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Audio and Video Technicians, also known as AV Technicians or AV Techs, are responsible for setting up and operating various types of audio and video equipment for meetings, conventions, sporting events, concerts, news conferences, plays, movies, and almost any type of radio or television broadcast. They work with video projectors, screens, monitors, recording equipment, sound speakers, microphones, mixing boards, cabling, and wiring. Technicians are typically called upon to also set up and operate any custom lighting systems associated with the event, including spotlights and/or floodlights. In addition, they are responsible for maintaining and repairing the equipment they use, often times in the midst of a production when a light fails or a cable breaks.

Other types of technician are very closely related to audio and video techs. In some cases, the job titles can be applied almost interchangeably. Some of these job designations include:

  • Broadcast Technicians: They deal specifically with the equipment used in radio or television broadcasts. These technicians regulate the signal strength, clarity, and the range of sounds and colors of the equipment.
  • Sound Engineering Technicians: They work with the equipment used for recording, synchronizing, or mixing music, voices, or sound effects. Their work is done in many different venues including recording studios, sporting arenas, and movie sets.
  • Radio Operators: They ensure that communication systems are maintained in good operating condition. To do so, they regularly receive and transmit communications using a variety of means and also repair and test communications equipment.

The growing prominence of digital recording, editing, and broadcasting has greatly changed the work of all varieties of technician who work in the broadcasting industry. Specialized electronic equipment previously used in many recording and editing applications is to an increasing extent being replaced by computer software. Most radio and television stations have replaced videotapes and audiotapes with computer hard drives and other computer-compatible storage media. This industry change is requiring technicians to become more computer-savvy and to familiarize themselves with computer networking and specialized software.

Responsibilities

The proper use of audio and video equipment involves a creative blend of technology and art. The processes involved in recording, editing, and broadcasting can be widespread and varied. Technicians who perform audio or video recording have both production and post-production tasks. In the production phase, the main focus is on the accurate capturing of sound and/or images. In post-production, the raw recorded material gets polished and transformed into the final desired product. In both phases, the technician is a key player in making things happen. Working alongside other professionals (engineers, directors, broadcast field supervisors, etc.), the technician is charged with setting up much of the equipment, operating it, controlling it, and maintaining it. Some of the specific tasks a technician performs may include any or all of the following:

  • Mix and regulate sound inputs and feeds
  • Coordinate audio feeds with television pictures
  • Perform minor repairs and routine cleaning of audio and video equipment
  • Monitor incoming and outgoing pictures and sound feeds to ensure quality
  • Run dubbing machines to match edited dialogue, music and sound effects to a video or movie recording
  • Work with creative artists to get the recording they want
  • Notify supervisors when major equipment repairs are needed
  • Supervise, advise and coordinate other recording technicians

Job Characteristics

Generally speaking, audio and video technicians do the bulk of their work indoors, inside studios or related locations, but by no means is this universally true. Some who work on news or other types of broadcasts from locations outside the studio may work outdoors, sometimes in adverse weather or other dangerous conditions. Technicians who work at large establishments, including broadcasting networks or large TV or radio stations, usually work a 40-hour week, albeit often under great pressure to meet broadcast deadlines. Those employed by small stations often work more than 40 hours a week and may find themselves putting in long late hours to meet the demands of stations on the air 18 to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Technicians who work on movies often need to work long hours to meet contractual deadlines.

Audio and video technicians need to have the right combination of creativity and technical know-how. Manual dexterity and an aptitude for working with electronic and mechanical equipment are other important traits. Knowledge of information technology and skill in that area are also valuable because of the growing prominence of digital recording and broadcasting.

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (USDL BLS), employment of audio and video technicians is expected to grow much faster than the average profession over the next decade. These workers will be called upon to not only set up audio and video equipment, but to maintain and repair it as well. Job prospects in the cable and pay television segments of the broadcasting industry should show exceptional growth as the range of services in these sectors keeps expanding. Jobs in the motion picture industry will also grow rapidly. However, there will also be a great deal of competition for jobs due to the large number of people attracted by the glamour of TV or motion picture work. In general, technicians seeking entry-level jobs in broadcasting can expect to face keen competition in major metropolitan areas but better job prospects in small cities and towns.

Mitigating factors affecting job growth for technicians working in radio or television are the growing consolidation of ownership of radio and television stations and emerging labor-saving technical advances, such as computer-controlled programming and remotely controlled transmitters. Stations which consolidate are often operated from a single location, reducing employment because a handful of technicians are able to provide support to multiple stations.

Audio and Video Technician Schools, Certification, and Licensing

At a minimum, an individual should earn a high school diploma or GED equivalency in order to embark on a career as an audio/video technician. To an increasing extent, entrants in this field also have a degree from a community college or some other type of postsecondary institution. Technicians need an electronics background in order to be able to effectively operate technical equipment. Training in electronics, computer networking, and/or broadcast technology is vital, whether it is obtained from a specialized postsecondary program or acquired on the job working as an assistant in a recording studio. Once employed, technicians should take maximum advantage of all opportunities to learn on-the-job and to demonstrate as high a level of technical and creative talent as possible.

