Sound technicians are responsible for the audio that's being performed live or recorded for any type of show or event. In order to make this happen, they operate control panels and direct the operation of equipment to regulate sound range, signal strength, and clarity. In many cases, the sound is recorded, copied, and/or edited. The sounds they process may include music, voices, and special effects and they do their work for a variety of commercial and entertainment purposes.
Technicians also maintain and take care of their equipment, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In today's working environment, sound technicians need a good understanding of digital sound and must be comfortable using digital software to produce and edit it.
Sound Technician Schools
A diploma-based education can be important in gaining the skills and knowledge to work in the sound field, but also in developing practical experiences with different equipment types and in different venues. Some associate degree programs also can be found, and even though sound technician schools are available throughout the U.S., just a few of these example schools include:
- The Los Angeles Recording School: Located in the heart of Hollywood, the sound recording program offered at this school leads to an associate of arts degree. You also have the opportunity to bring your skills out of the classroom and into real-life use at the school's live venue, the Ivar Theatre.
- SAE Institute: In nine months, you can complete an audio technology diploma providing you with the fundamentals in sound technology at the SAE Institute. Seven campuses are available across the nation including in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles and others.
- McNally Smith College of Music: With three on-campus performance venues, this St. Paul, Minn., school gives students in its Live Sound program the ability to put their skills to real work, and has a diploma-based program that you can complete in 12 months.
- Institute of Audio Research: Based in New York City, this institute makes a nine-month diploma program in audio engineering and music production available. Lab components are essential to many lectures, and you also can turn to the school's career services to transition toward employment opportunities.
- Valencia College: A full associate degree program in sound and music technology is available through this Orlando, Fla., based school. Additionally, you can choose from three areas of specialization and go on to complete a bachelor's degree in electrical and computer engineering technology at the school.
Sound Technician Education Requirements
A college certificate or or non-degree award is typically needed to enter the sound engineering technician field, reports the BLS. These programs often can be found through sound technician schools and usually take several months to complete, while giving students hands-on experience. In a program, students could learn about:
- Analog and digital recording consoles
- Live audio engineering
- The music business as a whole
Sound technician training programs like these provide you with practical field experiences that could be key to making connections and building future opportunities. In addition to learning how to work public announcement systems in sound technician training programs, you should also learn how to maintain audio equipment and to provide sound to a venue, whether that's a stage, a theater or a studio.
Sound Tech and Audio Engineer Certifications
- The Certified Audio Engineer (CAE)
- The Certified Video Engineer (CVE)
Resources for Sound Technicians
- Audio Engineering Society
- Audio Check
- Avid Technology, Inc.
- National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET)
- Society of Broadcast Engineers
- Sound Studio and Audio Calculations
- The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE)
- Broadcast Sound Engineer and Technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/broadcast-and-sound-engineering-technicians.htm#tab-4
- Certificate in Audio Recording, The University of Missouri-St. Louis, no date. http://audiorecordingcertificate.com/about.
- Certified Audio Engineer® (CEA®) and Certified Video Engineer® (CEV®), The Society of Broadcast Engineers, no date. http://www.sbe.org/sections/CEA_and_CEV.php
- May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates United States, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#00-0000
- Sound Engineering Technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes274014.htm
- Master Sound, Los Angeles Recording School. http://learn.lafilm.edu/recording-arts/?src=180FUSIONLAR&gclid=COXC2ZaZucoCFQZsfgod9_gHkw
- SAE Institute Education, SAE Institute. http://myfuture.sae.edu/112.html?network=s&cid=88294278866&campaignid=267315626&adgroupid=17782244666&match=b&k=audio%20engineer%20school&placement=&device=c&adposition=1t2&source=501147&content=SFO&gclid=COW3-ZaZucoCFYlafgodmZcMqw
- Live Sound, McNally Smith College of Music. http://www.mcnallysmith.edu/degrees-programs/majors-areas-of-study/live-sound
- Institute of Audio Research, Institute of Audio Research. http://www.audioschool.com/landing-pages/sound-education?gclid=CNSI5JWiucoCFUNgfgodOCkO1A
- Arts and Entertainment, Valencia College. http://valenciacollege.edu/asdegrees/arts/mpt.cfm