|Recommended Degree Level||Certificate or Higher|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||14,280|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||2.9%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||550|
- 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
Introduces the daily work of a sound technician. Created for the US Dept. of Labor.
A Day in the Life
Your day as a sound engineering technician begins on the set of a major Hollywood movie. Here, you are simply called a sound tech. You work with the lead sound engineer to set up recording equipment for the day. It is your responsibility to ensure that all of the sound recordists that you work with are using the right equipment and know where they should be for each shot. Before shooting begins for the day, you review recording requirements with the film's sound editor.
Throughout the day, you are responsible for capturing audio and adjusting audio levels on the set. You prepare ahead for each shot as it will be time-consuming and expensive to re-record audio if you don't get it right the first time. You finish recording sound for a major action sequence. You see that a quieter, indoor sequence will be shot after lunch. You grab a quick sandwich while adjusting your equipment on the sound stage. You make sure that your mixing board is configured to capture the best possible sound given the environment and nature of the scene.
At the end of the day, you make backup copies of all the audio that you recorded today. Shooting ended early, so you sit down with your fellow sound engineers to review the day's material. You clean up one audio track that has some unnecessary background noise. Before you head home, you carefully label all of the audio discs so that the sound editor knows exactly which scenes they will be matched with later in the editing process.
A few weeks later, shooting for the movie ends. You now turn all of the audio you have recorded over to the sound editor. You assist the editor as they match the recorded tracks to the movie. In one scene, a large locomotive rushes by, but the sound that your recorded doesn't match up correctly. You search audio archives for stock sound that can be plugged into this scene. Although it can be tedious work, it is essential that every frame of the movie matches up with the sound that you have recorded.
After several more weeks of work, the audio track for the movie is ready. You watch a rough copy of the movie with the other individuals in the sound department. You are able to go home with a sense of pride in the work that you completed on the film.
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.
Full-time versus part-time:
Most sound technicians work full-time schedules. However, you may be able to work part-time on freelance jobs.
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.
- 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.