Audio Technician Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

About this article
Audio technicians made a median annual salary of about $41,000. Is this salary worth the training and educational requirements? Learn about job descriptions, career outlook and salary information to see if becoming an audio technician is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of an Audio Technician Career

Audio technicians install, operate and maintain audio equipment including microphones, sound boards and mixing equipment. Read on to learn about more pros and cons for this career and find out if it is the right one for you.

Pros of Being an Audio Technician
Only a high school diploma (or the equivalent) is needed for some jobs*
Advancement opportunities are available (supervisor or chief technician)*
Employment available in a variety of industries (movie companies, schools, offices, etc.)*
Increase in job opportunities is on track with average for all occupations (9% expected 2012-2022)*

Cons of Being an Audio Technician
Competition for jobs*
Long hours for some technicians*
Pressure to meet deadlines (for movie technicians)*
Versatility is needed for best job prospects*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Essential Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Audio technicians have to install, operate and repair audio equipment in a variety of settings. They usually answer to supervisors or clients concerning audio systems and must comply with all safety standards concerning electronic equipment. They might diagnose issues, troubleshoot technical problems, upgrade and maintain systems.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

For the decade 2012-2022, the BLS projected a 9% employment growth for broadcast and sound engineering technicians, which is considered to be fast as average. Schools, hotels, businesses and hospitals need these technicians to maintain equipment, which contributes to the employment growth. Demand for audio technicians is due to increases in the use of multimedia presentations, recordings, video conferences and digital signs. Unfortunately, the large pool of applicants is expected to drive up competition for jobs.

The BLS stated that the middle half of audio and video equipment technicians made annual salaries ranging from about $30,000-$58,000 in May 2014. During that same time, these professionals made a median annual wage of about $41,000, and the top ten percent made at least $74,000.

Requirements for Audio Technicians

To be an audio technician, you need to at least have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Most employers ask for applicants who have at least some vocational training or education in audio equipment and electronics. Some audio technicians have a certificate or an associate's degree in addition to work experience.

As part of your training, you'll want to gain practical work experience with audio cables, electrical systems and safety standards. A high school audiovisual (AV) club or a college vocational program can be a source of valuable hands-on learning.

Useful Skills

If you want to succeed as an audio technician, you need to have these following qualities:

  • Enjoy working with computers and technology
  • Hand-eye coordination (to set up equipment)
  • Communication skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Ability to work with and repair electrical systems or equipment
  • Willing to keep up with new equipment and technology
  • Good customer service skills

Job Postings from Real Employers

Some of the most common requirements employers have for prospective audio technicians are good customer service skills, experience in the field and good communication skills. Many job postings combined both audio and visual job duties for technicians. and had these following job postings in April 2012:

  • An electronics company in Michigan asked for an audio technician who could repair stereo receivers, mixers, keyboards and more. Applicants needed to have good customer service and communication skills. The employer also preferred applicants who could repair open reel recorders.
  • A company in Arizona needed a lead AV technician to set up audio and video systems, install equipment and modify systems. The applicants needed to have at least four years of work experience with commercial audio and videoconferencing systems. Applicants also must have a high school diploma, but additional training was preferred.
  • An electronics company in California sought an audio repair technician. Applicants needed to have an associate's degree and one year of work experience. The applicants must be able to repair McIntosh and Marantz audio equipment and have good communication skills and knowledge of computer programs.
  • A hotel in Texas asked for an AV technician who could maintain, install and troubleshoot all audiovisual equipment and systems in meeting rooms. Applicants needed to have good communication skills, since they would speak with both management and customers.

How to Stand Out

One way you can stand out is by obtaining a certification. Certification can show future employers that you have gone above and beyond regular vocational training. Employers can see that you have met recognized industry standards. Various audio equipment vendors offer certification.

Another way to stand out is to receive training in visual equipment as well. Many job postings asked for audiovisual (AV) technicians, and the BLS states that technicians with the best job prospects can work in a variety of fields. You can gain experience in other fields by attending postsecondary or vocational classes that have hands-on learning.

Alternative Career Paths

Broadcast Technician

If you are more interested in maintaining equipment used for television or radio broadcasts, such as transmitters, you might consider a career as a broadcast engineer. Broadcast technicians have educational and training requirements similar to audio technicians. However, some of them have an associate's or bachelor's degree, in order to stay competitive. In May 2011, broadcast technicians made the annual average salary of about $37,000. The BLS also projected that these workers would have a 9% employment growth for 2010-2020.

Film and Video Editor

If you want a career with a higher earning potential than an audio technician, you might want to consider becoming a film and video editor. Film and video editors record and put together images for productions and audiences. They usually work with directors or other supervisors, in order to create an ideal project. Most of these workers have a bachelor's degree and some years of experience. The BLS states that these workers made a median annual salary of about $53,000 in May 2011. However, the BLS also projected for 2010-2020 that film and video editors would have only an expected 5% increase in employment opportunities, which is slower than average.

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American University

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Purdue University Global

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Colorado Christian University

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Penn Foster High School

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