Lighting technician

Lighting technicians set up and operate lighting for concerts, conferences and theatre, or in film and TV productions.

Average salary (a year)

£15,000 Starter

to

£40,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

42 to 44 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become a Lighting technician

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You could study at university towards a qualification that gives you the skills that a lighting technician would need. Relevant courses include:

  • higher national diploma in performing arts (production)
  • foundation degrees and degrees in lighting design, lighting technology, performance technology or technical theatre

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information

College

You could complete a college course that gives you the skills that you would need, like stage electrics and lighting design. Relevant college courses include:

  • Level 3 Certificate or Diploma in Production Arts

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You may also be able to start in this job through a technical theatre sound and lighting advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Work

You could qualify as an electrician first and then get practical experience in production lighting.

Volunteering and experience

You would also need relevant practical experience. You may be able to find a traineeship with a specialist lighting company. You could also look for experience in the following settings:

  • lighting equipment hire companies
  • theatres or concert venues
  • amateur theatre
  • student or community film projects

More information

Career tips

Whether you want to get into lighting for film and TV or theatre and live events, it's a good idea to build up a portfolio of your work. This could be a showreel DVD of productions you have worked on, to show to employers.

Further information

You can read a profile of a lighting and sound technician, and find out more about careers in this area from Creative Choices.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of building and construction
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • maths knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • leadership skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Depending on your role, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • interpreting a lighting designer's plan
  • carrying out risk assessments for health and safety purposes
  • planning where to run cables and place lights at film locations
  • helping to rig and check the equipment
  • taking cues from the stage manager in theatre or the floor manager in TV
  • programming and operating manual and computer-controlled lighting systems taking down the equipment after shows or filming

Working environment

You could work at a film studio, on a film set, at events, in a theatre or at a tv studio.

Your working environment may be hot, outdoors some of the time, at height and you'll travel often and spend nights away from home.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

You could work on more complex events, or specialise in areas like electrical safety, inspection and testing, pyrotechnics or rigging.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Returns Technician (Apprentice)

  • Wage : £154.00 Weekly
  • Location: TAMWORTH B79 7XH

Courses In England

Level 3 Technical Theatre (Live Events Production)

  • Provider: Hull College
  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: HULL

Technical Theatre (Stage Management, Lighting & Sound Design for Theatre) BTEC Diploma - Level 3

  • Provider: DUDLEY COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY
  • Start date: 04 September 2019
  • Location: Dudley

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