's degrees in an audio field. Some programs include internships to give you practical knowledge of the field. You could also work as an intern or assistant to gain experience.

If you work in the broadcasting industry, you can advance your career by pursuing certification from the Society of Broadcast Engineers. This organization offers many different certification levels, such as Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist and Certified Audio Engineer (www.sbe.org). You can also earn a more general Commercial Audio Technician certification through the Electronics Technicians Association, which could apply to a variety of industries.