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TV or film sound technician

Sound technicians are responsible for recording the voices and background noise on TV and film shoots.

Annual Salary

£16,000 to £35,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; away from home

0.5%
Future employment

There will be 0.5% more TV or film sound technician jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

On a production sound team, you could:

  • set up equipment to suit the acoustics and the sound designer’s instructions
  • select and place fixed microphones
  • operate the boom (a microphone on a pole, used to get close to the sound source)
  • check sound quality
  • record sound onto digital devices
  • service and repair equipment
  • play music or sound effects into a live programme

On a post-production team, you may:

  • follow a sound designer or sound supervisor's instructions
  • mix and balance speech, effects and background music
  • edit speech to fit the action on screen
  • create extra sound effects and add them into the soundtrack

Working environment

You could work at a TV studio, at a film studio or on a film set.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and you may spend nights away from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
  • applying directly
  • specialist training courses
University

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • sound engineering
  • music technology
  • media technology
  • electrical or electronic engineering

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You could take a college course to develop your knowledge and skills before looking for a job. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Music Technology
  • Level 3 Extended Certificate in Sound Engineering
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Digital Media Production
  • T Level in Media, Broadcast and Production

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T Level
For more information
Apprenticeship

You could start training in this job by applying for an apprenticeship that covers sound engineering skills. Apprenticeships include:

  • Creative Industries Production Technician Level 3
  • Broadcast and Media Systems Technical Operator Level 3
  • Audio Visual Technician Level 5

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information
Work

It's possible to start out as a roadie, loading and unloading sound equipment, and setting it up. You may then be able to learn some of the skills you need from experienced sound technicians.

Volunteering and work experience

You could look for work experience placements with larger broadcasters like the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

You could also get experience by:

  • working on student or community film or radio projects
  • setting up or 'rigging' sound equipment for amateur theatre or local bands
  • helping out in a recording studio

These are good ways to make contacts, learn new skills and to hear about job opportunities.

Direct application

You could apply directly for jobs but employers will expect you to have a lot of knowledge and experience in sound technology and equipment, and the science of sound.

Other routes

You could complete a training course with a specialist course provider.

More information

Further information

You can get more advice about careers and training in sound for TV and film from ScreenSkills and the BBC.

You can find out more about creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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You could progress from working for a small, regional company or station to working for a large, national one. You could also move into studio management.

You can get more advice about careers and training in sound for TV and film from ScreenSkills and the BBC Academy.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • persistence and determination
  • customer service skills
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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