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What Is a Sound Engineering Technician's Earning Potential?

Sound engineering technicians may be employed in recording studios, concert venues, sports arenas and theater halls. The salaries they earn vary depending on the candidate being considered; for example, level of education, work experience and where the candidate is applying. Read on to learn more about the salary potential for sound engineering technicians.

Salary Overview

A sound engineering technician sets up and manages sound equipment for radio, television, stage productions and motion pictures. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sound engineering technicians earned an average wage of $67,210 as of May 2020. Wages varied from $27,650 and below for the bottom 10% of workers to $119,720 or more for the top 10% of workers. Factors that play into the salary amount for a sound engineering technician include location, work experience and education.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Required Education Postsecondary non-degree award or certificate
On-the-Job Training Optional; less than 6 months
Certification Optional; may increase job prospects
Key Skills Communication, computer, and problem-solving skills; manual dexterity
Similar Occupations Computer support specialist, electronics engineering technician, film editor

Salaries by Industry

The BLS released information in May 2020 that showed which industries paid sound engineering technicians the most. The advertising, public relations, and related services offered the highest average wage of $92,550. The motion picture and video industries offered the second highest average salary of $87,310. The industry of scientific research and development services came in third and offered an average wage of $71,740.

Salaries by Location

Salaries vary greatly between cities and states. The BLS listed the top-paying U.S. states for sound engineering technicians as of May 2020. Listed below are the states and their respective mean annual salaries:

  • California: $84,910
  • New York: $80,030
  • Connecticut: $78,680
  • Michigan: $73,200
  • District of Columbia: $71,930

Salaries by Experience

Once the years of experience and quality of work increase in an applicant, sound engineering technicians are likely to be hired as supervisory technicians or chief engineers. Larger companies expect two or more years of work experience and pay higher salaries than smaller companies.

Education Requirements

Sound engineer positions usually require completion of a vocational program or an associate's degree. Employers of small stations accepting entry-level technicians look for high school records demonstrating excellence in math, physics, and electronics classes. An applicant holding a more advanced degree is more likely to be hired by a bigger network or television station. There are bachelor's degree programs available in recording arts, audio engineering, music production and media arts.

Job Outlook

The BLS expects sound engineering technician employment to change by 6% over the 2019-2029 decade. It expects demand for these professionals in the television and motion picture industry. Some ways to improve job prospects include earning a degree, looking for work in smaller markets and gaining some hands-on experience.