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Broadcast Technicians

At a Glance

  • Work with microphones, cameras, tape recorders, and control panels
  • Some specialize in audio or video
  • Sometimes work on location, but mostly work indoors
  • May work evenings and weekends
  • Have an associate degree
  • Many are certified

Career summary

Broadcast technicians record or broadcast radio and television programs.

Broadcast technicians may also be called broadcast engineers.

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Most broadcast technicians work for radio and TV studios. They are in charge of equipment used to record and broadcast radio and television shows. This equipment includes:

Technicians install, set up, test, and operate this equipment. When broadcasting shows, they operate equipment that controls the quality of the sound and picture. On news programs, technicians operate controls that shift from studio to on-the-scene reporting. They switch between local and satellite sources to blend national and local coverage of a story. Before broadcasting a scheduled program, technicians ensure that signals work properly.

Technicians decide what equipment to use to record programs. They review the script so they know when to switch cameras and other equipment. They also insert commercial breaks. 

Some broadcast technicians work for news shows and drive vans to the location of the news event. They talk to reporters and camera operators to determine how to set up the equipment. They set up equipment to record and transmit clear signals back to the studio. They also use computer programs to edit audio and video recordings.

In large stations, technicians may specialize in:

In small stations, broadcast technicians perform various duties. Experienced technicians may teach trainees how to use equipment.

Broadcast technicians maintain a log of all programs aired or recorded. They review the log before broadcasting begins. Technicians file the log with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Some technicians schedule shows. They may also write reports for station officials describing past and future broadcasts.

Related careers

This career is part of the Arts, Audio/Visual Technology, and Communications cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Military careers

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to broadcast technicians.

Common work activities

Broadcast technicians perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, broadcast technicians:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Broadcast technicians frequently:

It is important for broadcast technicians to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for broadcast technicians to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Broadcast technicians need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a broadcast technician, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Broadcast technicians must have an associate degree. You can get training at technical schools, colleges and universities, and community colleges. Many broadcast technicians have a bachelor's degree.

Work experience

Look for schools that have their own radio or television station. These schools offer internships where you will learn broadcasting skills. Another option is to do an internship at a local radio or TV station.

On-the-job training

Technicians learn additional skills on the job from experienced technicians. Most technicians start at small radio and television stations. Training may last up to one month.

Because technology changes rapidly, technicians occasionally take courses to learn about the latest developments. Employers usually pay tuition and expenses for technicians to attend these courses.

Military training

The military trains people to be broadcast technicians. Training lasts from seven to 52 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements (external link). You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Employers require applicants to have a high school diploma or equivalent. They look for applicants who pay attention to details and enjoy working with electronics. They also look for applicants who have good communication skills.

Some employers prefer applicants who are certified by the Society of Broadcast Engineers.

Many employers require some post-high school electronics training. Employers expect applicants to know FCC rules and regulations for broadcasters, even though no test is required. Television stations generally require two years of technical training in broadcast technology. As technology moves from analog to digital, employers seek applicants with computer hardware and software skills. Employers look for workers who are self-confident, well groomed, and have a positive attitude.

For experienced workers, opportunities to change employers are limited in any given geographical area. Experienced workers find transfer to related occupations difficult because their work is so specialized.


A strong background in solid-state electronics and microcomputers is helpful. Visit broadcasting stations and cable companies to learn more about the job. On-the-job experience is often a must. One way to gain experience is through an internship. Get as much training in computer and digital video production as possible and gain experience in specific areas of interest. Take basic journalism classes and develop your writing skills. Keep up to date on the latest equipment and become familiar with basic radio and TV broadcast procedures and terms.

To be hired at a radio or TV station, a person might freelance part time as a technician and service several stations at once. This is more common in smaller communities. After gaining experience, a technician may be able to move to larger stations in larger communities, where the pay is usually higher and the competition for jobs is stronger. Many large corporations and satellite cable companies hire broadcast technicians. Entry-level technicians shouldn't restrict themselves to network affiliates.

