What Is a Radio Broadcast Engineer?

Research what it takes to become a radio broadcast engineer. Learn about the training, education, job duties and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Electronics & Communications Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Radio Broadcast Engineer?

Radio broadcast engineers set up, maintain, and operate the electrical equipment for radio broadcasts. During a radio recording session, they monitor the quality of recording using computer software. In the event of problem, they report the issue and then do what they can to fix it. They may also keep records of recording sessions, leaving notes about what equipment was used and any issues they ran into. The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as a radio broadcast engineer.

Degree RequiredAssociate's degree
Field of StudyBroadcast technology or relate field
Key SkillsComputer skills, communication skills, manual dexterity, and problem-solving skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) -6% (for all broadcast technicians)*
Median Salary (2015) $37,490 (for all broadcast technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are The Job Duties of a Radio Broadcast Engineer?

As a radio broadcast engineer, you'll manage and maintain a variety of sound, technical and electrical equipment necessary to produce a radio show. Radio broadcast engineers are also called radio operators or technicians. Specific tasks include tracing radio signals, operating transmitters, maintaining and adjusting electronic broadcasting equipment and ensuring the sound quality of broadcasts. At smaller stations, you might be responsible for a full range of tasks and equipment; at larger stations, your job duties could be more compartmentalized for specific equipment or specialized technologies.

What Type of Skills and Training Should I Have?

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that a high school education is sufficient to enter the field, you'll usually undergo some formal, on-the-job training provided by your employer (www.bls.gov). Additionally, the BLS reported that many new engineers have some postsecondary schooling, such as an associate's or bachelor's degree education. If you decide to pursue a degree, you could study broadcast technology, computer networking or electronics in order to prepare for the career.

Many college programs also include internship opportunities, which could prove important for both the development of necessary skills and obtaining entry-level positions. You'll need to have general skills in electronics and information technology since much of your job will be working with some type of computer equipment.

What Is My Career Outlook?

The BLS stated that the field of broadcasting is competitive in larger markets; however, job opportunities could be better in smaller urban, suburban and rural areas. Employment for broadcast technicians is expected to decline six percent during the 2014-2024 decade, according to the BLS. In the radio broadcast industry, the BLS reported the average salary for technicians was $44,050 as of May 2015.

How Do I Advance My Career?

You could find an entry-level position in a smaller market in order to acquire the experience necessary to become a radio broadcast engineer in larger cities. Additionally, you might pursue voluntary certification as a Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer through the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) in order to demonstrate your knowledge of the profession and industry (www.sbe.org). Generally, you'll need five years of professional experience and a satisfactory score on an examination to earn the designation. However, with relevant education, you might be able to substitute some formal training for the work requirements. Once you have acquired a combination of ten years' education and professional experience, you can also pursue SBE's Certified Senior Radio Engineer designation to improve employment opportunities.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians have an associate's degree in electrical or electronics engineering technology, and use their knowledge to help develop electrical equipment and computers. They share much of same electronics knowledge as radio broadcast engineers, and may even work on the same equipment. Electrical and electronics installers and repairers are a step closer to radio broadcast engineers. These professionals don't design electronics, but have to be able to install and repair electronic equipment, which may also include radio broadcasting equipment. While they may not need a degree, they may need to pursue a post-secondary certificate.

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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