1. Home: Explore careers
  2. Live sound engineer

Live sound engineer

Alternative titles for this job include Audio engineer

Live sound engineers control the sound at events like theatre performances, music concerts and festivals.

Average salary (a year)

£25,000 Starter


£40,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Live sound engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • a specialist course run by a drama school


You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma, or degree in a related subject like:

  • sound and live event production
  • live sound and lighting technology
  • music technology
  • technical theatre art

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

More Information


Some sound engineers start by taking a college course to develop their skills before looking for work. Qualifications include:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Sound and Music Technology
  • Level 3 Certificate in Technical Theatre: Sound, Light and Stage
  • T Level in Media, Broadcast and Production

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T Level

More Information


You could apply for an apprenticeship to get into this role, for example:

  • Creative Industries Production Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Audio Visual Technician Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship

These take around 2 years to complete.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information


You can get practical experience of using sound equipment to help your career prospects. This may be part of a course or you can try:

  • helping backstage in a theatre
  • being a roadie for a band
  • rigging sound in amateur or student theatre, or for local bands
  • working for a sound equipment manufacturer or hire company

Other Routes

Several drama schools offer degrees and diplomas in technical theatre accredited by the Federation of Drama Schools. Some of these courses include lighting and stage management as well as sound.

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join The Institute of Sound and Communications Engineers for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a live sound engineer from Spotlight.

You can get more information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • persistence and determination
  • customer service skills
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You might:

  • discuss the production sound needs with the director or sound designer
  • identify places in the script where any sound effects, music and changes in sound level are needed
  • pre-record any sound effects and music
  • position and rig up microphones
  • complete sound checks before a performance
  • operate the sound desk during shows
  • follow a sound plan (known as a 'plot') and cues from the deputy stage manager
  • look after and repair equipment
  • unload, set up, dismantle and load equipment at each venue when on tour

Working environment

You could work in a theatre, at events or at a recording studio.

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

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to chief sound engineer in a theatre, become a sound designer, or set up your own sound services company.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Audio Visual Technician Apprentice

  • Wage: £20,000 a year Annually

Creative Arts Technician Apprentice

  • Wage: £12,979.20 a year Annually
  • Location: Olton, Solihull, West Midlands

Courses In England

Sound Engineering Extended Certificate

  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: Ipswich

Music Technology - Sound Engineering L3 BTEC

  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: HITCHIN

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Is this page useful?

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for your feedback. Click here if you'd like to let us know how we can improve the service.