Broadcasting Technician

How to Become a Broadcasting Technician

 

Broadcasting technicians use specialized electronic and computer equipment to ensure the video and sound quality of an Internet, radio, television or live entertainment production.

 

To get into this field, you typically need at least an associate’s degree in broadcasting technology or a similar field. The more advanced your education is, the more it can help you qualify for positions of greater responsibility.

 

Your chances of success in this field will also increase if you’re someone who has an interest in using computer and electronic equipment, and you’re someone who’s willing to keep up with technological changes. It also doesn’t hurt to have a keen interest in being part of radio, television, or other form of production.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about what it takes to become a broadcast technician, read on below. We’ve prepared an overview of what it takes to set the foundation for a career in this field. We’ve also included actual job postings (where available), as well as a list of scholarships for relevant fields of study.

 

 

Education Needed to Become a Broadcast Technician

Although the educational requirements or this profession can vary from job to job, you’ll likely need to earn at least a 2-year associate degree in broadcast technology or a similar field.

 

This is typically listed as a requirement when applying for jobs in this field, as it shows that you’ve developed the appropriate foundational skills for the job, including skills in math, science, production management, editing, and equipment usage and maintenance.

 

This education will likely also provide you with hands-on training, which is beneficial for several reasons; it will afford you the opportunity to work with the same, or similar, equipment that you’d be using on the job. Most importantly, this kind of training gives you the chance to get closer to the profession by actually performing duties that you would on the job, which gives you a better idea of whether or not you’d actually like working in the field.

 

Please Note: Although not generally a requirement for entering the field, some employers may require that you have a bachelor's degree in engineering, particularly for positions with advanced levels of responsibility, such as "Chief Broadcasting Engineer".

 

 

 

 

What is a Broadcasting Technician?

Basic Job Description

 

Broadcasting technicians are responsible for ensuring the strength and quality of sounds and images that are transmitted over radio and television. 

They use specialized electrical equipment to regulate the clarity and reliability of incoming and outgoing signals, in order to ensure that they are clear and reliable, and that the broadcast is of top quality. 

 

 

What Does a Broadcasting Technician Do?

Some of the Core Job Duties and Responsibilities

 

With smaller companies, broadcasting technicians might have more responsibilities. At larger organizations, they may do more specialized work. In general however they are responsible for the following tasks:

 

• Synchronizing sounds and dialogue with action taking place on television or in movie productions

• Converting video and audio records to digital formats for editing on computers

• Inspecting, installing, repairing and maintaining all broadcast-related technical, computer and related equipment as well as mechanical equipment

• Performing emergency and routine maintenance on a wide variety of studio and newsroom broadcast equipment that supports news operations, live and recorded studio productions

• Finding and replacing faulty assemblies and parts (such as capacitors, transistors, integrated circuits, printed circuit boards and transformers) using electronic test equipment

• Might be required to maintain microwave vans, satellite uplink trucks and other mobile equipment

• Performing service support for remote location news or other production events

 

 

Experience You’ll Need

The experience you’ll gain as a result of your associate’s degree program will likely be all that you’re required to have in order to be hired in your first broadcasting technician position. 

 

To advance into certain positions, such as “Chief Broadcasting Engineer”, you will require many years of experience, and perhaps a bachelor’s degree in engineering, depending on the requirements of your employer. 

 

Please Note: Because technology is constantly improving, you will likely have to enroll in continuing education courses, and participate in on-the-job training to become skilled in new equipment and hardware as you progress in your career.

 

 

What Licensing and Certification Will I Need?

Employers in Canada and the United States don’t typically require that you obtain licensure to work as a broadcast technician; as a result, certification in this field is largely considered voluntary.

 

Voluntary certification does have many benefits however. For example, it demonstrates to your current, and future, employers and/or clients that you are committed to the field and passionate about it. In certain cases, it may also qualify you for a pay raise, or an increase in the amount of responsibilities that your employer trusts to you.

 

Certification is available from the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) for graduates of recognized broadcasting technician education programs.

 

 

 

 

Is This Career Right For You?

You’re going to have to like working in this field if you’re going to succeed at it. 

 

If you don’t see this occupation as a burden on your life, and its duties as a chore, and you’re able to emotionally and intellectually align with what you do, then you’re much more likely to succeed in this field.

