- 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.
|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.|
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.
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.
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||50||0.01%|
|AR||Little Rock - North Little Rock - Conway||$37,550||40||0.01%|
|AZ||Phoenix - Mesa - Glendale||$36,500||40||0.00%|
|CA||Los Angeles - Long Beach - Glendale (Metro Area)||$68,900||2,470||0.06%|
|CA||Oakland - Fremont - Hayward (Metro Area)||$46,280||110||0.01%|
|CA||Sacramento - Arden - Arcade - Roseville||$37,480||90||0.01%|
|CA||San Diego - Carlsbad - San Marcos||$65,710||110||0.01%|
|CA||San Francisco - San Mateo - Redwood City (Metro Area)||$39,330||310||0.03%|
|CA||San Jose - Sunnyvale - Santa Clara||$79,210||80||0.01%|
|CA||Santa Ana - Anaheim - Irvine (Metro Area)||$62,990||280||0.02%|
|CO||Denver - Aurora - Broomfield||$45,730||120||0.01%|
|CT||Bridgeport - Stamford - Norwalk||$35,970||60||0.01%|
|CT||Hartford - West Hartford - East Hartford||$27,530||150||0.03%|
|DC||Washington - Arlington - Alexandria (Metro Area)||$53,500||270||0.01%|
|FL||Cape Coral - Fort Myers||$31,920||30||0.02%|
|FL||Fort Lauderdale - Pompano Beach - Deerfield Beach (Metro Area)||$35,280||180||0.03%|
|FL||Miami - Miami Beach - Kendall (Metro Area)||$36,310||200||0.02%|
|FL||Orlando - Kissimmee - Sanford||$32,580||150||0.01%|
|FL||Tampa - St. Petersburg - Clearwater||$36,660||90||0.01%|
|GA||Atlanta - Sandy Springs - Marietta||$37,680||210||0.01%|
|IL||Chicago - Joliet - Naperville (Metro Area)||$40,040||410||0.01%|
|IL||Lake County - Kenosha County (Metro Area)||$40,090||40||0.01%|
|IN||Indianapolis - Carmel||$39,940||N/A||N/A|
|KY||Louisville - Jefferson County||$28,530||40||0.01%|
|LA||New Orleans - Metairie - Kenner||$51,050||60||0.01%|
|LA||Shreveport - Bossier City||$54,970||N/A||N/A|
|MA||Boston - Cambridge - Quincy (Metro Area)||$35,920||180||0.01%|
|MD||Baltimore - Towson||$47,710||150||0.01%|
|MD||Bethesda - Rockville - Frederick (Metro Area)||$43,810||100||0.02%|
|MI||Warren - Troy - Farmington Hills (Metro Area)||$31,450||60||0.01%|
|MN||Minneapolis - St. Paul - Bloomington||$50,850||130||0.01%|
|NC||Charlotte - Gastonia - Rock Hill||$35,330||190||0.02%|
|NC||Greensboro - High Point||$18,580||40||0.01%|
|NC||Raleigh - Cary||$31,320||N/A||N/A|
|NJ||Camden (Metro Area)||N/A||40||0.01%|
|NJ||Edison - New Brunswick (Metro Area)||$35,910||60||0.01%|
|NJ||Newark - Union (Metro Area)||$33,190||70||0.01%|
|NV||Las Vegas - Paradise||$69,170||180||0.02%|
|NY||Buffalo - Niagara Falls||$26,160||50||0.01%|
|NY||Nassau - Suffolk (Metro Area)||$38,250||70||0.01%|
|NY||New York - White Plains - Wayne (Metro Area)||$55,690||2,650||0.05%|
|OH||Cincinnati - Middletown||$35,650||30||0.00%|
|OH||Cleveland - Elyria - Mentor||$34,270||30||0.00%|
|OR||Portland - Vancouver - Hillsboro||$33,660||60||0.01%|
|PA||Philadelphia (Metro Area)||$41,060||200||0.01%|
|PR||San Juan - Caguas - Guaynabo||$40,520||30||0.00%|
|RI||Providence - Fall River - Warwick||$24,050||40||0.01%|
|TN||Nashville - Davidson - Murfreesboro - Franklin||$37,330||180||0.02%|
|TX||Austin - Round Rock - San Marcos||$31,900||130||0.02%|
|TX||Dallas - Plano - Irving (Metro Area)||$36,310||160||0.01%|
|TX||Houston - Sugar Land - Baytown||$25,890||210||0.01%|
|TX||San Antonio - New Braunfels||$25,120||N/A||N/A|
|VA||Virginia Beach - Norfolk - Newport News||$35,920||40||0.01%|
|WA||Seattle - Bellevue - Everett (Metro Area)||$44,950||210||0.02%|
|WI||Milwaukee - Waukesha - West Allis||$37,270||60||0.01%|