Prior to 1996, when the Telecommunications Act became law, audio and video technicians working in the broadcasting industry were required to be licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Although this is no longer the case, many of the best technicians today seek certification by the Society of Broadcast Engineers. A very valuable and widely-recognized credential, this certificate is a mark of competence and experience which is issued to experienced technicians who pass an examination. This certification, which is offered at both the Radio Operator and the Television Operator levels, has filled the void left by the elimination of the FCC license.

Resources

Major Employers

The largest employers of audio/video technicians are the motion picture and video industries, which employ about 35% of them. About 20% work in radio and television broadcasting and another 20% are employed by colleges, universities, and professional schools. Other major employers include equipment rental and leasing agencies and promoters of performing arts, sports, and similar events.

Schools for Audio And Video Technicians are listed in the column to the left.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Audio and Video Technicians

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Audio and Video Technicians jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Birmingham 360 $37,340
Hoover 360 $37,340
Huntsville 80 $25,770
Mobile 60 $19,090
Montgomery 40 $34,920
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 110 $48,910
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 1230 $39,820
Mesa 1230 $39,820
Phoenix 1230 $39,820
Tucson 160 $32,340
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 70 $29,070
North Little Rock 70 $29,070
Little Rock 70 $29,070
Hot Springs 40 $21,830
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Los Angeles 10500 $49,460
Long Beach 10500 $49,460
Anaheim 10500 $49,460
Oakland 1760 $53,790
San Francisco 1760 $53,790
Hayward 1760 $53,790
San Diego 700 $35,350
Carlsbad 700 $35,350
Santa Clara 540 $39,640
Sunnyvale 540 $39,640
San Jose 540 $39,640
Ontario 490 $30,450
San Bernardino 490 $30,450
Riverside 490 $30,450
Arcade 310 $39,770
Roseville 310 $39,770
Sacramento 310 $39,770
Arden 310 $39,770
Fresno 190 $44,320
Stockton 90 $35,300
Lodi 90 $35,300
Thousand Oaks 80 $34,100
Oxnard 80 $34,100
Ventura 80 $34,100
Bakersfield 70 $34,390
Santa Rosa 70 $53,840
Fairfield 40 $23,450
Vallejo 40 $23,450
Salinas -2222 $43,810
Arroyo Grande -2222 $49,910
Paso Robles -2222 $49,910
San Luis Obispo -2222 $49,910
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 820 $36,910
Aurora 820 $36,910
Denver 820 $36,910
Colorado Springs 70 $45,600
Boulder 40 $38,570
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford 450 $53,710
West Hartford 450 $53,710
Hartford 450 $53,710
Stamford 310 $48,900
Norwalk 310 $48,900
Bridgeport 310 $48,900
New Haven 110 $56,500
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Miami 1770 $34,730
Fort Lauderdale 1770 $34,730
West Palm Beach 1770 $34,730
Orlando 1200 $42,930
Sanford 1200 $42,930
Kissimmee 1200 $42,930
Tampa 340 $33,910
St. Petersburg 340 $33,910
Clearwater 340 $33,910
Jacksonville 250 $32,730
Sarasota 100 $36,850
North Port 100 $36,850
Bradenton 100 $36,850
Fort Myers 90 $31,390
Cape Coral 90 $31,390
Naples 60 $32,820
Marco Island 60 $32,820
Immokalee 60 $32,820
Tallahassee 40 $36,620
Gainesville 40 $41,800
Deltona 30 $28,730
Daytona Beach 30 $28,730
Ormond Beach 30 $28,730
Port St. Lucie 30 $37,110
Winter Haven -2222 $36,220
Lakeland -2222 $36,220
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 1390 $42,510
Atlanta 1390 $42,510
Sandy Springs 1390 $42,510
Athens 50 $37,500
Clarke County 50 $37,500
Savannah 40 $44,510
Gainesville -2222 $36,100
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 540 $44,070
Lahaina 40 $50,330
Wailuku 40 $50,330
Kahului 40 $50,330
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 150 $38,280
Idaho Falls 30 $20,990
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 100 $29,570
Bloomington 70 $42,810
Rockford 50 $38,320
Peoria 40 $33,420
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Indianapolis 460 $34,810
Anderson 460 $34,810
Carmel 460 $34,810
Fort Wayne 90 $26,590
Bloomington 50 $27,560
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 130 $24,780
Des Moines 130 $24,780
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 80 $37,020
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 100 $41,120
Lexington 100 $41,120
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Metairie 310 $49,060
New Orleans 310 $49,060
Lafayette 60 $30,640
Bossier City 40 $30,870
Shreveport 40 $30,870
Baton Rouge -2222 $38,920
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 40 $36,180
Portland 40 $36,180
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 750 $42,710
Columbia 750 $42,710
Baltimore 750 $42,710
