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Career and Education Opportunities for Technical Directors in Chicago, Illinois

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for technical directors in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 2,090 jobs for technical directors in Illinois and this is projected to grow 12% to 2,340 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for technical directors are expected to grow by about 9.8%. In general, technical directors coordinate activities of technical departments, such as taping, editing, and maintenance, to produce radio or television programs.

The income of a technical director is about $23 per hour or $49,400 annually on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $30 per hour or $64,430 annually on average. Incomes for technical directors are the same as in the overall category of Theater, Film, and Television in Illinois, and the same as the overall Theater, Film, and Television category nationally. People working as technical directors can fill a number of jobs, such as: master control operator , production coordinator, and production manager.

There are twenty-one schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a technical director, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. Given that the most common education level for technical directors is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years training to become a technical director if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Technical Director

In general, technical directors coordinate activities of technical departments, such as taping, editing, and maintenance, to produce radio or television programs.

Technical directors act as liaisons between engineering and production departments. They also monitor broadcasts to insure that programs conform to station or network policies and regulations. Equally important, technical directors have to supervise and assign duties to staff working on technical control and production of radio and television programs. They are often called upon to operate apparatus to produce programs or broadcast live programs from remote locations. They are expected to train staff in use of equipment such as switchers and lights. Finally, technical directors test apparatus to insure proper operation.

Every day, technical directors are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for technical directors to talk with operations directors to formulate and maintain fair and attainable technical policies for programs. They are often called upon to schedule use of studio and editing facilities for producers and engineering and maintenance staff. They also switch between video sources in a studio or on multi-camera remotes, using equipment such as switchers, video slide projectors, and video effects generators. They are sometimes expected to direct technical aspects of newscasts and other productions, checking and switching between video sources, and taking responsibility for the on-air product, including camera shots and graphics. Somewhat less frequently, technical directors are also expected to follow instructions from production managers and directors during productions, such as commands for camera cuts and takes.

and prepare and execute video transitions and special effects such as fades and supers, using computers to manipulate pictures as needed. And finally, they sometimes have to train staff in use of equipment such as switchers and lights.

Like many other jobs, technical directors must be reliable and want to innovate to meet new challenges.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Actor. Play parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction. Interpret serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience. May dance and sing.
  • Artistic Director. Audition and interview performers to select most appropriate talent for parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions.
  • Audio Visual Technician. Set up or set up and operate audio and video equipment including microphones, sound speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, recording equipment, connecting wires and cables, sound and mixing boards, and related electronic equipment for concerts, sports events, meetings and conventions, presentations, and news conferences. May also set up and operate associated spotlights and other custom lighting systems.
  • Director. Interpret script, conduct rehearsals, and direct activities of cast and technical crew for stage, motion pictures, or radio programs.
  • Film or Videotape Editor. Edit motion picture soundtracks, film, and video.
  • Producer. Plan and coordinate various aspects of radio, television, or motion picture production, such as selecting script, coordinating writing, directing and editing, and arranging financing.
  • Program Director. Direct and coordinate activities of personnel engaged in preparation of radio or television station program schedules and programs.
  • Sound Engineer. Operate machines and equipment to record, synchronize, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects in sporting arenas, theater productions, or movie and video productions.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Technical Director Training

University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S Morgan, Chicago, IL 60607. University of Illinois at Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,709 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of Illinois at Chicago has 3 areas of study related to Technical Director. They are:

  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Dramatic/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 5 students in 2008.
  • Cinematography and Film/Video Production, bachelor's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.

Dominican University - River Forest, IL

Dominican University, 7900 W Division St, River Forest, IL 60305. Dominican University is a small university located in River Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,413 students and an admission rate of 85%. Dominican University has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts.

Elmhurst College - Elmhurst, IL

Elmhurst College, 190 Prospect Ave, Elmhurst, IL 60126-3096. Elmhurst College is a small college located in Elmhurst, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,315 students and an admission rate of 69%. Elmhurst College has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts.

DePaul University - Chicago, IL

DePaul University, 55 E Jackson, Chicago, IL 60604. DePaul University is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 22,554 students. DePaul University has 5 areas of study related to Technical Director. They are:

  • Radio and Television, master's degree.
  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, bachelor's degree which graduated 13 students in 2008.
  • Directing and Theatrical Production, master's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Theatre/Theatre Arts Management, master's degree.
  • Dramatic/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.

Chicago State University - Chicago, IL

Chicago State University, 9501 S. King Drive, Chicago, IL 60628-1598. Chicago State University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,820 students and an admission rate of 61%. Chicago State University has a bachelor's degree program in Radio and Television which graduated eight students in 2008.

