Do you enjoy music, sound, art, technology or creating with your hands? If you can answer yes to any of those, then consider a job as an audio technician.
There are not a lot of requirements to become an audio technician but there are many opportunities that await you.
An audio technician is someone who takes care of technical audio equipment for recording, concerts or convention services.
Audio is just the start for many technicians.
Some will choose to expand their knowledge into visual equipment as well.
Education Requirements to Become an Audio Technician
The most common credential for an audio technician is a high school diploma.
Some classes to take during high school are music, computers, math and physics (if your school offers it).
Joining an AV club during high school is also very valuable as you will learn to collaborate with peers and learn more about the latest audio machinery.
If at all possible, try to obtain an internship at a broadcasting station to learn more about how an audio technician helps contribute to the larger picture.
Education after high school to become an audio technician includes earning an Associate’s degree in sound technology.
This degree will have technical classes pertaining to the field as well as general education requirements such as English, math, science and literature.
Taking classes at a technical college is also an acceptable way to gain the educational requirements for the job.
Whichever route in education you choose to take, it is also very important to be on the latest trends of sound equipment to know the capabilities of the machinery you are responsible for.
Audio Technician Job Description
The job description of an audio technician is similar in most settings; the job will be nearly the same in whichever field you so choose to work.
The main duties are maintaining general sound equipment, setting up for production and concerts, testing equipment, educating other staff on how to use the equipment, record sounds and manage others in your field of expertise.
Audio technicians that work in commercial broadcasting may be busier than others due to the amount of production that takes place within a studio.
A news station may only do a few broadcastings a day while a studio production company will produce more hours of footage within a given day.
Another place to consider when deciding to become an audio technician is working for a sound recording studio.
In this field you will be responsible for maintaining sound recording equipment, computers, mixers, synthesizers and scheduling clients to record.
Each of these fields are similar in the fact that you will be maintaining a variety of equipment.
Audio Salary and Career Path
There are some other ways to become an audio technician by working your way up through other related jobs.
Some of these are:
- Audio Engineer
- Acoustics Engineer
- Broadcast Technician
- Radio Station Engineer
- Film Sound Technician
The average earnings of an audio technician differs greatly on the location and the company in which they work.
According to BLS.gov, an average salary range is $38,000 per year with higher earnings for those who work in a commercial production company.
There are also jobs in the teaching sector to help educate a new generation of audio technicians.
These jobs are usually done in addition to a regular technician position within a company.
Some common places to work are radio companies, recording studios, concert halls, convention centers, resorts and commercial broadcasting.
In the simplest terms, whenever there is the capturing of sound, there is an audio technician there working on the project.
This is one field that is not going to disappear anytime soon, especially with the push for more technologies in television, movies, internet, software programs, gaming and teaching.
As long as there is sound, there will be a job as an audio technician.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does an audio technician do?
Audio technicians set up, operate and maintain equipment for a variety of events, such as radio programs, conventions, concerts, sound recordings, movies, and sports events.
The kind of equipment they operate depends on the industry.
They usually work with microphones, speakers, and recording equipment.
Audio technicians typically work full time but they may also work during weekends, evenings and holidays because radio stations and televisions are on air 24 hours a day.
They may also work overtime when special events are taking place.
How much does an audio technician make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for audio and video technicians in general, was $43,770, as of May 2018.
Salaries depend on the technician’s level of expertise, his or her employer and the region; for example, technicians who work in major cities typically earn more than those who work in small towns.
How much does it cost to become an audio technician?
Audio technicians typically need post-secondary education, such as an associate degree or a certificate program.
These types of programs usually focus largely on hands-on training and students get to use equipment used in many entry-level positions.
Tuition costs vary widely, depending on the college you choose and the program itself.
Two-year associate’s degree programs can cost less than $5000 at a public college and can be more than $15,000-$20,000 at a private college.
Certification is not mandatory but can help you prove your credentials to a potential employer.
For example, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association offers three types of certificates, including a Certified Technology Specialist.
Because technology is advancing rapidly audio technicians often need to enroll in continuing education classes.
What is the demand for audio technicians?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment for audio and visual equipment technicians is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028.
Technicians in this field are needed to set up new and complex audio equipment.
The growth also stems from the increasing number of companies who choose to communicate with clients or business partners through video conferences where good video and audio quality is essential.
Competition is expected to be strong in this field and at the beginning of their career technicians should have more job opportunities on smaller markets.
Having hands-on experience with using complex audio equipment, will give you better employment prospects.
How long does it take to become an audio technician?
Most audio technicians have completed some form of post-secondary education.
An associate’s degree can typically be earned in around 2 years, while post-secondary non-degree programs can be completed in less than 1 year.
Beginners can start by finding employment in an entry-level position on a small market and move towards larger markets as they gain experience.
In order to keep up with the fast technological advances, audio technicians also need to enroll at continuing education classes.