What Is the Job Description of a Live Sound Technician?

Live sound technicians set up and control the audio equipment for live events. Learn more about the job duties, training requirements, potential salary and career outlook. Schools offering Geographic Information Systems degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Live Sound Technician?

As a live sound technician or engineer, you're responsible for installing and operating the sound and audio equipment for live concerts, speeches, plays, sporting games and other events. Your job includes managing the speakers, cables, mixing machines and other types of equipment used to capture and broadcast sound during a live event.

When you work as a sound technician for live events, some of your specific duties might include setting up sound equipment before the event, tearing down equipment after the event, synchronizing pre-recorded sound effects with live sound and working with performers and managers to achieve strong sound levels. You might be responsible for managing microphones, audio filters, audio mixer consoles, equalizers and reverb devices during a live performance or function.

What Educational or Training Programs Are Available?

If you're interested in becoming a live sound technician, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recommends you obtain some type of formal postsecondary education or training in the field, stating that many applicants earn an associate or bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). Several community colleges and trade schools offer vocational or technical certificate programs in live sound production and audio engineering. Courses in a certificate program focus on audio engineering and live sound production. You'll learn the practical skills involved in live recording, live sound mixing, sound reinforcement, console operation and stage management.

If you choose to earn an undergraduate degree, applicable programs include digital music production, sound engineering and music technology. Most degree programs include opportunities to gain practical experience working with drama and music department productions and internships with professional companies and organizations. You'll usually need to complete some general education in a degree program.

What Salary Could I Expect to Make?

The BLS reported that sound engineering technicians held more than 15,500 jobs in 2009 and made a median annual salary topping $46,000. They were primarily employed by the film, recording and broadcasting industries. Those providing live sound support in the performing arts earned lower than the national average, taking home approximately $44,140 per year, according to the BLS.

What Is the Job Outlook for the Career?

The BLS stated that the employment of sound engineering technicians, including both recording and live specialists, was expected to increase by about six percent between 2008 and 2018. Growth and advancement in technology and equipment was anticipated to provide better sound and video quality; however, these improvements forecasted greater productivity from individuals, which would limit the need for new workers. The BLS did project those with expertise in both audio and video recording and production should see a little more growth, estimating demand to increase 13% for those with more versatility in the field.

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