Education and Training Requirements
Take as many classes as you can in mathematics, science, computers, and shop, especially electronics. Speech classes will help you hone your abilities to effectively communicate ideas to others.
In general, employers prefer to hire broadcast engineers with at least an associate's degree in broadcast technology, electronics, computer networking, or a related field. Positions that are more advanced require a bachelor's degree in broadcast communications or a related field. To become a chief engineer, you should aim for a bachelor's degree in electronics or electrical engineering. Because field technicians also act as announcers on occasion, speech courses and experience as an announcer in a school radio station can be helpful. Seeking education beyond a bachelor's degree will further the possibilities for advancement, although it is not required.
Other Education or Training
The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) provides a variety of continuing education opportunities via its SBE University. Recent offerings included "Introduction to Broadcast Audio Processing," "Adaptive Media Systems Engineering," "AM Antenna Computer Modeling," and "Introduction to Computer Networking for Broadcast Engineers." The SBE also offers webinars, seminars, and leadership development courses. In addition, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers provides webcasts, seminars, and Virtual Classroom courses. Contact these organizations for more information.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
Federal Communications Commission licenses and permits are no longer required of broadcast engineers. However, certification from the Society of Broadcast Engineers is desirable, and certified engineers consistently earn higher salaries than uncertified engineers.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Aspiring broadcast engineers obtain as much experience as possible in the field by participating in internships, working at part-time jobs, and volunteering at broadcast stations.
Successful broadcast engineers have an aptitude for working with highly technical electronic and computer equipment as well as a minute attention to detail. They enjoy both the technical and artistic aspects of working in the radio or television industry and should be able to communicate and collaborate with a wide range of people with various levels of technical expertise.