How to Become a Broadcast Engineer


Here are the essential steps for becoming a broadcast engineer:


1. Excel at math, physics, electronics and computer programming in high school

2. Determine if this field is suited to your interests

3. Pursue a bachelor’s degree in electrical or computer engineering

4. Get an internship as a student

5. Get an entry-level job in broadcast engineering after graduation

6. Get professional certification


Continue reading below to get a good idea of what you'll need to begin a career as a broadcast engineer in the United States or Canada. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as an overview of salary level expectations, a list of possible employers, and much more!



What Education Will I Need to Become a Broadcast Engineer?

Because of the complexity of the technology involved in today’s broadcast engineering, you will likely need a bachelor’s degree in Electronics, Electrical, Computer or Broadcast Engineering


While in high school, excelling in math, physics, electronics and computer programming is a great way to set your foundation for this career, and to qualify for engineering schools. 





What Does a Broadcast Engineer Do?

Broadcast engineers are responsible for operating, maintaining and updating the hardware and systems used to broadcast radio, television, podcasts and other channels. They must ensure optimum levels of broadcast quality, while also ensuring programs are broadcasted on schedule.



What Are Their Job Duties?

Broadcast engineers are typically responsible for the following tasks:


• Implementing directives from producers, directors, and other colleagues

• Designing, constructing and repairing new hardware, circuits and systems

• Setting up and maintaining audiovisual links between units in different locations

• Setting up and operating editing facilities in post-production suites

• Designing and installing custom audiovisual circuitry

• Maintaining current awareness of best practices within the industry

• Maintaining current knowledge of newest technologies and systems

• Liaising with other team members including producers, studio managers and presenters as well as other technical staff



What Experience Will I Need?

Entry-level broadcast engineering jobs typically don’t require any work experience above what is gained as part of completing an undergraduate engineering degree. Mid and senior-level roles however, often require 3-5 years of experience working in lower-level roles, with progressive amounts of responsibility in those roles.



What Licensing Will I Need?

Since the work of broadcast engineers does not affect public safety, you generally don’t need to be certified as a Professional Engineer (PE - United States or P.Eng. - Canada) to work as a broadcast engineer. It is however, a good idea to learn a Professional Engineer license for career advancement purposes.





Am I Suited for This Career?

A career in this field might appeal to you if you have the following characteristics:


• A proactive, results-oriented approach to work

• Strong attention to detail

• Time management skills

• Fault-finding and problem solving skills

• Great communication skills

• The ability to remain calm under pressure

• Excellent IT and programming skills across a range of platforms

• Knowledge of metadata associated with broadcast video and audio signals

• Interest in a well-paying career that involves electronics and computers



Who Employs Broadcast Engineers?

Job opportunities in this line of work typically exist with the following types of organizations:


• Television stations and networks (public and private)

• Radio stations and networks (public and private)

• Internet and digital broadcasters

• Production companies that provide television, radio and Internet content

• Post-production companies

• Media and broadcasting software companies

• Consulting firms



What is the Typical Salary Level?

Broadcast engineers earn a median salary of around $95,000 per year in the United States. Their salary can vary based on factors such as their level of experience and education, the specific region in which they work, level of responsibility involved in the job, and other factors. 



More About Salary Levels

As mentioned above, the salary level you could earn as a broadcast engineer can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your level of education

• Your level of experience

• The specific responsibilities of your job

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• Many other factors


Salary in Canada: According to according to Peter Warth, President of the Central Canada Broadcast Engineers Trade Association, salaries start at around $40,000 per year, but can get up to the $80,000 range for senior engineers. A Chief Broadcast Engineer for a station can earn up to $120,000 per year, according to Warth.


Salary in the United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the Electrical and Electronics Engineers occupational group is $95,230 per year.*


*Unfortunately, reliable salary information for the career “Broadcast Engineer” in the United States could not be found from reliable sources. However, the salary level of Electrical and Electronics Engineers gives us a good idea of what you could earn. 



Current Job Opportunities

Our job board below has broadcast engineer postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, when available:




What Are the Working Hours Like?

Broadcast engineers typically work full-time (37-40 hours per week) but this can vary.  Shift work that includes weekends is common, and there may be travel involved, especially if you are involved in location work or outside broadcasting. Overtime may also be required on occasion, such as when dealing with technical difficulties and emergencies.



What is the Work Environment Like?

The work in this field can be based in a variety of settings, including an office, a workshop, a recording studio, or even outside. Working on outside broadcasts would involve working in a variety of locations, and may involve uncomfortable weather conditions.



What are Careers Similar to This One?

Listed below are careers that may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities as broadcast engineer:


• Broadcast Assistant

• Broadcasting Technician

• Electrical Engineer

• Information Systems Consultant

• IT Manager

• Telecommunications Engineer



Scholarships for Becoming a Broadcast Engineer

All of the scholarships on our Any Field of Study Scholarships page are relevant for becoming a broadcast engineer.


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!




Please consult the following resources to learn more about what it takes to become a broadcast engineer:


• Job Profiles: “Broadcast Engineer” (Dec. 7, 2016). National Careers Service. Retrieved January 30, 2017.

• Jobs: “A Career in Broadcast Engineering” (n.d.). The Society of Broadcast Engineers. Retrieved January 30, 2017.

• Salaries Series “I Want to Be a Broadcast Engineer - What Will My Salary Be?”, Jared Lindzon (Nov. 6, 2014). The Globe and Mail Online. Retrieved January 30, 2017.

• Occupational Profile: “Computer Engineer.” (n.d.). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 30, 2017.

• Occupational Profile: “Electrical Engineer.” (n.d.). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 30, 2017.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Electrical and Electronics Engineers.” (n.d.). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved January 30, 2017.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Computer Hardware Engineers.” (n.d.). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved January 30, 2017.



Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career

We have career guides for over 60 university majors in our database. Below we've outlined those that are most relevant to this profession. Click on the link(s) to see what else you can do with these majors!


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Broadcast Engineer