What Those Letters Actually Mean - Radio World

What Those Letters Actually Mean

The Society of Broadcast Engineer’s Program of Certification began 33 years ago as a way to recognize and raise the professional status of broadcast engineers by providing a standard of professional competence. It has become recognized in the industry as the primary method of verifying the attainment of educational standards.
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If you read Radio World or any publication catering to our industry, you have seen one or more SBE Certifications listed after someone’s name.

You might ask yourself, “What are these certifications and how can I obtain them?”

Let me start with a quick background of how SBE Certification came to be.

The Society of Broadcast Engineer’s Program of Certification began 33 years ago as a way to recognize and raise the professional status of broadcast engineers by providing a standard of professional competence. It has become recognized in the industry as the primary method of verifying the attainment of educational standards.


(click thumbnail)All of SBE’s Certifications are based on eligibility for the years of work in the broadcast industry.

ENTRY-LEVEL CERTIFICATIONS:

Certified Television Operator (CTO) and Certified Radio Operator (CRO) — These two certifications are targeted to the entry-level, non-technical pool of applicants filling board operator and master control positions in today’s radio and television marketplace and include the opportunity to be tested and certified. The exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. It is closed book and you are allotted one hour. Passing score is 90 percent.

Certified Broadcast Technologist (CBT) — This exam will consist of either AM/FM or TV questions. Content of these questions will consist of electronic fundamentals, FCC rules pertaining to operating tolerances and safety. The exam is 50 multiple-choice questions. It is open book and you are allotted three hours to take the exam. Passing score is 70 percent.

Certified Broadcast Technologist (CBT) — If you hold a valid FCC Amateur Extra Class license or a General Class license and have two continuous years or three out of the last five years work experience in broadcast engineering or a related technology, you can apply for the CBT certification without taking the exam. Please contact the national office for more information.

Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist (CBNT) — This certification is designed for persons who wish to demonstrate a basic familiarity with networking hardware as utilized in business and audio/video applications in broadcast facilities. This exam will consist of questions on network topologies and layouts, common network protocols, wiring standards and practices, maintenance, troubleshooting and connectivity issues and challenges unique to broadcast-based networks. The exam is 50 multiple-choice questions. It is open book and you are allotted three hours to take the exam. Passing score is 70 percent.

5-YEAR CERTIFICATIONS:

Certified Audio Engineer (CEA), Certified Video Engineer (CEV), Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer (CBRE) and Certified Broadcast Television Engineer (CBTE) — These certifications are based on the years of experience you have in the field of broadcast engineering or related technology. You may substitute the years of experience to supplement the five-year requirement (see acceptable substitutions below). This exam will consist of questions regarding safety, problems, operation practices and theory. The exam is 50 multiple-choice questions. It is open book and you are allotted three hours to take the exam. Passing score is 70 percent.

10-YEAR CERTIFICATIONS:

Certified Senior Radio Engineer (CSRE) and Certified Senior Television Engineer (CSTE) — These two certifications are based on years of experience you have in the field of broadcast engineering or related technology. You may substitute the years of experience to supplement the 10-year requirement (see acceptable substitutions below). The exam is 50 multiple-choice questions. It is open book. There is an essay portion associated with the senior exams. You will be given a choice of three essays (choose one). The essay is closed book. You are allotted three hours to take the exam. Passing score is a combined score of 84 percent.

For the five- or 10-year certifications you may substitute the years of experience holding a state-registered Professional Engineer’s license (four years), a bachelor’s degree (four years), an associate’s degree (two years) or years of related accredited education, year for year (up to four years).

20-YEAR CERTIFICATION:

Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer (CPBE) — This certification requires 20 years of professional broadcast engineering or related technologies experience in radio and/or television. Educational credits will not be counted towards the 20 years. There isn’t an exam associated with this certification. However the applicant must first be certified on the Senior (10-year) level in order to apply for the CPBE.

To apply you must fill out the application and include three letters of reference. Two must be from a certified Professional Broadcast Engineer, Certified Senior Broadcast Engineer or State-Registered Professional Engineer.

At least one other letter of reference must be from a person who has supervised your work. However, if he or she is certified at one of the above-mentioned levels, that reference will be counted as two letters. In addition to the application and letters of reference you must submit a résumé and a statement showing why you believe your professional experience, educational background and training qualify you for certification.

Your application will then go for review to your SBE Local Chapter Certification Chairman and then to the National Certification Committee.

SPECIALIST CERTIFICATIONS:

Certified 8-VSB Specialist (8-VSB), Certified AM Directional Specialist (AMD) and Certified Digital Radio Broadcast Specialist (DRB) — These certifications were created by the National Certification Committee to establish a benchmark of individual strengths. In order to apply for the Specialist exams you must first be certified on the five-year, 10-year or 20-year level. The exam is 50 multiple-choice questions. It is open book. There is an essay portion associated with the senior exams. You will be given one essay, which is closed book. You are allotted three hours to take the exam. Passing score is a combined score of 84 percent. Upon passing, your Specialist certification will be linked to the expiration of your host certification.

All SBE certifications are valid for a period of five years, at which time you will need to recertify by professional credits. These credits will be valid from the five-year period of your certification.

Credits can be obtained by continuing your education, working in the broadcasting field, attending seminars, writing for trade publications, SBE meetings and active membership in SBE or other national technical broadcasting societies.

To apply for any of these certifications please fill out an application from SBE’s Web site at www.sbe.org or you may call the National office to request an application at (317) 846-9000. Exams are given year-round at your local chapter during exam sessions.

So now when you see a list of SBE certification you will know what is required to obtain and maintain them.

If you have any questions please contact me at mclappe@sbe.org.

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