What Does a Broadcast Technician Do?
Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More
Broadcast technicians, who are also called broadcast engineers, use specialized equipment to regulate the strength and clarity of the images and sounds we see on television and the sounds we hear on the radio. They operate transmitters to broadcast radio and television programs from studios and remote locations.
Broadcast Technician Duties & Responsibilities
Broadcast technicians perform the following duties:
- Install and operate all equipment, such as audio mixing consoles, media control systems, oscilloscopes, frequency analyzers, and satellite receivers, used to broadcast radio and television programs
- Maintain equipment to ensure that it functions properly
- Quickly and effectively troubleshoot problems with transmissions
- Conduct functional and operational testing procedures to ensure quality performance of broadcast products including radio and television programs
- Work with engineers to test and integrate new systems.
- Use computer software to edit audio and video recordings
- Comply with FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulations and state, federal, and local laws
By carrying out these tasks, broadcasts technicians make sure radio and television programs reach listeners and viewers as flawlessly as possible.
Broadcast Technician Salary
Broadcast technicians' earnings vary depending on their experience and location. The industries in which they work also pay differently. For example, the motion pictures and sound recording industries have salaries on the higher end of the spectrum while the pay for those working in radio and television broadcasting are at the lower end.
- Median Annual Salary: $40,080
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $82,580
- Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $21,130
Education, Training, & Certification
Broadcast technicians need at least an associate degree in broadcast technology or a related field.
- College: It will take approximately two years to earn an associate degree. Coursework should include math, science, production management, and video editing.
- Practical Training: In addition to classroom instruction, aspiring broadcast technicians must also get hands-on experience with the equipment that is used by professionals in the industry.
- Certification: Certification, which is not required to work in this field, can make a broadcast technician a more competitive job candidate. It demonstrates that one meets industry standards. The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) offers several certifications.
Broadcast Technicians Skills & Competencies
Broadcast technicians, in addition to the technical skills acquired during formal training, need the following abilities:
- Communication Skills: Excellent speaking and listening skills are essential because they allow the broadcast technician to work on a team that includes supervisors and coworkers.
- Problem Solving Skills: Without this ability, one cannot perform the task of troubleshooting and solving equipment and signal problems.
- Strong Manual Dexterity and Hand-Eye Coordination: A broadcast technician must be able to set up and use their equipment.
- Computer Skills: Excellent computer skills are also essential for many tasks, including programming equipment and editing video and audio recordings.
Broadcast technicians do not have a promising job outlook according to predictions from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment is expected to decline by 3% between 2016 and 2026. The result will be a net decrease of 1,100 jobs. Those seeking work in smaller markets will be most successful, as will individuals who have practical experience at radio and television stations.
Although they typically work indoors, some jobs require broadcast technicians to work outdoors for on-location broadcasts. This may involve spending a lot of time in inclement weather.
Most jobs are full-time positions, but there are part-time and contract positions available. Because radio and television stations air programming around the clock, broadcast technicians must work days, nights, weekends and holidays.
How to Get the Job
The Society of Broadcast Engineers lists job openings, but details are available for members only. However, non-members can view abbreviated listings. Also, find jobs in the media industry on EntertainmentCareers.net.
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