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Sound Technicians

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Sound Technicians

Sound Technicians


Education

What’s Needed:

  • At the very least, you must hold a high school diploma in order to secure a job as a sound technician.
  • In general, most sound technicians hold an associate degree or have completed a training certificate at a technical college.
  • You can also complete a bachelor’s in audio engineering if you would like to work in a supervisory position in this field.

 

What you study:

You will learn all of the following while studying in a sound engineering program:

 

  • Principles of Audio Engineering
  • In-line Recording
  • Multi-track Recording
  • Principles of Sound Editing
  • Sound for Film
  • Sound for Radio

 

What courses you’ll take

Below are examples of courses that you’ll likely take as a sound or audio technician student.

Course Studies Purpose
Survey of Audio Technology History of audio production in analog and digital forms; major inventions and innovations from the 1800s to the present; technological components of a modern sound studio, including recording equipment and sound systems; basic principles of sound quality and mixing; professions within the audio engineering industry. Provide a broad overview of the development and theory of sound production.
Acoustics and Auditory Science Core concepts of acoustics (the scientific study of sound) and psychoacoustics (the study of sound perception); sound frequencies and dynamic range in audio recordings; applicability of audio science to the production of professional recordings and mixes. Offer a scientific perspective on sound and its properties.
Critical Listening and Audio Appreciation Musical genres and production styles from the early twentieth century to the present day; practical exercises for training the ear to pick out individual instruments and effects, to detect on-key and off-key pitch, to identify sound frequency ranges, and to note edit points within a recording. Train students to recognize and analyze the subtleties of sound recordings.
Studio Sound Production Structure of studio recording sessions; roles of sound technicians, producers and assistants in the recording process; flow and processing of audio signals; studio acoustics; microphone types and their applications; automated and manual operation of an audio console. Prepare students to properly record audio in a studio setting.
Live and On-Location Recording Planning and execution of recording systems for concerts and other live events; techniques and equipment for signal flow between digital and analog instruments, consoles and sound systems; tips and techniques for mixing and recording audio in real time. Get students ready to organize the technical aspects of live sound recording.
Digital Audio Workstations Non-linear editing systems (those involving nondestructive editing of digital files, rather than recordings on tapes and other analog media) on PC and Mac operating systems; common audio file formats; file organization and disc space management; electronic synthesis of instruments and effects. Enable students to edit and manage sound recordings in electronic formats.
Mixing and Mastering Putting the finishing touches on a recording through the use of precise mixing and filtering techniques, dynamic range adjustment (altering the differences between loud and quiet components of a recording), spatialization (editing sound to give it a three-dimensional impression) and other digital effects. Ready students to engineer polished CD-quality audio.


Video Overview

Introduces the daily work of a sound technician. Created for the US Dept. of Labor.


Certifications and Licensing

No formal certification is needed to secure a job as a sound technician. However, holding a vocational degree in this field will demonstrate your competence to potential employers.


Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time:

Most sound technicians work full-time schedules. However, you may be able to work part-time on freelance jobs.

Work location:

As a sound engineer, you may work in a studio environment, on a film or TV set, or at live events. You can generally choose the types of settings in which you would like to work.


Recommended Websites

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians: True to its name, this publication from the U.S. Department of Labor provides information about career prospects in the field of sound engineering. The handbook relies on statistical data, so it’s important to consult other sources that offer a well-rounded view of careers in this field.
  • Audio Engineering Society: AES is the leading professional organization in this field. The AES website offers a wealth of news about industry developments. Individuals who are new to this field will find information about recording standards particularly useful.
  • AES Education: The education section of the main AES site provides invaluable resources for students in this field. Those who are interested in beginning careers as sound technicians can research school programs and join the association as a student member. The student blog is a particularly valuable resource for individuals who have little professional sound recording experience.


Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

State City / Region Typical Salary Salary Range Job Count % of All Jobs
AL Birmingham – Hoover $28,900 $16K – $76K 50 0.01%
AR Little Rock – North Little Rock – Conway $37,550 $19K – $73K 40 0.01%
AZ Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale $36,500 $26K – $76K 40 0.00%
AZ Tucson $35,970 $20K – $69K 80 0.02%
CA Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area) $68,900 $31K – $121K 2,470 0.06%
CA Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area) $46,280 $30K – $113K 110 0.01%
CA Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville $37,480 $30K – $89K 90 0.01%
CA San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos $65,710 $20K – $109K 110 0.01%
CA San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area) $39,330 $22K – $92K 310 0.03%
CA San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara $79,210 $18K – $144K 80 0.01%
CA Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area) $62,990 $43K – $75K 280 0.02%
CO Colorado Springs $67,030 $26K – $76K N/A N/A
CO Denver – Aurora – Broomfield $45,730 $19K – $72K 120 0.01%
CT Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk $35,970 $18K – $58K 60 0.01%
CT Hartford – West Hartford – East Hartford $27,530 $18K – $88K 150 0.03%
DC Washington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area) $53,500 $31K – $93K 270 0.01%
FL Cape Coral – Fort Myers $31,920 $17K – $65K 30 0.02%
FL Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area) $35,280 $26K – $52K 180 0.03%
FL Jacksonville $68,440 $35K – $97K 60 0.01%
FL Miami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area) $36,310 $24K – $58K 200 0.02%
FL Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford $32,580 $22K – $54K 150 0.01%< td>
FL Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater $36,660 $31K – $81K 90 0.01%
GA Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta $37,680 $19K – $94K 210 0.01%
IL Chicago – Joliet – Naperville (Metro Area) $40,040 $25K – $61K 410 0.01%
IL Lake County – Kenosha County (Metro Area) $40,090 $19K – $70K 40 0.01%
IN Indianapolis – Carmel $39,940 $22K – $79K N/A N/A
KY Louisville – Jefferson County $28,530 $16K – $63K 40 0.01%
LA New Orleans – Metairie – Kenner $51,050 $24K – $103K 60 0.01%
LA Shreveport – Bossier City $54,970 $29K – $88K N/A N/A
MA Boston – Cambridge – Quincy (Metro Area) $35,920 $22K – $75K 180 0.01%
MD Baltimore – Towson $47,710 $28K – $99K 150 0.01%
MD Bethesda – Rockville – Frederick (Metro Area) $43,810 $26K – $100K 100 0.02%
MI Warren – Troy – Farmington Hills (Metro Area) $31,450 $22K – $100K 60 0.01%
MN Minneapolis – St. Paul – Bloomington $50,850 $25K – $83K 130 0.01%
MO Kansas City $34,760 $19K – $72K 50 0.01%
MO St. Louis $48,540 $26K – $75K N/A N/A
NC Charlotte – Gastonia – Rock Hill $35,330 $26K – $52K 190 0.02%
NC Greensboro – High Point $18,580 $16K – $28K 40 0.01%
NC Raleigh – Cary $31,320 $26K – $99K N/A N/A
NJ Camden (Metro Area) N/A N/A – N/A 40 0.01%
NJ Edison – New Brunswick (Metro Area) $35,910 $32K – $49K 60 0.01%
NJ Newark – Union (Metro Area) $33,190 $26K – $71K 70 0.01%
NM Albuquerque $36,450 $22K – $69K N/A N/A
NV Las Vegas – Paradise $69,170 $51K – $117K 180 0.02%
NY Buffalo – Niagara Falls $26,160 $16K – $83K 50 0.01%
NY Nassau – Suffolk (Metro Area) $38,250 $25K – $89K 70 0.01%
NY New York – White Plains – Wayne (Metro Area) $55,690 $27K – $110K 2,650 0.05%
NY Rochester $48,060 $36K – $90K 30 0.01%
OH Akron $28,400 $21K – $58K N/A N/A
OH Cincinnati – Middletown $35,650 $24K – $63K 30 0.00%
OH Cleveland – Elyria – Mentor $34,270 $25K – $68K 30 0.00%
OR Portland – Vancouver – Hillsboro $33,660 $23K – $64K 60 0.01%
PA Philadelphia (Metro Area) $41,060 $22K – $87K 200 0.01%
PA Pittsburgh $63,350 $34K – $98K 90 0.01%
PR San Juan – Caguas – Guaynabo $40,520 $17K – $61K 30 0.00%
RI Providence – Fall River – Warwick $24,050 $20K – $47K 40 0.01%
TN Nashville – Davidson – Murfreesboro – Franklin $37,330 $22K – $59K 180 0.02%
TX Austin – Round Rock – San Marcos $31,900 $18K – $61K 130 0.02%
TX Dallas – Plano – Irving (Metro Area) $36,310 $19K – $127K 160 0.01%
TX Houston – Sugar Land – Baytown $25,890 $16K – $157K 210 0.01%
TX San Antonio – New Braunfels $25,120 $17K – $55K N/A N/A
VA Richmond N/A N/A – N/A 40 0.01%
VA Virginia Beach – Norfolk – Newport News $35,920 $18K – $73K 40 0.01%
WA Seattle – Bellevue – Everett (Metro Area) $44,950 $30K – $107K 210 0.02%
WI Milwaukee – Waukesha – West Allis $37,270 $26K – $58K 60 0.01%

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