Concert Lighting Design Training and Education Program Information
Individuals interested in designing and installing lighting at various venues might consider enrolling in an associate's degree program in entertainment and live lighting. Read ahead to get an idea of what you can learn in these programs, view some of the career paths and see examples of certifications.
Associate of Applied Science in Entertainment and Live Lighting programs for aspiring concert lighting technicians are different than lighting design degree programs. They teach students how to light entertainment venues as opposed to teaching them how to incorporate lighting into architectural plans. Students learn about both the technical and creative issues involved with lighting up a stage for a concert or musical show through hands-on practice and classroom training. Many programs are paired with associate's degree programs in live audio production. What's required for admission varies, but likely is just a high school diploma.
Associate's degree programs in concert lighting technology focus on new technologies in the lighting field, such as automated lighting systems while still highlighting conventional lighting systems. Students also learn about lighting layouts, instruments and applications that work best for large stages, small stages, big shows, small shows, concerts, sports arenas and more.
Career-centered programs in concert lighting technology are offered through community colleges and universities, and educational prerequisites vary from school to school. Some schools accept any incoming freshmen who hold a high school diploma or GED certificate, while others require incoming students to take a placement exam before they can begin courses in their chosen field.
The courses included within a concert lighting design certificate program include both practical and theoretical sessions. Many programs also include an internship at a local entertainment venue. Specific courses may include:
- Lighting design
- Technical production issues
- Programming lights
- Intelligent lighting
- Concert lighting
- Computer applications and lighting
- Scenic design and construction
- Equipment maintenance
- Lighting instruments
- Lighting layouts
Popular Career Options
Lighting design professionals can go on to work for independent lighting companies, concert venues or specific plays. Some lighting professionals even travel with particular bands and perfect the lighting for one specific show. Various positions open to lighting professionals may include:
- Concert lighting technician
- Stage lighting designer
- Lighting programmer
- Automated lighting specialist
- Road hand
Professional lighting technicians are responsible for selecting and installing the lighting for the venues where concerts, plays and other forms of entertainment are staged. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, stage hands and workers who helped set up lighting systems for concerts were categorized as audio and video equipment technicians. These professionals earned a median salary of $41,850 per year in May 2012, and job growth was expected to be average from 2010-2020, with 25,600 predicted job openings during the same time period.
Certification is not typically required for lighting designers or technicians working for concerts or other entertainment venues. However, the International Association of Lighting Management Companies (NALMCO) does offer two certifications in the field. It provides both the Certified Apprentice Lighting Technician (CALT) and the Certified Senior Lighting Technician (CSLT) designations.
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