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Career and Education Opportunities for Broadcast Technicians in Birmingham, Alabama

Broadcast technicians can find many career and educational opportunities in the Birmingham, Alabama area. About 440 people are currently employed as broadcast technicians in Alabama. By 2016, this is expected to grow 10% to about 480 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for broadcast technicians are expected to grow by about 1.8%. In general, broadcast technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electronic equipment used to transmit radio and television programs.

Broadcast technicians earn approximately $13 hourly or $28,320 annually on average in Alabama. Nationally they average about $15 per hour or $32,900 yearly. Earnings for broadcast technicians are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Media Technical in Alabama and not quite as good as general Media Technical category earnings nationally. Broadcast technicians work in a variety of jobs, including: control room technician, production editor, and studio operation engineer.

The Birmingham area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree as a broadcast technician. Given that the most common education level for broadcast technicians is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a broadcast technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Broadcast Technician

Broadcast Technician video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, broadcast technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electronic equipment used to transmit radio and television programs. They also control audio equipment to regulate volume level and quality of sound during radio and television broadcasts.

Broadcast technicians report equipment problems, insure that repairs are made, and make emergency repairs to equipment when needed and possible. They also monitor strength and reliability of incoming and outgoing signals, and adjust equipment as needed to maintain quality broadcasts. Equally important, broadcast technicians have to observe monitors and talk with station personnel to establish audio and video levels and to ascertain that programs are airing. They are often called upon to control audio apparatus to regulate the volume and sound quality during radio and television broadcasts. They are expected to regulate the fidelity and contrast of video transmissions, using video console control panels. Finally, broadcast technicians record sound onto tape or film for radio or television, checking its quality and making adjustments where needed.

Every day, broadcast technicians are expected to be able to distinguish between colors. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for broadcast technicians to decide on sources from which programming will be received, or through which programming will be transmitted. They are often called upon to instruct trainees in how to use television production equipment, how to film events, and how to copy and edit graphics or sound onto videotape. They also maintain programming logs, as required by station management and the Federal Communications Commission. They are sometimes expected to substitute programs in cases where signals fail. Somewhat less frequently, broadcast technicians are also expected to assemble and operate portable field transmission equipment outside the studio.

They also have to be able to ready reports outlining past and future programs, including content And finally, they sometimes have to schedule programming, or read television programming logs to establish which programs are to be recorded or aired.

Like many other jobs, broadcast technicians must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Camera Operator. Operate television, video, or motion picture camera to photograph images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.
  • Film or Videotape Editor. Edit motion picture soundtracks, film, and video.
  • Photographer. Photograph persons, subjects, or other commercial products. May develop negatives and produce finished prints.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Broadcast Technician Training

Jefferson State Community College - Birmingham, AL

Jefferson State Community College, 2601 Carson Rd, Birmingham, AL 35215-3098. Jefferson State Community College is a medium sized college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,718 students. Jefferson State Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Radio and Television Broadcasting Technology/Technician which graduated four and three students respectively in 2008.

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus - Birmingham, AL

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus, 3060 Wilson Rd SW, Birmingham, AL 35221-1717. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,507 students. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus has a less than one year program in Radio and Television Broadcasting Technology/Technician which graduated four students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

RF Line Sweeping: RF Line Sweeping, or FDR, Frequency Domain Reflectometry, certification by the Electronics Technicians Association, Internationa, has two assessments: The 16 category knowledge written multiple-choice examination, and the practical hands-on physical abilities and skills demonstration documented during a formal training course.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Associate Certified Electronics Technician: Knowledge areas include: Electrical Theory, Electronic Components, Soldering-Desoldering & Tools, Block Diagrams - Schematics - Wiring Diagrams, Cabling, Power Supplies, test Equipment & Measurements, Safety Precautions, Mathematics & Formulas, Radio Communication Technology, Electronic Circuits: Series & Parallel, Amplifiers, Interfacing of Electronics Products, Digital Concepts & Circuitry, Computer Electronics, Computer Applications, Audio & Video Systems, Optical Electronics, Telecommunications Basics, Technician Work Procedures.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Certified Technology Specialist-Installation: A Certified Technology Specialist Installation (CTS-I) installs and maintains audiovisual systems by following specifications,.

For more information, see the InfoComm International website.

Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist: This certification is designed for persons who wish to demonstrate a basic familiarity with networking hardware as utilized in business and audio/video applications in broadcast facilities.

For more information, see the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc. website.

Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer : The candidate for Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer must have five (5) years of suitable experience in broadcast engineering or related technology and must achieve a passing grade on the proficiency examination.

For more information, see the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc. website.

Certifed AM Directional Specialist: The SBE Program of Certification designed the AM Directional Specialist Certification to help evaluate an individual's ability to perform the necessary tasks to keep facilities operating properly.

For more information, see the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc. website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.