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Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians Job Outlook

Employment of broadcast and sound engineering technicians is expected to grow 10 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Growth is expected as businesses, schools, and radio and television stations demand new equipment to improve their audio and video capabilities.

As a result, employment of audio and visual equipment technicians is expected to grow 13 percent from 2010 to 2020. Audio and video equipment is in demand in many buildings, where technicians set up new equipment or work to upgrade and maintain old systems. More companies are increasing their video budgets, including increasing the use of video conferencing to reduce travel costs and communicate worldwide with other offices and clients.

An increase in the use of digital signage for schools, hospitals, and hotels also will lead to higher demand for audio and video equipment technicians.

Schools and universities are seeking to improve their audio and video capabilities to attract and keep the best students. They are building classrooms with interactive whiteboards and video equipment that allow teachers to give more interactive multimedia presentations and to record lectures.

Employment of broadcast technicians is expected to grow 9 percent from 2010 to 2020, while employment of sound engineering technicians is expected to grow 1 percent. The television and motion picture industry will continue to need technicians to improve the picture quality of shows and movies. The industry is installing the latest technologies, such as digital or 3D screens, in movie and home theaters and is converting existing theaters to new formats.

However, growth will be slowed by consolidation of radio and television stations and by technological improvements that will increase the productivity of technicians. Laborsaving advances, such as computer-controlled programming, may result in fewer broadcasting positions needed to produce the same number of programs.

Job Prospects

Competition for jobs will be strong. This occupation attracts many applicants who are interested in working with the latest technology and electronic equipment. Many applicants also are attracted to working in the radio and television industry.

Those looking for work in this industry will have the most job opportunities in smaller markets or stations. Those with hands-on experience with electronics or with work experience at a radio or television station will have the best job prospects. In addition, technicians are expected to be versatile and contribute to the set up, operation, and maintenance of equipment, whereas previously technicians typically specialized in one area.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition