Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Guide to the Life of a Broadcast Technician

A career in broadcast technology can be a rather rewarding one with plenty of room for growth potential and career advancement. This guide will explore the specifics of this position, what the qualifications are, what to expect as far as earnings are concerned, and what will be expected of you, the experienced broadcast technician.

Training and Qualifications

In order to obtain a viable position in this field, one must receive some type of formal training, either at a technical school that offers courses specializing in broadcasting, or at a community college or larger school or university where students may study broadcast technology and engineering. Upon the successful completion of training and a thorough exam, a certificate will be issued by the Society of Broadcast Engineers, something that employers will look upon rather favorably.

While some companies may accept an associate's degree, others will require a bachelor's degree, or, anywhere from two to four years of hands-on experience before they will hire an applicant. Young students intending on pursuing a career in this growing field should prepare themselves by taking courses such as physics and advanced math, as well as electronics while still in high school.

A natural aptitude for working with electronic equipment, along with an inbred sense of manual dexterity, including excellent hand-eye coordination, are necessary to succeed in this particular field of broadcasting. Because technology is ever changing and always improving, as is testament by the nationwide switch to all digital broadcasting with most programs and movies being filmed in high-definition, technicians must stay on top of the current trends and be familiar with the complex equipment used.


While employed as a broadcast technician, some of the duties performed may include directing other personnel regarding operations via hand signals or using special headsets, and operating equipment that control important parts of the entire broadcast. One may also be responsible for handling film productions as well as live programming, including both local and network broadcasts.

Broadcasting technicians also install new electronic equipment, make necessary repairs and use equipment such as television cameras, antennae, transmitters, recorders, sound mixers, microphones, and those regulating the lighting effects. Back in the control room of either a television or radio studio, the technician, also often referred to as an operator engineer, will be in control of electronics responsible for the strength of the broadcast's signal, the clarity of that signal, and how the production looks in term of visual and sound appeal.

Similar Occupations

Occupations that are similar to this type of broadcasting technician include sound engineering technicians, who in conjunction with the former, produce the soundtracks to movies and television programs, as well as other types of engineers, drafters, and science related technicians.

Interestingly enough, laboratory specialists and clinicians along with radiologic technicians, positions in the field of respiratory therapy, surveyors and air traffic controllers are also positions with similar training and qualifications.

Earnings and Advancement Possibilities

The average salary of a technician in the field of broadcasting will vary greatly depending on several variables, including their physical location, whether they're employed by a local or national company, and of course, their credentials and how much experience they possess.

On average, this position pays anywhere from approximately $35,000 to $60,000 per year with the median salary being just under $46,000. Although, skill, reputation, and references will also dictate the actual salary that can be earned with a job in broadcasting technology.

Most recently, this particular profession occupied nearly 40,000 positions in just the United States alone, and as the entertainment industry shows no sign of slowing or disappearing, the possibilities are great for a long-standing career in the exciting field of broadcasting. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this position is expected to grow slightly faster than average, as opposed to all other types of occupations at least through the year 2016.

Working Conditions

The daily working life of a broadcast technician is most usually a pleasant one, working indoors in air-conditioned quarters directing and operating the equipment to successfully transmit a broadcast. In smaller, local televisions stations, these technicians will rarely need to work more than 40 hours per week, however, weekend and evening hours may be the norm, at least initially, as news and local programming are on every hour of the day, every day of the week, every month of the year.

At larger stations or movie studios, technicians also usually work a 40 hour week, but overtime isn't unusual especially if the studio is under a contractual obligation to finish a production and meet their deadline. These larger studios also often hire freelance technicians, employing them on a broadcast-by-broadcast basis. Search, post, and find online jobs, job informations, and jobs at

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