 

If the following traits describe you, then you might very well have what it takes to make it as a broadcasting technician:

 

• You want to be part of radio and/or television productions and performances, even if your role is in the background

• You’re comfortable working with electronic sound and video equipment 

• You’re well-versed with computers and IP technology

• You’re eager to learn new technologies 

• You’re ‘at home’ in a fast-paced working environment 

• You’re willing to take on the stress of making emergency equipment repairs when the situation calls for it

• You have the manual dexterity needed to setup, operate and maintain equipment 

 

 

Work Environment Typical to This Profession

Working Hours: Depending on the operating hours of their employer, the working hours in this profession can vary greatly. For example, those working in the news industry might have rotating shift work, which can include early mornings, late evenings, weekends and holidays. As with many other professions, overtime might also be required on occasion.

 

Working Conditions: Broadcasting technologists generally work indoors in radio, television, movie, or recording studios. However, they may work outdoors in all types of weather conditions in order to broadcast news and other programming on location. On occasion, they may also be required to set up and use equipment in other locations that include offices, arenas, hotels, schools, hospitals, and homes.

 

Other Considerations: Those who work for broadcast companies that have a large number of rebroadcasting facilities may be required to travel extensively. Broadcasting technicians often work with small hand tools and electronic test equipment, although some heavy lifting may be required.

 

 

Average Salary

As with any other occupation, the level of pay you could earn as a broadcasting technologist can vary, typically depending on the following factors:

 

• Your professional reputation and level of experience

• Your level of education

• The size and type of your employer, as well as the size of the market its in

• The structure of your employment, such as if you are working on a freelance or permanent basis

 

Canada (Alberta): According to the 2017 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the “Broadcast Technicians” occupational group earned on average from $16.39 to $25.95 an hour. Unfortunately, at the time of writing (June 22, 2019), similar statistics were not available for other provinces or territories, or the whole of Canada.

 

United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2018 median salary level for Americans working in the “Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians” occupational group was $43,660 per year.

 

 

Who Employs Broadcasting Technicians?

Since most broadcasting technicians work in the radio and television broadcasting industry, many are employed by radio and television broadcasting networks and stations.

 

Broadcasting technicians also work in other industries, such as the entrainment industry, wherein they are employed by recording studios, production and post-production companies, and sports and entertainment venues. 

 

They also work with companies that produce employee communications, sales and training programs, as well as with multimedia companies.

 

Please Note: Broadcasting technicians be employed on a full-time, part-time or contractual basis. Alternatively, some are self-employed as freelancers, or as owners of their own companies.

 

 

Current Jobs in This Field

Check our job board below to find broadcasting technician postings in your area.

 

 

 

Career Advancement Opportunities for this Profession

There are many potential opportunities within this field, once you’ve gained some experience and further developed the skills you’ll have learned in school.

 

Although no two career tracks are identical, your first taste of career advancement would likely take the form of increased responsibility and pay. From there, you might move into supervisory or management positions, such as senior technologist or chief engineer.

 

You could also potentially move into a broadcasting technician role, or a supervisory or management role with a bigger station in a bigger market.

 

Alternatively, you might choose to take your career in a different direction and apply the skills you’ve learned in a different capacity. For example, you might try your hand at a technical sales, or technical support position with a company that manufactures, distributes and/or services broadcasting equipment.

 

 

Similar Occupational Profiles in Our Database

Below is a list of careers in our database that are most similar in nature to this one, in that they are in the same field, or they involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities.

 

• Acoustical Engineer

• Audio-Visual Technician

• Broadcast Engineer

• Broadcast Journalist

• News Anchor

• Radio Program Director

• Radio Program Producer

• Telecommunications Technician

• Television News Reporter

 

 

Scholarships for Becoming a Broadcasting Technician

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to this line of work. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on our Fine Arts Scholarships, Software Engineering and Music Scholarships pages.

 

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!

 

 

References for This Guide

Please consult the following resources to learn more about what it takes to become a broadcasting technician:

 

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians.” (April 12, 2019). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved Apr. 16, 2018.

• Occupations in Alberta: “Broadcast Maintenance Technologist.” (February 20, 2017). Government of Alberta - Alberta Learning and Information Service. Retrieved Apr. 16, 2019.

• Careers: “How to become a Broadcasting Technician.”. (n.d.). The Good Universities Guide. Retrieved Apr. 16, 2019.

• Career Planning: “Broadcast Technician: Career Information.” Dawn Rosenberg McKay. (March 15, 2018). The Balance Careers. Retrieved April. 16, 2019.

 

 

Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for getting into this profession. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!

 

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