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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 Technicians picture    Sound Technicians image

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:

  • Soundwaves
  • Analog and digital recording consoles
  • Microphones
  • 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

Certification is not required, but can serve as a valuable credential to establish recognition of experience and competence in the field. There are several certifications available to sound technicians, including from The Society of Broadcast Engineers. This society offers a multitude of certification options for the broadcasting field, two of which include:
  1. The Certified Audio Engineer (CAE)
  2. The Certified Video Engineer (CVE)
At least five years of experience is required, although there are other alternatives, such as possession of a bachelor's degree, that can offset some of the experience needed. Other certifying organizations include Avid Technology, Inc. and the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies. Most of these certifications require candidates to take and pass a qualifying examination.

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
  • SoundWave
  • The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE)

Sources:

  1. 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
  2. Certificate in Audio Recording, The University of Missouri-St. Louis, no date. http://audiorecordingcertificate.com/about.
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Sound Engineering Technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes274014.htm
  6. Master Sound, Los Angeles Recording School. http://learn.lafilm.edu/recording-arts/?src=180FUSIONLAR&gclid=COXC2ZaZucoCFQZsfgod9_gHkw
  7. 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
  8. Live Sound, McNally Smith College of Music. http://www.mcnallysmith.edu/degrees-programs/majors-areas-of-study/live-sound
  9. Institute of Audio Research, Institute of Audio Research. http://www.audioschool.com/landing-pages/sound-education?gclid=CNSI5JWiucoCFUNgfgodOCkO1A
  10. Arts and Entertainment, Valencia College. http://valenciacollege.edu/asdegrees/arts/mpt.cfm

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Sound Technicians and Audio Engineers

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Sound Technicians and Audio Engineers jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 40 $37,450
Birmingham 40 $37,450
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 100 $42,970
Mesa 100 $42,970
Phoenix 100 $42,970
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 3340 $62,610
Long Beach 3340 $62,610
Los Angeles 3340 $62,610
Hayward 390 $75,450
San Francisco 390 $75,450
Oakland 390 $75,450
Carlsbad 190 $64,420
San Diego 190 $64,420
Santa Clara 80 $48,500
Sunnyvale 80 $48,500
San Jose 80 $48,500
Fresno 40 $22,420
Sacramento 40 $42,590
Arcade 40 $42,590
Roseville 40 $42,590
Arden 40 $42,590
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 170 $57,760
Aurora 170 $57,760
Denver 170 $57,760
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hartford 200 $48,660
East Hartford 200 $48,660
West Hartford 200 $48,660
Norwalk 100 N/A
Bridgeport 100 N/A
Stamford 100 N/A
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fort Lauderdale 250 $32,150
Miami 250 $32,150
West Palm Beach 250 $32,150
Bradenton 30 $20,960
North Port 30 $20,960
Sarasota 30 $20,960
St. Petersburg N/A $33,640
Clearwater N/A $33,640
Tampa N/A $33,640
Kissimmee N/A $40,370
Sanford N/A $40,370
Orlando N/A $40,370
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 400 $38,160
Sandy Springs 400 $38,160
Atlanta 400 $38,160
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 30 $46,740
Carmel 30 $46,740
Indianapolis 30 $46,740
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Orleans 190 N/A
Metairie 190 N/A
Bossier City N/A $17,920
Shreveport N/A $17,920
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 30 $35,630
Portland 30 $35,630
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 180 $52,880
Columbia 180 $52,880
Baltimore 180 $52,880
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 70 $40,010
Warren 70 $40,010
Detroit 70 $40,010
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise N/A $71,150
Henderson N/A $71,150
Las Vegas N/A $71,150
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 60 $58,610
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Niagara Falls 40 $23,290
Cheektowaga 40 $23,290
Buffalo 40 $23,290
Schenectady 30 N/A
Troy 30 N/A
Albany 30 N/A
Rochester N/A $54,400
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cleveland 40 $48,740
Elyria 40 $48,740
Dayton N/A $55,430
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 100 $40,830
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 40 $23,700
Carolina 40 $23,700
San Juan 40 $23,700
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 390 $53,960
Murfreesboro 390 $53,960
Davidson 390 $53,960
Nashville 390 $53,960
Knoxville N/A $31,720
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dallas 130 $39,630
Fort Worth 130 $39,630
Arlington 130 $39,630
Sugar Land 120 $30,610
The Woodlands 120 $30,610
Houston 120 $30,610
Round Rock 50 $45,940
Austin 50 $45,940
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 220 $18,410
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 110 $49,040
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Seattle 270 $71,330
Bellevue 270 $71,330
Tacoma 270 $71,330
Spokane Valley N/A $43,160
Spokane N/A $43,160
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis N/A $71,780
Waukesha N/A $71,780
Milwaukee N/A $71,780

Most Popular Industries for :
Sound Technicians and Audio Engineers

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

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Movie And Music 9,220 57% $50,460
Media And Broadcasting 2,650 16% $42,110
Performing Arts And Sports 1,440 8% $38,330
Professional And Technical Services 850 5% $47,150
Education 460 2% $37,870
Hotel And Accomodation 310 1% $60,610
Rental And Lease 250 1% $39,340
Restaurant 230 1% $26,590
Non-profit 210 1% $33,750
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
 
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Sound Technicians and Audio Engineers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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