How to become a Sound Technician

Sound technicians operate technical equipment to amplify, enhance, record, mix or reproduce sound in support of performing arts. They may also assemble and maintain sound equipment. Sound technicians may work in radio, television and recording studios, or in theatres and other live performance venues. They may also work in wholesale and retail businesses trading in sound reproduction, recording and public address (PA) equipment. In some cases, they specialise in operating or maintaining sound equipment.

Personal requirements of a Sound Technician

  • A good ear for detail in all areas of sound
  • Aptitude for working with computers and audio equipment
  • Flexible attitude toward working hours and conditions
  • Able to work under pressure

Education & Training for a Sound Technician

You can work as a sound technician without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications and you may like to consider a VET qualification. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a sound technician through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Duties & Tasks of a Sound Technician

Sound technicians: • determine sound requirements • set up, test and operate equipment in accordance with the acoustics of the area and select, place and adjust microphones • monitor audio signals to detect quality deviations or malfunctions • service, maintain and repair amplifiers, tuners, receivers, digital audio systems, turntables and pick-ups, reel-to-reel and cassette-type tape recorders and speaker systems • build and install sound systems • dub and edit tapes or compact discs • operate controls to maintain correct sound levels • talk with performers and instruct them on microphone use • introduce pre-recorded special effects required by scripts.

Working conditions for a Sound Technician

Sound technicians may be required to work shifts that involve long hours in the evenings and on weekends. They often work under difficult conditions and, when working at outdoor concerts, in variable weather.

Employment Opportunities for a Sound Technician

Sound technicians are employed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), commercial radio and television broadcasting stations, film production companies, theatre and live entertainment companies and venues, sound recording studios, and PA equipment and audio reproduction businesses. Some sound technicians work on a freelance basis and may establish their own studios. This is a very competitive occupation and people sometimes need to travel interstate to find work.

Avg. weekly wage:

$1,320

Future growth:

Stable

Employment by state:

ACT ACT 1.7%

NSW NSW 32.1%

NT NT 0.5%

QLD QLD 16.4%

SA SA 2.8%

TAS TAS 1.7%

VIC VIC 29.6%

WA WA 15.2%

Hours worked:

43.3

Unemployment:

Higher unemployment

Gender split:

Male 61.9%

Female 38.1%

Education level:

Age brackets:

15-19 - 2.2%

20-24 - 13.9%

25-34 - 39%

35-44 - 18.5%

45-54 - 15.1%

55-59 - 3.2%

60-64 - 3.4%

65 and Over - 4.6%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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