Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Career profile: Broadcast engineer

Career profile: Broadcast engineerInterested in working in TV or radio but not sure how to get in? We give you the lowdown on the real stars behind the show.

A what?

Getting into the media is hard. A good backdoor route to mingling with the rich and famous is through broadcasting engineering. Broadcast engineers design and look after the equipment and systems used to transmit programmes across television and radio networks.

On the job

A broadcast engineer’s job is to create, install, test and repair audio and video equipment. They can work on sets, in studios and ‘on location’ – which can be almost anywhere!

Broadcasting engineers normally work about 37 hours a week (roughly nine to five), although actual working hours can be longer and more irregular. Shifts are common and can include weekends, evenings or nights. You can be asked to work long hours at short notice, particularly for news programmes and for filming where access to locations can be limited.

Location work and outside broadcasts may involve working away from home. Sometimes this can include working abroad.

How do I get there?

Most broadcasting engineers are taken on as trainees. To get a trainee position, you will normally need a diploma or degree in physics or engineering. Large employers also offer apprenticeship schemes.

To get onto a degree course, you usually need at least five GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) including maths and physics, plus two A-levels/three H grades including maths or physics, or the equivalent. Do have a look at all the universities and colleges you’re interested in though, as they can ask for different grades and qualifications.

Future prospects

Most broadcast engineers in this country work for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five. It’s a growing field and there are also opportunities working for cable, satellite and digital broadcasters as well as foreign and independent TV and radio production companies.

The salary can range from £15,000 a year to over £40,000 depending on who you work for and your level of experience.

Related links