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Career profile Audio Engineer

Also known as Audio Engineer, Board Operator, Broadcast Engineer, Broadcast Maintenance Engineer, Broadcast Operations Engineer, Broadcast Technician, Control Operator, Production Engineer

Audio Engineer

Also known as Audio Engineer, Board Operator, Broadcast Engineer

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$21,570 - $83,620 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Listening
  • Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Telecommunications
  • Engineering and Technology
Core tasks
  • Report equipment problems, ensure that repairs are made, and make emergency repairs to equipment when necessary and possible.
  • Monitor and log transmitter readings.
  • Maintain programming logs as required by station management and the Federal Communications Commission.
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What does an Audio Engineer do?

Audio Engineers set up, operate, and maintain the electronic equipment used to acquire, edit, and transmit audio and video for radio or television programs.

In addition, Audio Engineers

  • control and adjust incoming and outgoing broadcast signals to regulate sound volume, signal strength, and signal clarity,
  • operate satellite, microwave, or other transmitter equipment to broadcast radio or television programs.

What kind of tasks does an Audio Engineer perform regularly?

Audio Engineers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Report equipment problems, ensure that repairs are made, and make emergency repairs to equipment when necessary and possible.
  • Monitor and log transmitter readings.
  • Maintain programming logs as required by station management and the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Monitor strength, clarity, and reliability of incoming and outgoing signals, and adjust equipment as necessary to maintain quality broadcasts.
  • Observe monitors and converse with station personnel to determine audio and video levels and to ascertain that programs are airing.
  • Preview scheduled programs to ensure that signals are functioning and programs are ready for transmission.
  • Play and record broadcast programs, using automation systems.
  • Set up, operate, and maintain broadcast station computers and networks.
  • Select sources from which programming will be received or through which programming will be transmitted.
  • Install broadcast equipment, troubleshoot equipment problems, and perform maintenance or minor repairs, using hand tools.
  • Substitute programs in cases where signals fail.
  • Control audio equipment to regulate volume and sound quality during radio and television broadcasts.
  • Design and modify equipment to employer specifications.

The above responsibilities are specific to Audio Engineers. More generally, Audio Engineers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

What is an Audio Engineer salary?

The median salary for an Audio Engineer is $43,570, and the average salary is $49,250. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Audio Engineer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Audio Engineers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Audio Engineers earn less than $21,570 per year, 25% earn less than $28,930, 75% earn less than $62,980, and 90% earn less than $83,620.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Audio Engineers is expected to change by 11.3%, and there should be roughly 3,300 open positions for Audio Engineers every year.

Median annual salary
$43,570
Typical salary range
$21,570 - $83,620
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
11.3%

What personality traits are common among Audio Engineers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Audio Engineer are usually higher in their Realistic, Conventional, and Investigative interests.

Audio Engineers typically have very strong Realistic interests. 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.

Also, Audio Engineers typically have strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Lastly, Audio Engineers typically have moderate Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Audio Engineer tend to value Support, Achievement, and Independence.

Most importantly, Audio Engineers moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Audio Engineers moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Audio Engineers moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Audio Engineers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and cooperation.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Audio Engineers, ranked by importance:

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.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

What education and training do Audio Engineers need?

Audio Engineers often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Audio Engineers 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 this occupation.

Educational degrees among Audio Engineers

  • 1.8% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 14.2% completed high school or secondary school
  • 24.4% completed some college coursework
  • 13.6% earned a Associate's degree
  • 39.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 6.1% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.0% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Audio Engineers

Audio Engineers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as computers and electronics, telecommunications, or engineering and technology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Audio Engineers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Telecommunications
Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
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.
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.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Important Abilities needed by Audio Engineers

Audio Engineers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Audio Engineers need abilities such as near vision, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Audio Engineers, ranked by their relative importance.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
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 that there is a problem.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Audio Engineers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Audio Engineers frequently use skills like critical thinking, active listening, and monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Audio Engineers, ranked by their relative importance.

Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
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.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Operations 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.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.