Do you have a passion for music and a talent for working with software and hardware? If yes, a career as a Sound Technician/Engineer may be for you.
Sound Technicians operate various audio equipment to record, amplify, mix and enhance the audio for TV, film, radio, stage concerts, or video productions.
You do not need formal qualifications to work as a Sound Technician. However, a VET qualification or a university course in the music industry or audio-visual studies may be helpful.
Read on to explore the sound technician job description, requisite qualifications and skills, average salary, job prospects, and the steps to pursue this profession in Australia.
1. What Is A Sound Technician/Engineer?
Sound Technicians/Engineers oversee the production and recording of sound files. They record, mix, replicate, amplify and edit the electronic and equalization effects of voices, music, and sounds.
They may record or manipulate sound effects for film or be present at live events to record and edit the mixes for broadcasting on TV and radio.
Sound engineers direct a team to ensure the best possible production that exceeds their client's expectations. Additionally, they assemble, operate, maintain, and repair technical equipment.
2. Sound Technician Responsibilities
Sound technicians perform the following tasks on an everyday basis:
Determine audio equipment requirements
Set up, adjust, evaluate, and operate live sound equipment, studio recording equipment, editing and mixing equipment, and public address equipment as per the audibility of the area.
Record sound in a studio or live setting
Use hardware and software to record, improve, mix, and amplify audio for film, TV, radio, video productions, or stage presentations.
Monitor sound signals to identify malfunctions
Dub and modify compact discs or tapes.
Guide performers on the proper use and positioning of the microphone
Operate controls to maintain correct sound levels
Present pre-recorded special effects as needed by scripts.
Operate microwave equipment to send video information to radio and television transmitters and receive remote video signals
Position spotlights, cables, floodlights, and operating lights during broadcasting, filming, and stage recitals
Apply makeup or retouch during performance and shooting
Install and adjust equipment and use audio mixing consoles to control audio quality and volume
3. Personal Requirements For A Sound Technician
Here are the most desirable traits that employers look for in a candidate:
Interest in audio and music
Knowledge of the musical composition and diverse types of sound
Talent for working with audio equipment and computers
Good listening skills
Flexible toward working conditions and hours
Able to work under pressure
4. Sound Technician Qualifications
Do you wonder what it takes to become a sound technician in Australia? You do not need any formal education and training to become a sound engineer, as employers provide informal training on the job.
However, completing certificate/diploma sound technician courses will help develop relevant practical skills to start in this profession.
Complete your Year 10 education
Complete a VET qualification/ traineeship in the music industry, technical production, live production and services, sound production, or audio-visual studies such as a Certificate IV in Music Industry.
Create your portfolio of studio recordings to show your talent to potential employers
Consider specializing as a live sound technician in a public address environment or as a studio technician to work in a recording studio.
5. Steps To Become A Sound Technician In Australia
To become a Sound Technician, you do not need formal qualifications. However, a VET sound technician certification or a university degree in the music industry are common study routes to pursue this role.
Here is how you can kickstart your sound tech career in Australia:
Step 1: Understand How Sound Engineers Work
Visit places where sound technicians work, such as clubs, music theatres, local bars, or churches. Watch how sound engineers set up sound systems and equipment. Look at how they arrange soundboards and cords.
Please note when they adjust sound levels and what effect different sound levels produce. Check whether they need help, as helping them in a live environment can give you valuable hands-on work experience.
Step 2: Get Qualified
Completing a relevant qualification is useful. It can help develop your existing skills, further sharpen your expertise, and equip you with the business acumen to take your talent to the next level.
Several TAFE institutions offer VET sound technician courses to help you familiarize yourself with the music industry and build technical skills to work as a Sound Technician/Engineer.
The courses teach the following: how to use sound equipment and software, split, mix and edit soundtracks, adjust audio pitch and volume, and basic electric safety protocols.
Choose music video, sound production, live production, music business, or sound design courses. It will help strengthen your musical ability, fill a skill gap, or take your expertise to the next level on your career pathway.
Certificate III in Technical Production - TrainingCertificate III in Music Industry (Sound Production) – TAFE NSW
Certificate IV in Music Industry (Sound Production)- Melbourne Polytechnic
Certificate IV in Live Production And Sound Production Services – TAFE SA
Certificate IV in Music Industry (Performance) – TAFE NSW
Diploma of Music (Sound Production)- RMIT University
Diploma of Live Production And Technical Services – TAFE SA
Diploma of Music Industry (Sound Production) – TAFE SA
Diploma of Audio Engineering and Sound Production – JMC Academy
Step 3: Create Your Work Portfolio
With many candidates competing for a small number of positions, you will face intense competition in this profession. Gaining work experience is one of the best ways to improve your employability and demonstrate your talent to prospective employers.
Contact local employers to find traineeship opportunities in the music and art performing industries.
Find an internship opportunity at a production or recording company to get consistent experience.
Search for "sound technicians near me" to find open job vacancies in a nearby studio.
Step 4: Earn A Degree
Though you do not necessarily need a degree, having one shows your commitment to learning and working in this profession.
Earning a degree also shows that you are professionally trained in this field and give a good impression on employers seeking quality engineers. Some of the good options to consider are:
An Associate of Audio Engineering - SAE (Creative Media Institute)
2-year full-time Bachelor of Science in Audio Engineering – Collarts (Australian College of the Arts Pty Ltd)
The curriculum includes a mix of music, technical, and business classes to give you a well-rounded education in the music industry.
6. Where Do Sound Technicians Work?
Sound technicians work in venues such as sporting arenas, concert halls, recording studios, TV, radio and film broadcasting companies, theatres, radio stations, film and TV post-production studios, including other live entertainment/performance venues.
Some sound technicians even work as freelancers and set up their studios. They may even require travelling to different states for work.
