Summary Report for:
27-4014.00 - Sound Engineering Technicians
Operate machines and equipment to record, synchronize, mix, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects in sporting arenas, theater productions, recording studios, or movie and video productions.
Sample of reported job titles: Audio Engineer, Audio Operator, Broadcast Engineer, Broadcast Technician, Master Control Operator, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Sound Editor, Sound Engineer, Sound Technician
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Confer with producers, performers, and others to determine and achieve the desired sound for a production, such as a musical recording or a film.
- Prepare for recording sessions by performing activities such as selecting and setting up microphones.
- Record speech, music, and other sounds on recording media, using recording equipment.
- Regulate volume level and sound quality during recording sessions, using control consoles.
- Separate instruments, vocals, and other sounds, and combine sounds later during the mixing or postproduction stage.
- Mix and edit voices, music, and taped sound effects for live performances and for prerecorded events, using sound mixing boards.
- Keep logs of recordings.
- Report equipment problems and ensure that required repairs are made.
- Set up, test, and adjust recording equipment for recording sessions and live performances.
- Synchronize and equalize prerecorded dialogue, music, and sound effects with visual action of motion pictures or television productions, using control consoles.
- Convert video and audio recordings into digital formats for editing or archiving.
- Reproduce and duplicate sound recordings from original recording media, using sound editing and duplication equipment.
- Tear down equipment after event completion.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Attenuators — Audio filters
- Audio mixing consoles — Audio compressors; Audio mixer consoles; Noise reduction systems; Reverb devices (see all 7 examples)
- Cassette players or recorders — Multitrack tape recording machines
- Desktop computers
- Digital voice recorders — Digital audio recorders
- Equalizers — 1/3 octave equalizers; Channel equalizers; Peak equalizers; Shelving equalizers (see all 5 examples)
- Intercom systems — Studio intercom systems
- Loudspeakers — Amplifiers
- Microphones — Condenser microphones; Pressure zone microphones; Ribbon microphones; Wireless microphones (see all 7 examples)
- Multimeters — Polarity checkers
- Musical instrument digital interface MIDI interfaces — Musical instrument digital interface MIDI sequencers
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Ohmmeters — Volt-ohm meters VOM
- Oscilloscopes — Digital oscilloscopes
- Personal computers
- Radio frequency transmitters or receivers — Wireless receivers; Wireless transmitters
- Soldering iron — Soldering irons
- Voltage or current meters — Cable testers
Technology used in this occupation:
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD software
- Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Microsoft Visio
- Music or sound editing software — Avid Technology Pro Tools; Musical instrument digital interface MIDI software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Operating system software — Cisco IOS; Linux
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Video creation and editing software — Apple Final Cut Pro ; Avid Technology software
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Fine Arts — Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
Detailed Work Activities
- Collaborate with others to determine technical details of productions.
- Operate audio recording equipment.
- Select materials or props.
- Operate control consoles for sound, lighting or video.
- Maintain logs of production activities.
- Mix sound inputs.
- Convert data among multiple digital or analog formats.
- Notify others of equipment problems.
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 87% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 87% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Electronic Mail — 81% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 77% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 77% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Telephone — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Level of Competition — 61% responded “Extremely competitive.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 58% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 63% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 55% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 52% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 42% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 52% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 45% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 45% responded “Very important results.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 55% responded “Some freedom.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 40% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 58% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 42% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Consequence of Error — 29% responded “Serious.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 26% responded “Very important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 29% responded “Limited responsibility.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 30% responded “Important.”
- Letters and Memos — 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|31||High school diploma or equivalent|
Interest code: RA
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2015)||$25.64 hourly, $53,330 annual|
|Employment (2014)||16,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Average (5% to 8%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||4,300|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Broadcast and sound engineering technicians . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.