How Do I Become a Lighting Technician?

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  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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A lighting technician typically works behind the scenes of a motion picture, television, or stage production to create the various lighting effects required by the director. You must be at ease with heights and have a certain amount of creativity to become a lighting technician. Several different technical skills are also needed and can usually be acquired through a two-year college training program. Completing an apprenticeship under the direction of an experienced professional is a good way to gain the practical experience required to become a lighting technician. After completing your formal education and apprenticeship, employment can usually be found as a staff member of a production company or as a freelance contractor.

You must have certain personal abilities if you intend to become a lighting technician. These professionals are often required to work at considerable heights above a set or stage. In addition, they must be able to move heavy pieces of lighting equipment and quickly make lighting adjustments during live productions. The ability to work as part of a team and meet strict production deadlines is also required to succeed at this occupation. You should have good problem-solving skills to repair faulty equipment and configure complex equipment arrangements.


Many different technical skills are needed to become a lighting technician. Although there is no particular educational path for this occupation, most employers prefer candidates who have completed some type of formal training. The basic skills needed can usually be gained from a two-year college program in theater or film production. Courses pertaining to lighting equipment and electricity as well as color theory and light modification will be very beneficial for this occupation.

Many of the skills needed to become a lighting technician can only be acquired through on-the-job training. One of the best ways to gain this experience is to complete an apprenticeship under the guidance of an experienced technician. During this training, you will be taught all aspects of the profession such as cleaning, maintaining, and repairing various types of lighting equipment. As your skills increase, you will be taught how to create different lighting effects and set-up complex equipment arrangements. Most apprenticeships last for three years and can sometimes be completed during your college training.

Once you have acquired the education and skills needed to become a lighting technician, employment may be found in a number of different industries. Film production companies, television networks, and dance companies, as well as theater and concert productions typically require the services of a qualified lighting technician. You may find work as a full-time employee of a large production company or as a freelance contractor for seasonal projects. Additional education and work experience may qualify you to work as a lighting director, or a lighting designer position may also be possible if you have a great deal of creative ability.


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