7. Working Conditions For A Sound Technician
Sound technicians work in both office-based and outdoor environments. When working outdoors, they may have to work in unstable weather conditions.
Sound technicians in a studio must work around their client's schedules. Those working for an upcoming event may work shifts that include late evenings and weekends.
8. Major Recruiters For Sound Technicians
The following employers hire sound technicians:
Australian broadcasting corporation
Commercial radio and TV broadcasting stations
Movie production companies
Theatre and live entertainment companies and venues
Sound recording studios
Wholesale and retail businesses that trade in sound reproduction, public address, and recording equipment
9. Sound Engineer Jobs In Australia
A Music or sound production qualification can lead to various exciting careers, such as:
Gig and tour manager
10. Areas Of Specialization
Once employed, sound technicians may consider developing additional skills under Live Performance and Entertainment.
Gaining specialized skills and experience will enhance their career prospects within the industry and enable them to work in various sound technician jobs that include:
Sound Effects Person
Dubbing Machine Operator
Video and Sound Recorder
11. Alternate Career Paths For Sound Technicians/Engineers
As a small occupation, Sound Engineers face intense competition to land a role. Qualified Sound Engineers/Technicians can apply their knowledge and skills in other related careers that include:
As an electrical/electronic repairer and installer to work on electronic or electrical equipment in utilities, telecommunications, and other industries
As an electronic/ electrical engineering technician, to assist engineers in designing and building technical parts in electrical or electronic equipment.
12. Skills Assessment Requirement for Visa
Suppose you are an overseas Sound Technician/Engineer but wish to work in Australia. In that case, you need to do a Skills Assessment to apply for a "skilled visa" to work in the country.
Visa Pathways For Sound Tech/Engineer To Immigrate To Australia
Subclass 190 visa, i.e., a permanent visa
Subclass 491 visa gives you the right to live and get employment in regional Australia for five years
Subclass 191 visa gives the right to reside and work in Australia permanently
407 Training Visa (2 years) for individuals who want to participate in professional development/ training in Australia.
Immigration Points Calculation
Visa applicants will get the points based on the following parameters:
NAATI- Credentialled Community Language
2 Year Study
Specialist Educational Qualifications
The minimum score to be eligible for applying for a visa is 65 points. You may need more points based on competitiveness, the state to which you want to apply, and your occupation.
Visa Eligibility Conditions
To be eligible for a 190 visa, you must meet the following conditions:
Under 45 years
At least 65 immigration points
Must be competent in the English language with a minimum IELTS 6.0 or equivalent
Must have a positive skill assessment
Fulfil health and character requirements
You must lodge an "Expression of Interest" and receive an invite from the respective state/territory before you apply for a visa.
Skill Assessment Criteria
Trades Recognition Australia is the Skills Assessment authority for Sound Technicians in Australia. Qualified Sound Tech Immigrants need to meet the following criteria for skill assessment:
Have completed a Certificate IV in Music Industry or a comparable formal training
Possess skills relevant to Australian industry standards gained by working for one year full-time or equivalent part-time in the music industry in the previous three years
Those with an Australian or international qualification not recognized through the Australian Recognition of Learning process (RPL) must demonstrate at least three years of full-time or equivalent post-qualification experience.
Those with an Australian qualification recognized by RPL must showcase three years of full-time or equivalent part-time post-qualification experience.
For more information on the visa types, eligibility conditions, and mode of application, visit the government website.
13. Job Prospects For Sound Tech/Engineers In Australia
Australia is known to be the 6th largest music market in the globe. The upsurge and success of streaming services, such as Apple Music, and Spotify, have boosted revenue growth for the music industry.
Social media advertising has helped young musicians promote their talent and build their labels without necessarily relying on major music labels' support to succeed.
As more industries are raising their audio budgets to communicate with overseas clients/ consumers, it can result in a greater demand for sound engineering technicians.
Moreover, the booming advancement of the motion picture and television industry will provide more career opportunities for sound engineering and technicians.
Since it is a competitive job market, aspiring sound engineering technicians should constantly upskill themselves to improve their chances of job success.
According to the National Job Outlook service, the number of Sound Technicians grew at a moderate rate over five years, and the same will continue in the coming.
The prominent industries that recruit sound technicians include Arts and Recreation Services, Information Media and Telecommunications, and Hiring and Real Estate Services.
Around 61% of workers work full-time for 47 hours per week which is more than the average for all other occupations. The occupation has a younger age profile, with the average worker age of 36.
Most sound technicians work in New South Wales, and only 8% of workers are female.
14. How Much Salary Does A Sound Technician Earn In Australia?
The sound technician's salary varies based on experience, work location, and industry. The highest-paid sound technicians worked in motion picture and video companies, public relations, and advertising.
The average hourly sound technician salary in Australia is AU$ 29.34, equivalent to AU$ 61,277 per year.
Early career Sound Engineers (1 to 4 years of experience) earn AU$27.10
Mid-career Sound Engineers (5 to 9 years of experience) earn AU$28.14
Experienced Sound Engineers (10 to 19 years of experience) earn AU$30.34
15. What Type Of Equipment Do Sound Technicians Use?
Sound technicians operate, maintain, and overhaul a wide range of equipment to direct and edit audio signals. These include:
Audio recording consoles or Computers
Outboard equipment (processing equipment)
Sound mixing consoles
Digital audio systems
Turntables and pick-ups
Multi-track tape recorders (Analog or Digital)
Cassette-type and reel-to-reel tape recorders
From recording studios to stadiums and backstage at a theatre production, the job of a sound technician can change daily.
It is a great career option for those who want a varied and exciting career, allowing them to work in various locations and meet different people.
Considering the high competition, aspiring sound technicians should focus on building and refining their artistic and technical skills to enter a role in this profession.
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