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town 50 $43,710
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Warren 710 $45,700
Dearborn 710 $45,700
Detroit 710 $45,700
Wyoming 200 $33,260
Grand Rapids 200 $33,260
Ann Arbor 90 $42,980
Lansing 90 $50,400
East Lansing 90 $50,400
Flint -2222 $53,090
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
North Mankato -2222 $42,280
Mankato -2222 $42,280
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 40 $34,830
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 70 $40,710
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Billings 60 $29,720
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 80 $40,760
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 2340 $56,680
Henderson 2340 $56,680
Las Vegas 2340 $56,680
Reno 270 $36,130
Carson City 50 $36,820
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester -2222 $36,980
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Atlantic City 470 $62,690
Hammonton 470 $62,690
Trenton 80 $62,990
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 100 $36,970
Santa Fe 40 $33,520
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Niagara Falls 400 $46,780
Buffalo 400 $46,780
Cheektowaga 400 $46,780
Syracuse 270 $42,970
Rochester 160 $46,300
Schenectady 120 $40,860
Troy 120 $40,860
Albany 120 $40,860
Binghamton 60 $19,260
Ithaca 50 $52,280
Kingston -2222 $30,260
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 140 $42,040
Chapel Hill 80 $34,410
Durham 80 $34,410
Asheville 60 $30,540
Winston 50 $36,560
Salem 50 $36,560
High Point 50 $42,560
Greensboro 50 $42,560
Wilmington 40 $21,580
Hickory -2222 $35,800
Lenoir -2222 $35,800
Morganton -2222 $35,800
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 90 $40,770
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Elyria 260 $35,400
Cleveland 260 $35,400
Columbus 180 $35,810
Dayton 60 $35,070
Akron 60 $46,220
Canton 30 $18,720
Massillon 30 $18,720
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 400 $25,460
Tulsa -2222 $41,030
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Eugene 60 $34,480
Medford 40 $38,050
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 490 $38,950
Carlisle 170 $35,720
Harrisburg 170 $35,720
Lancaster 80 $28,500
State College 70 $32,370
Erie 40 $35,760
Hazleton 30 $23,610
Scranton 30 $23,610
Wilkes 30 $23,610
Barre 30 $23,610
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 400 $24,560
Carolina 400 $24,560
San Juan 400 $24,560
Ponce 30 $20,060
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 240 $29,870
North Charleston 160 $26,830
Charleston 160 $26,830
Mauldin 80 $34,860
Greenville 80 $34,860
Anderson 80 $34,860
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 1170 $38,760
Murfreesboro 1170 $38,760
Davidson 1170 $38,760
Nashville 1170 $38,760
Knoxville 150 $38,890
Johnson City -2222 $44,280
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dallas 1480 $40,460
Fort Worth 1480 $40,460
Arlington 1480 $40,460
Houston 1130 $39,920
The Woodlands 1130 $39,920
Sugar Land 1130 $39,920
Austin 720 $48,190
Round Rock 720 $48,190
New Braunfels 380 $37,940
San Antonio 380 $37,940
El Paso 130 $41,160
Temple 80 $23,040
Killeen 80 $23,040
Edinburg 80 $41,990
McAllen 80 $41,990
Mission 80 $41,990
Odessa 60 $54,050
Abilene 40 $24,050
Laredo 30 $36,310
Lubbock 30 $47,290
Corpus Christi -2222 $32,330
Denison -2222 $48,500
Sherman -2222 $48,500
College Station -2222 $53,250
Bryan -2222 $53,250
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 810 $36,170
Orem 310 $36,610
Provo 310 $36,610
St. George 40 $-1,111
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 40 $31,200
Burlington 40 $31,200
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 420 $37,210
Charlottesville 60 $33,810
Roanoke 30 $29,130
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 950 $44,320
Tacoma 950 $44,320
Seattle 950 $44,320
Spokane Valley 70 $37,910
Spokane 70 $37,910
Richland 40 $-1,111
Kennewick 40 $-1,111
Mount Vernon -2222 $35,230
Anacortes -2222 $35,230
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston -2222 $29,170
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 160 $35,250
Waukesha 160 $35,250
Milwaukee 160 $35,250
Madison 60 $45,690
Green Bay 40 $30,580

Most Popular Industries for :
Audio and Video Technicians

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Performing Arts And Sports 6,790 15% $34,920
Movie And Music 6,700 15% $39,280
Rental And Lease 6,370 14% $37,450
Education 5,690 12% $36,490
Media And Broadcasting 4,740 10% $36,550
Office Services And Staffing 3,790 8% $40,560
Professional And Technical Services 2,470 5% $42,010
Hotel And Accomodation 1,860 4% $48,430
Government 1,530 3% $42,430
Non-profit 790 1% $31,600
Durable Goods Wholesale 520 1% $41,390
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Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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