Costs to workers

In Washington, about half of the broadcast technicians belong to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and pay monthly dues. Some technicians must purchase their own tools, but these are often supplied by the employer.


Many employers require broadcast technicians to be certified. For information about certification requirements, contact:

The Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc. (external link)

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


The minimum wage for Washington State as of January 1, 2020 is $13.50 per hour. Some areas of the state may have a higher minimum wage.

Broadcast technicians (SOC 27-4012)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $12.28 $14.43 $22.50 $30.56 $36.24
Monthly $2,128 $2,501 $3,899 $5,296 $6,280
Yearly $25,550 $30,020 $46,800 $63,560 $75,380
    Clarkston-Lewiston Hourly $8.15 $9.08 $10.54 $15.71 $17.98
Monthly $1,412 $1,574 $1,827 $2,723 $3,116
Yearly $16,956 $18,877 $21,927 $32,675 $37,393
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $13.39 $16.74 $25.68 $32.49 $37.75
Monthly $2,320 $2,901 $4,450 $5,631 $6,542
Yearly $27,859 $34,812 $53,408 $67,575 $78,502
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $12.51 $13.65 $15.62 $26.53 $31.97
Monthly $2,168 $2,366 $2,707 $4,598 $5,540
Yearly $26,024 $28,399 $32,479 $55,198 $66,489
    Vancouver Hourly $11.04 $12.09 $19.77 $28.48 $31.62
Monthly $1,913 $2,095 $3,426 $4,936 $5,480
Yearly $22,952 $25,142 $41,112 $59,239 $65,766
    Wenatchee Hourly $11.80 $11.94 $12.17 $12.40 $17.89
Monthly $2,045 $2,069 $2,109 $2,149 $3,100
Yearly $24,549 $24,837 $25,317 $25,797 $37,197
United States Hourly $10.16 $13.08 $19.27 $29.29 $39.70
Monthly $1,761 $2,267 $3,339 $5,076 $6,880
Yearly $21,130 $27,200 $40,080 $60,920 $82,580

Wages vary by employer. Television stations usually pay more than radio stations. Commercial broadcasting pays more than public broadcasting. Stations in large cities pay the most.

Broadcast technicians who work full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance. 

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook


The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Broadcast Technicians (SOC 27-4012)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 508 17.9% 16.1% 67
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 20 -10.0% 13.4% 1
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 11 9.1% 11.9% 1
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 17 -11.8% 14.6% 1
    King County 304 33.2% 19.6% 52
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 14 -7.1% 13.8% 1
    Pierce County 21 9.5% 15.2% 2
    Spokane County 79 -6.3% 13.9% 5
United States 35,300 1.1% 5.2% 3,800

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Job growth is expected to be slow in this occupation. Many television stations are consolidating the broadcasting duties of multiple local stations into one single site. In addition, automation will reduce the need for technicians. However, more consumers are choosing free over-the-air television programming which may lead to an increased demand for broadcast technician.

Competition for jobs will be very strong as many people want to work in the television and radio industry. Turnover in this occupation is high. Most openings occur as people leave the industry for other jobs in the electronics field. Technicians with an associate degree in broadcast technology have the best job prospects. Job prospects are also expected to be best in small cities and towns.

Other resources

Corporation for Public Broadcasting (external link)
401 - 9th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Engineer Girl! (external link)
National Academy of Engineering
Federal Communications Commission (external link)
445 - 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554
iNARTE - International Association for Radio, Telecommunications, and Electromagnetics (external link)
PO Box 602
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0602
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (external link)
900 Seventh Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-Communications Workers of America (external link)
501 - 3rd Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
National Association of Broadcasters (external link)
1771 N Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
SAG-AFTRA (external link)
5757 Wilshire Boulevard, 7th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Showbizjobs.com (external link)
Society of Broadcast Engineers (external link)
9102 North Meridian Street, Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Society of Women Engineers (external link)
130 East Randolph Street, Suite 3500
Chicago, IL 60601
The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (external link)
P. O. Box 378
Hillsboro, TX 76645
TV Jobs (external link)
TVTechnology (external link)


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational cluster