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What is an AV Technician?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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People who set up and operate different types of technological equipment are known as AV technicians. Short for audio video technician, an AV tech may work with audio equipment, such as radios and microphones, as well as video gadgets like recorders and cables. These operators play an important role in many fields, from education to the entertainment industry.

Many other roles are also known loosely as AV technicians. These jobs are usually more specialized, and include a set of skills unique to a particular area. A video technician may work in the television or radio broadcast sector, while an audio engineer deals with communication tools and technology. Many other specialized types of audio visual technicians exist as well.

In many cases, AV techs work as a part of a crew. In concerts, sporting events, films, and other entertainment venues, they often set up the technological equipment needed prior to events. During a news conference or television broadcast, they may have to set up projectors, computer or television monitors, speakers, and many other pieces of equipment. They may also monitor, troubleshoot, and repair any equipment during and after use.

Aside from the specialized technological equipment, an AV technician also works with very generic tools and electronics. AV techs are often involved, if not in charge of, a venue's lighting. Special effects, such as smoke machines, bubble makers, pyrotechnics, and other crowd pleasers are often prepared and managed by an AV technician as well.

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Depending on the nature of his or her work, an AV technician may be responsible for directly recording video or audio footage. Editing and preparing the footage is another common task. An AV technician often works in quality control, ensuring that recorded media is suitable to be released to the public.

Audio visual technicians are very familiar with wiring. They may perform similar duties to an electrician, such as running or repairing cable wire. AV technicians may have to deal with dangerous equipment at times, as well as heights. Most AV techs, however, work indoors. A standard 40-hour work week is normal in this career, though work hours can lengthen during large projects, and overtime may be either an option or a requirement.

A person who wishes to become an AV technician should acquire a high school diploma or its equivalent. Postsecondary degrees are generally preferred, with concentrations in computers, broadcasting, electronics, or other technology related programs. Training, internships, and other experiences are also valued by employers in this field. The most common employer of AV technicians is the video and film industry.

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ceilingcat
Post 3

I know someone who does AV work at a local hotel, and from what I understand, most AV technicians don't get a standard 40 hour work week. Yes, they may work 40 hours, but most of them aren't working 9 to 5.

AV technicians work when there are events going on. Whether it's a conference at a hotel or a large concert, they start work way before the event starts and their day ends long after the even is over. They set up all the stuff and then take it back down! This might result in a 12 or even 16 hour day!

JaneAir
Post 2

@Monika - I have a friend who is an AV technician, and he didn't attend college at all. He saw and entry-level AV technician job description in a classified ad in a local paper and decided to go for it. And he got hired and trained by the company!

Anyway, one thing I think is really interesting about the AV industry is that you can either work as an employee for a company or a freelancer. If you work as an employee you get benefits, but you get paid a lot less. However, if you work as a freelance you have a lot more flexibility and get paid a lot more.

My friend says it's a good idea to get a little bit of experience as an employee (maybe a year or so) and then get on with some freelance companies.

Monika
Post 1

My boyfriend is an AV technician. He actually got his AV technician training in college, where he majored in electronic media and film. However, from what he tells me, a college degree isn't always necessary to do this job.

In fact, some companies will train you on the job. And, even if you know the basics, there is always more stuff in the AV business to learn, so it's a good idea to take advantage of that training even if you already have some skills. Also, there are also some technical schools where you can get basic AV training.

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