The next time you listen to a top hit playing on the radio, remember that a recording engineer helped polish or produce those beats. Recording engineers mix voices, music and sound effects. A recording engineer is also known as a sound engineering technician, according to O*Net, a website sponsored by the Department of Labor.
Median annual wages for sound engineering technicians ranged from approximately $23,420 to $94,270, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. The lowest 10 percent of employees earned less than $23,420, and the top 10 percent of employees earned more than $94,270.
The PayScale website lists the median hourly rate of sound engineering technicians according to years of experience. In October 2010, sound engineering technicians with one to four years of experience earned $12.90 to $24.79; five to nine years, $10.75 to $24; 10 to 19 years, $14.89 to $24.57; and 20 years or more, $16.70 to $32.56.
The industries that employed large numbers of sound engineering technicians had salaries that ranged from $44,140 to $60,470, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. The motion picture and video industries employed the largest number of sound engineering technicians, with an average annual salary of $60,470. Other industries that employed large numbers of sound engineers were: sound recording industries, $55,390; radio and television broadcasting, $53,270; performing arts companies, $44,140; and cable and other subscription programming, $57,800.
The industries that paid high salaries to sound engineering technicians offered pay that ranged from $60,470 to $65,520, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Software publishers paid the highest average annual salary above all other industries to sound engineering technicians, at $65,520, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other industries that offered high pay were: computer systems design and related services, $64,170; religious organizations, $63,150; traveler accommodations, $60,740; and motion picture and video industry, $60,470. The motion picture and video industry was listed as the industry that employed the highest number of sound engineering technicians, and it also was one of their top-paying industries.
The geographic locations that paid high salaries to sound engineering technicians offered high pay that ranged from $58,150 to $70,790, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. The District of Columbia paid the highest average annual salary above all other locations, at $70,790, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other states that offered high pay were: California, $69,840; Montana, $66,240; Georgia, $60,240; and Connecticut, $58,150.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, national employment for sound engineering technicians is expected to increase at a rate of 6 percent from 2008 through 2018.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics — Sound Engineering Technicians
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians and Radio Operators
- University of Regina: What Is the Difference Between Mean and Average?
- O*Net Online: Sound Engineering Technicians
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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