Broadcast and sound engineers set up, test, operate, and repair electronic equipment used to broadcast radio, television, and cable programming. Broadcast engineers also create motion picture soundtracks, operate sound for live events and concerts, and record music in studios. Broadcast engineers, who are part of the larger field of electrical engineering, must be familiar with audio engineering, computer engineering, and radio frequency engineering.
Responsibilities and Duties
A broadcast engineer is required for each broadcasting station, though some engineers work for multiple stations or for an entire broadcasting group. Maintaining digital broadcast automation systems, digital recording equipment, and radio towers are among the responsibilities. For radio and television broadcasts, broadcast engineers also control the clarity, signal strength, and range of sounds and colors. Studio work, transmitter work, and remote broadcasts are all possibilities.
Broadcasting has gone digital in recent years, saving the industry time and money while also simplifying the broadcast engineer’s daily tasks. Although most broadcast studios and control rooms are digital, the engineer must still be familiar with analog techniques.
Facts about Broadcast Engineer Jobs
Broadcast engineering jobs are in high demand, with higher-paying positions typically located in large metro areas. According to the US Department of Labor, 38,000 people worked as broadcast technicians in the United States in 2006, and the number is expected to rise. Indeed, through 2016, it is expected to grow faster than the average for all professions. Those with a diverse set of skills and knowledge are more likely to find work than those with narrow skill sets. Broadcast engineers earned a median salary of $30,690 USD in 2006, while sound engineers earned a median salary of $43,010 USD.
Technical Skills for Broadcast Engineers
Although requirements vary station, broadcast engineers generally have a broad understanding of technology, ranging from modern digital methods to traditional broadcast systems. Acoustic engineering, broadcast automation, communications equipment, production switchers, and RF satellite linking are some of the areas of expertise.
Broadcast Engineer Education Requirements
A bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, telecommunications, computer information systems, or computer engineering is usually required for broadcast engineer positions. In the United States, a job candidate may need an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or a master’s degree, depending on the level of technical expertise. In the United States, becoming a broadcast engineer does not require a license.
The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE), the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), and the Association of Public Radio Engineers are all professional organizations in the field of broadcast engineering (APRE).