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has an associate's degree program in Radio and Television which graduated four students in 2008.

Indiana University-Northwest - Gary, IN

Indiana University-Northwest, 3400 Broadway, Gary, IN 46408-1197. Indiana University-Northwest is a small university located in Gary, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,794 students and an admission rate of 80%. Indiana University-Northwest has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated two students in 2008.

Roosevelt University - Chicago, IL

Roosevelt University, 430 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605-1394. Roosevelt University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,708 students and an admission rate of 43%. Roosevelt University has 3 areas of study related to Technical Director. They are:

  • Radio and Television, bachelor's degree.
  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, bachelor's degree and master's degree.
  • Directing and Theatrical Production, master's degree.

North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central College, 30 N Brainard St, Naperville, IL 60540. North Central College is a small college located in Naperville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,726 students and an admission rate of 69%. North Central College has 3 areas of study related to Technical Director. They are:

  • Radio and Television, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Dramatic/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree.

National-Louis University - Chicago, IL

National-Louis University, 122 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603. National-Louis University is a medium sized university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,874 students and an admission rate of 56%. National-Louis University has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts.

Lake Forest College - Lake Forest, IL

Lake Forest College, 555 N Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045-2399. Lake Forest College is a small college located in Lake Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,387 students and an admission rate of 59%. Lake Forest College has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated five students in 2008.

University of Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Chicago, 5801 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637. University of Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 14,620 students and an admission rate of 28%. University of Chicago has a bachelor's degree and a doctor's degree program in Film/Cinema Studies which graduated eighteen and four students respectively in 2008.

Lewis University - Romeoville, IL

Lewis University, One University Parkway, Romeoville, IL 60446-2200. Lewis University is a medium sized university located in Romeoville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,536 students and an admission rate of 71%. Lewis University has 2 areas of study related to Technical Director. They are:

  • Radio and Television, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

The Illinois Center for Broadcasting - Lombard, IL

The Illinois Center for Broadcasting, 55 W. 22nd Street #240, Lombard, IL 60148. The Illinois Center for Broadcasting is a small school located in Lombard, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 88 students and an admission rate of 62%. The Illinois Center for Broadcasting has a less than one year program in Radio and Television which graduated 145 students in 2008.

Northwestern University - Evanston, IL

Northwestern University, 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208. Northwestern University is a large university located in Evanston, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,128 students and an admission rate of 27%. Northwestern University has 2 areas of study related to Technical Director. They are:

  • Radio and Television, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree.
  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree.

Governors State University - University Park, IL

Governors State University, 1 University Pky, University Park, IL 60466-0975. Governors State University is a medium sized university located in University Park, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,457 students. Governors State University has a master's degree program in Film/Cinema Studies which graduated three students in 2008.

Columbia College Chicago - Chicago, IL

Columbia College Chicago, 600 South Michigan, Chicago, IL 60605-1996. Columbia College Chicago is a large college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 12,464 students. Columbia College Chicago has 4 areas of study related to Technical Director. They are:

  • Radio and Television, one to two year and bachelor's degree which graduated three and 128 students respectively in 2008.
  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, bachelor's degree which graduated 19 students in 2008.
  • Directing and Theatrical Production, bachelor's degree which graduated 11 students in 2008.
  • Cinematography and Film/Video Production, one to two year, bachelor's degree, and master's degree which graduated five, 366, and eleven students respectively in 2008.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago - Chicago, IL

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, 350 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654-1593. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,900 students and an admission rate of 48%. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago has a bachelor's degree program in Cinematography and Film/Video Production which graduated nine students in 2008.

Loyola University Chicago - Chicago, IL

Loyola University Chicago, 820 N. Michigan, Chicago, IL 60611-9810. Loyola University Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,670 students and an admission rate of 74%. Loyola University Chicago has 2 areas of study related to Technical Director. They are:

  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Theatre/Theatre Arts Management, bachelor's degree.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg - Schaumburg, IL

The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg, 1000 Plaza Drive Ste. 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4913. The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg is a small school located in Schaumburg, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,257 students and an admission rate of 47%. The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg has a bachelor's degree program in Cinematography and Film/Video Production.

Concordia University - River Forest, IL

Concordia University, 7400 Augusta, River Forest, IL 60305-1499. Concordia University is a small university located in River Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,185 students and an admission rate of 58%. Concordia University has a bachelor's degree program in Dramatic/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft, Other Specialties.

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LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.