Schools and Education
|Recommended Degree Level||Associate|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||31,640|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||3.6%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||1,380|
- Most broadcast engineer positions require an associate's degree from an accredited school.
- Some internships may be available to high school graduates and GED certificate holders and may lead to full-time employment in smaller radio and television stations.
- A bachelor's degree in broadcast engineering or a related field can provide a competitive edge in the employment marketplace.
What you study:
Two-year associate's degree positions typically provide hands-on training in computerized editing, digitizing and recording techniques. Coursework may include any or all of the following subjects:
- Electrical engineering
- Electronics design and repair
- Physical science
- Radio frequencies and bandwidth basics
- Digital data structures
On-the-job training may be provided to augment the classroom experience in some broadcast engineering programs.
A short intro of the broadcasting engineer occupation. Produced for the US Dept of Labor.
A Day in the Life
In the course of a typical day as a broadcast engineer, you may begin with a recording session for a commercial, a news program or a radio segment. You will then synchronize, edit and prepare the audiovisual materials for broadcast using advanced technological equipment in the studio setting.
Depending on your workplace, you may take your productions from start to finish in a matter of hours and move on to the next project on your schedule. If you work as a radio broadcast engineer, you may have even less time to make corrections and adjustments and may rely on a time delay system to ensure the quality of your broadcast for your listeners.
Your job duties may include some or all of the following:
- Setting up and operating audio and video equipment
- Ongoing monitoring and adjustment of broadcasting equipment
- Recording sound and video in indoor and outdoor environments
- Editing and conversion of raw video and audio to create a finished production
- Synchronizing audio and video content streams
- Maintaining audio and video equipment
- Installing audiovisual setups on location
- Operating advanced transmitters for best picture clarity and sound fidelity
- Storing recordings for future use
You may also be responsible for setting up lighting and sound equipment in difficult outdoor conditions and for obtaining the best possible video and sound quality in a wide range of settings. At smaller radio and television broadcast stations, you may be asked to take on a wide range of additional activities in order to cover staffing needs as they arise.
Certifications and Licensing
Although licensing is not required to obtain a job as a broadcast engineering, voluntary certification programs are available from a variety of sources. Two of the most prestigious are the Society of Broadcast Engineers and InfoComm International; these certification bodies provide examination-based certificates that include the following:
- Certified Broadcast Networking Technician
- Certified Broadcast Networking Engineer
- Certified Broadcast Technologist
- Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer
- Certified Broadcast Television Engineer
- Certified Technology Specialist
Each of these certifications can be helpful in obtaining a position of responsibility with a radio or television station or other broadcast engineering company.
Full-time versus part-time:
Most broadcast engineering positions are full-time and require set hours of attendance. Shift work is commonplace in the broadcasting industry, and overtime, it may be required due to staffing shortages or increased demand for locally produced audiovisual content.
Broadcast engineers work in the fast-paced radio, television and recording industries to produce high quality video and audio productions for public broadcast or private distribution. These websites can provide additional information for those considering a career in broadcast engineering.
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook -- This government website provides comprehensive market data on jobs, salaries, educational requirements and other aspects of the broadcast engineering career field. The information provided on this website can allow aspiring broadcast engineers to make a more informed decision regarding their planned career path.
- National Association of Broadcasters -- The accepted authority in the broadcasting world, NAB provides advocacy services for broadcast engineers and provides current information on trends within the industry. NAB is also instrumental in providing educational opportunities and sponsoring conventions that allow broadcast professionals to connect and network more effectively.
- Society of Broadcast Engineers -- The SBE boasts over 5,500 members and is a nonprofit organization devoted to advancing the broadcast engineering field and providing educational and employment opportunities for its membership. SBE also offers certification services for members and non-members in a number of different broadcast engineering specialty fields.
- Broadcast Education Association -- Dedicated to the advancement of education throughout the broadcasting industry, BEA offers a wide range of programs and services designed for students and teachers in this modern technological field. BEA also offers scholarships and continuing education opportunities for students pursuing a degree program at a BEA member institution.
- InfoComm International Audiovisual -- Since its founding in 1939, InfoComm has been dedicated to promoting the audiovisual industry. An ANSI accredited standards organization, InfoComm also provides information on continuing education opportunities and offers certification options for professional broadcast engineers.
- U.S. Federal Communications Commission -- The FCC website provides information on the licensing process for radio and television broadcast stations and offers a wide range of data on the current state of broadcast communications within the U.S.