Audio and Video Technicians : Training, Salary, & Career Information
Audio and Video Technicians: Career, Salary and Education Information
As technology advances, audio and video equipment becomes increasingly complex, and this results in a consequent increase in the need for skilled technicians trained in the operation and maintenance of that equipment. Additionally, a population that is more hooked on audio and video entertainment than ever before fuels the demand for competent people in the field.
Audio and video technician jobs involve the set-up and operation of equipment such as microphones and speakers, video screens and projectors, and general recording equipment. Given the wide variety of events and projects for which audio and video equipment is necessary--such as concerts, sporting events, conventions, conferences, and many others--the opportunities for an audio and video technician are very good.
A Day in the Life of an Audio and Video Technician
At large television stations and major networks, audio and video technician jobs require a standard 40-hour workweek, but overtime is not uncommon. Technicians who work at smaller stations with smaller staff may be required to work longer hours. Additionally, since many radio and television stations are operational and on the air for 24 hours a day every day, working on nights, weekends, and holidays is not uncommon. Some employers work with strict contractual deadlines, and work hours may increase for audio and video technicians as these deadlines approach.
Depending on the work environment in which you are employed, you may be required to work directly with clients and/or performers to determine their individual audio and video equipment needs. For this reason, good communication and interpersonal skills are very helpful in this field.
Audio and Video Technician Training and Education
While they are not generally required for entry-level positions, associate's or bachelor's level audio and video technician degrees are highly valued by employers, especially in a competitive job market. Short-term technical training programs are also available and can be useful in landing an entry-level audio and visual technician job.
Above all, experience is key for both employment and advancement in an audio and video technician career. Participating in high school or college audiovisual (A/V) clubs and interning or assisting at local or school radio and television stations are great ways to gain hands-on experience with relevant equipment and the studio work environment before seeking full-time employment in the field.
Advancement in an audio and video technician career can be achieved as experience is gained, and there are also continuing education opportunities to stay abreast of emerging and evolving technologies. For broadcast engineers in particular, obtaining certification from the Society of Broadcast Engineers can be a major boon to your career and open doors for upward advancement.
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Audio and Video Technician Jobs: Employment Outlook
Overall employment for audio and video technicians was affected by recent economic hard times, reducing national employment by about 9,000 jobs to 46,070 as of May 2009. However, job prospects for audio and video technicians are expected to be generally good in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics project employment numbers to increase by approximately 13 percent between 2008 and 2018.
Entry-level jobs as audio and video technicians are particularly competitive in dense metropolitan areas (partially because the pay tends to be higher in these areas), but smaller cities and towns are expected to provide more employment opportunities for appropriately trained technicians.
Audio and Video Technicians Salary Information
The mean audio and video technician salary in the U.S. was $42,450 in May of 2009. However, the highest-paying positions--likely supervisors or chief engineers--offered salaries of nearly $70,000 per year. States with substantial performance and broadcasting industries (including Nevada, New York, and California) are home to the highest concentrations of audio and video technician jobs, and they also rank among the top five highest-paying states as of May 2009.