To become a sound engineering technician, a Bachelor's degree or formal certificate in the field of audio production is usually required. Hands-on experience is also invaluable when advancing to higher positions. Such training is often best obtained by joining a production union in the film or live entertainment industry.
The responsibilities of this type of job are primarily concerned with operating sound recording and mixing equipment. This can be used to blend voices and music together for playback during movies, television, and recorded music, among other uses. It may also be utilized during live performances that require sound effects and sound amplification, such as sporting events and live theater productions. Those who become a sound engineering technician may perform a variety of tasks in their work. These include operating sound recording devices on a film set, mixing pre-recorded sounds into a movie or television track, and operating microphones and speakers during live events.
Typically, a high school education or the equivalent, as well as specialized training are required to become a sound engineering technician. Specialized courses may be obtained in the form of a trade specific program or an undergraduate degree in media arts or audio production. Some, more technical, jobs may also require a license to operate specific pieces of recording and broadcasting equipment.
Individuals who are certified during training to become a sound engineering technician are usually eligible for many entry-level recording positions. Such certificate programs usually require fewer credit hours and requirements than a Bachelor's degree. Training may focus on either live audio work or post-production audio, which teaches the elements of recording and editing sound for use in music, movies, and television. Certificate programs often also provide students the opportunity to gain experience in their field of study through internships at sound studios.
Bachelor's degrees are also available for sound engineering technicians. This type of study is generally more broad than a certificate program, and usually requires two to three times more credit, or study, hours. Courses may include audio work on television and movie productions, electronics engineering, sound effects training, and theater production. Individuals who complete these degree programs may seek mid-level management positions in the industry.
Once a certificate or degree in audio production has been obtained, sound engineering technicians may wish to join a union. The majority of theater, movie, and television industries are serviced by union members. These organizations can help new members network with production crews and find work. Many sound technicians work as freelance contractors, and are employed only for the duration of each particular project. Unions are very useful in helping these kinds of technicians learn about new jobs and maintain steady employment.