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Sound Technician

by Staff Reporter
If you have strong networking skills and a knack for technology, then a career as a Sound Technician could be for you.

Career Overview

Sound Technicians use the soundboard and other audio equipment to make sure that sound levels are correct and that everything in a performance is sounding lekker. Sound editing and management is the cherry on the artist’s work, as it ensures that the music is perfect for both the performer onstage and for the people in the crowd. In some cases, sound technicians also assist with lighting and special effects. Sound Technicians may also find themselves in recording studios or similar settings, depending on their clients.

Sound Technicians play a vitally important role in the music and entertainment industry, using musical instruments and technology to produce or adjust sound for film, radio, television, music and video games. You might also set up, sound check and do live sound mixing for music concerts, theatre, sports games and corporate events.

Required School Subjects

If you would like to pursue a career as a Sound Technician then you will need the following High School subjects in order to study a related degree at a tertiary institution:

  • English (Home Language or First Additional Language)
  • Pure Mathematics

Recommended subjects:

  • Drama
  • Computer Applications Technology (CAT)
  • Information Technology (IT)

The minimum requirement is a National Senior Certificate (matric) or National Certificate (Vocational) with exemption/admission to bachelor’s degree, or equivalent.

Institution and APS

The following institutions are highly recommended for further studies:

  • AFDA – No APS required
  • SAE Institute – No APS required
  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University – APS of 22+

Required Qualification/s

An undergraduate degree in the sound industry or completed course is required for this career, but any opportunities to gain knowledge about the industry, networking and hands-on experience should be taken to better your chances of being hired (for example, working on a set or interning at a sound engineering company). 

As mentioned, you will be able to obtain a qualification at one of the following institutions in:

  1. AFDA- (Bachelor of Arts in Motion Picture Medium or Live Performance, majoring in sound design)
  2. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (Bachelor of Music technology)
  3. SAE institute- Live sound production short course 
  4. It is not uncommon to do an apprenticeship with a large sound engineering company, and learn hands-on experience, working your way up the ranks.

Required Skills

The following skills are needed in order to be a Sound Technician:

  • Being a networker and dealing with clients is key 
  • Have a forward-planning mindset and be able to handle many tasks at one time
  • To be a team player and communicate well with a team (strong communication and interpersonal skills)
  • A passion for quality entertainment and performance 
  • Being a pro-active problem solver 
  • Good technological skills and a knack for audio and sound equipment

Where you can work

Sound Technicians are needed in many different industries. The film, television broadcast and radio industries are work-hotspots. Other sound technicians work for companies that provide sound engineering services to large sporting events, theater programs and concerts. You don’t have to work strictly in music, some end up designing and controlling the sound at conferences, performances and in any other venue that requires sound projection for an audience. Majority of Sound Technicians or sound engineers work free-lance for paying clients, and manage a small team that help them to set up audio equipment or lighting at events.  

Working Hours

Sound Technicians often have no set schedule, as they are working around events that are being performed at the venues in which they work. If you are employed in a studio, you must work around the schedules of the clients; You may find yourself working many late nights or crazy hours. I hope you like coffee. You can expect 12 hour shifts on friday and saturday nights; but on average only 45 hours a week.

Expected Salary

As a Sound Technician you can expect to earn anywhere around the average yearly salary of R150 000-R300 000, depending on the clients that you work for. Some areas of the sound & production industry have huge sums of money invested into them, but finding work and clients can be tricky.  

What to expect

As a Sound Technician you should expect a fast-paced, bright-lights kind of career, constantly interacting with people in the entertainment industry and working late nights. You will like this career if you are someone who likes to network, loves entertainment and is a perfectionist when it comes to the finished product. This industry is generally international, providing opportunities to live and work abroad, so enjoying travel is a must. If you have a passion for music or performance and love the arty-side of technology, this career is a great idea for you!  

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