How To Become A Broadcast Technician
Broadcast technicians setup monitoring equipment that is responsible for transmitting sounds and images over radio and television. You see to it that the incoming and outgoing signals are clear and reliable to ensure that the broadcast is of top quality. This ensures operating and making the necessary adjustments to audio equipment to ensure that the sound quality is top notch during broadcast.
When it comes to video, broadcast technicians use video console panels to make the necessary modifications on the brightness and contrast, among others, of video transmissions.
As a broadcast technician, you will be in charge of the installation and maintenance of audio and video equipment. You will be setting up all the needed broadcast equipment, including the positioning of the microphones, to ensure that there will be no issues during transmissions and in show recordings. As part of the maintenance of the equipment, you will also be reporting any equipment malfunctions and making sure that it gets repaired right away.
It will also be your responsibility to organize recording sessions and edit broadcast material so that the final production is clear. You will be using computer programs to do this so this is a job that also requires some computer savvy. You could also be tasked with producing graphics for broadcasts if this is necessary. This also entails the use of computer software programs.
To succeed as a broadcast technician, you need to be very comfortable about technology and equipment since this is what you will be facing every day at work. You also need to have manual dexterity inasmuch as you will be setting up audio and video equipment, connecting cables and manipulating small knobs and dials. You also need to be handy with tools in the event that you need to make emergency repairs.
You also need to be knowledgeable around computers and be able to figure out what the problem is when audio and video transmission quality is poor. You also need to have good communication skills since you will be talking with other members of the team to ensure that the equipment is set up and the broadcast proceeds smoothly, especially during live performances.
During emergency situations, you may have to do the necessary repairs yourself just to ensure that the broadcast pushes through.
Why Become A Broadcast Technician
One reason to become a broadcast technician is that it allows individuals who have a keen interest for audio and video equipment to work with and tinker with them each day. It is a fulfilling occupation for those who want to be part of radio and television productions and performances even if the role is done at the background. It also allows them to work with and meet prominent media personalities. On the more practical side, one reason to go into this profession is the decent pay that broadcast technicians receive.
Broadcast Technician Work Environment
Many broadcast technicians are hired by radio companies, television channels, movie productions and recording studios. While the work is usually done inside studios and stations, there are times when they have to set up their equipment outdoors during programs and shoots in various locations.
Their work schedule is often full-time but since television and radio stations usually broadcast news and events 24 hours a day, they have to do shift work and can be assigned to report for work on evenings, weekends and holidays. When broadcasting live events, they may have to do a lot of overtime. Those hired by movie companies may have to work extended hours to meet project deadlines.
Broadcast Technician Salary
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of broadcast technicians is $41,630. This is a bit lower than the $56,610 received by sound engineering technicians, the $45,830 paid to audio and video equipment technicians and the $45,210 paid to radio operators. All of these occupations are categorized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as broadcast and sound engineering technicians and radio operators whose mean annual wage is $46,110.
Average Broadcast Technician Annual Salary
The average annual salary for broadcast technicians is $46,730 a year. Salaries start at $20,570 a year and go up to $83,760 a year.
Average Broadcast Technician Hourly Wage
The average hourly wage for a broadcast technician is $22.47. Hourly wages are between $9.89 and $40.27 an hour.
Stats were based out of 30,390 employed broadcast technicians in the United States.
Highest Paying States For Broadcast Technicians
- 1. District of Columbia $38.67 / hr $80,440 / yr
- 2. New York $27.97 / hr $58,170 / yr
- 3. Maryland $27.39 / hr $56,970 / yr
- 4. Utah $26.51 / hr $55,140 / yr
- 5. Tennessee $26.31 / hr $54,730 / yr
Top Paying Cities For Broadcast Technicians
- 1. Washington, DC $35.94 / hr$74,760 / yr
- 2. San Francisco, CA $32.99 / hr$68,630 / yr
- 3. Detroit, MI $30.72 / hr$63,890 / yr
- 4. Baltimore, MD $29.34 / hr$61,030 / yr
- 5. New York, NY $28.84 / hr$59,980 / yr
Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Broadcast Technician Career Outlook
In general, the employment rate of broadcast and sound engineering technicians is projected to increase nine percent in the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022. This is about as fast as the national average for all job types. The job outlook specifically for broadcast technicians is set to be slower than the average for all occupations with a projected employment rate of only three percent in that same time period.
The demand will come from the television and movie industry since they will always need technicians to deliver the best quality sound and images to their respective audiences. Despite this demand, there will be intense competition for existing jobs. The best employment opportunities go to those who already have experience in the industry and know how to operate a wide range of equipment and related computer software.
Broadcast Technician Degree
The entry point for a career as a broadcast technician is an associate’s degree in broadcast technology, electrical or electronics engineering or related fields. This typically takes a couple of years to complete and should give a solid foundation on the workings of electronic equipment, video editing and video and audio signal flow. Graduating from the course does not mean that a broadcast technician’s educational preparation is over.
As soon as a technician gets hired by a television or radio firm, he is usually given on-the-job training on how to operate the studio’s hardware and equipment, set up cables and be familiar with the industry codes and standards. The training also encompasses safety procedures that technicians must observe while handling equipment. The on-the-job training is typically accomplished by having a more experienced technician teach the newly-hired worker.