Career Profile: AV Technician
Do you like being on the scene? Enjoy figuring out how things work, and finding new ways to make them work? Maybe a career as an audio visual technician is for you.
Audio visual technicians are the ones that work behind the scenes at theatres, concerts, fashion shows, and anywhere else you need amplified sound, lighting or video. There are many college courses that you can take to begin your journey in this career. There are also many opportunities to begin work without any experience i.e. learn as you go. There is no set path in this career choice and most work comes in the form of “gigs”. As you develop relationships with production companies they may offer you a full time position, but most work in this trade is on a freelance basis.
In Canada, the most lucrative sector of the event production industry is in corporate events (conferences, meetings, product releases, etc.). A corporate events AV tech can expect to make $25-45 per hour based on the event and the competence level that particular technician brings to the production team. One can be simply an AV tech for their entire career, working on smaller live productions but most will pick a special discipline; audio, video, or lighting, and work on larger productions with larger teams. Some productions can have hundreds of techs working the many aspects of the show!
Being an AV tech has its’ challenges. The hours worked can be very long and at odd times of the day. When it is very busy, the hours can be very long; I once worked for 40 hours straight (not recommended!) When it is slow, usually from Christmas until spring, there is no income; when it is busy a good tech keeps this in mind. All people that work as freelancers understand this. Being an AV tech also carries many privileges. If you enjoy concerts, or any type of show, you will see a lot! If you enjoy travel this career can take you around the world.
An audio visual technician must be able to work well under very high pressure situations with many people watching. They must work long hours at any time of the day. They have a certain pride that is hard to explain after running a show to completion, without any technical errors, that most people will never know. Working in this field is hard work, but it is unlike any other.