Audio-Video Technicians and Operators
|Recommended Degree Level||Certificate or Higher|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||54,310|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||3.9%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||2,560|
- Employer requirements for AV techs and operators vary widely.
- Most employers prefer that technicians hold an Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree in sound or video engineering or have completed training at a vocational school. Some employers may require that you hold a Bachelor in Arts (B.A.) degree.
What you study:
While pursuing training as an AV technician, you'll likely study all of the following:
- Intro to Communications
- Sound Engineering
- Video Engineering
- Sound and Video Editing
- Broadcast Technologies
- Intro to Marketing
Shows a brief overview of what audio-visual techs and operators do. Created for the US Dept. of Labor.
A Day in the Life
Your job as an audio-visual technician, or AV tech, keeps you on your toes. You occasionally fill in at a local TV station, where you are called a broadcast technician, but your primary place of employment is a private company. Today, you arrive at work before the company opens. There's a big presentation in the main conference hall this morning, and you need to set up microphones, prepare the projector and get ready to make audio and video recordings of the presentation. You work with another AV specialist to complete setup tasks and test sound and video in the room.
About 30 minutes before the presentation is slated to begin, the president of the company comes in to make sure you've worked out the timing for his slideshow. As he gives his speech, you'll make adjustments to ensure that the slide showing matches the subject about which he's talking. You looked over his speech outline last night so that you are prepared to make any adjustments needed.
Your partner goes through a sound check with the president while you calibrate the video equipment. One of your primary duties is to record all major company presentations. You need to make sure that you've got the lighting right and that the camera is focused on the speaker. You notice that the camera tripod is squeaking, so you lubricate it to avoid noise during the presentation. Taking care of all company AV equipment is part of your job.
The presentation goes well. You make sure that the video components of the presentation are on the mark with the president's speech. You make adjustments to the video recording equipment as necessary. After the audience has filtered out, the president thanks you for your help. You pack up the microphone, video camera and cables. You take the camera's memory card back to your office so that you can upload the video of the presentation to your computer.
After lunch, you help a sales department manager set up a DVD presentation in the main conference room. He doesn't need your assistance during the presentation, but you'll come back as he's wrapping up to ensure that all video equipment is turned off and properly stored. You work on making basic edits to the video of this morning's presentation for the rest of the afternoon. You publish clips of the presentation to your company's website and head home to enjoy a relaxing evening.
Certifications and Licensing
While no certification is necessary in order to become an AV technician, many individuals pursue the Certified Technology Specialists, or CTS, designation, which is offered by InfoComm International.
AV technicians who are employed in corporate offices and media companies tend to have decent career advancement opportunities. You may be able to ascend to a position as an AV manager or broadcast engineering specialist.
As an AV tech, you may work for a corporation, nonprofit organization or media company. You can also work for yourself as a freelancer and tackle only those projects in which you are interested.
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook for Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians: This publication offers information about a wide variety of AV careers. Students who are interested in pursuing training as AV techs and operators can learn more about career projections and salaries in this field but should also consult websites that offer a more well-rounded view of AV tech careers.
- Audio Engineering Society: AES's site provides information about sound engineering conferences, training and education. Those individuals who are interested in working primarily as audio techs can use the site's community area to network and find jobs.
- The National Association of Audio Video Technicians: This LinkedIn-based group provides a wealth of resources for both experienced AV professionals and students who are interested in careers in this field. Use the site to get insider tips on AV technician jobs and to network with other professionals.