For most people, education ends when they graduate. They’ve done it and have the job they want (hopefully). For some industries like TV and radio, education is never-ending. Every year is something new to learn. Because of that, the SBE has worked hard to create educational opportunities with monthly webinars and on-demand SBE University courses. They even have a monthly livestream on YouTube. This is only scratching the surface of what is offered.
I suggest everyone go over to the main www.sbe.org webpage and see all the educational opportunities they offer. I will warn you ̶ these are not free. But, with the SBE MemberPlus membership, the webinars are free.
To become a member, you need to be actively involved in broadcast engineering, have an academic degree in electrical engineering or its equivalent, or have scientific or professional experience in the communications field, including the design or marketing of broadcast-related products; have at least four years of active participation in broadcast engineering or its allied fields and have demonstrated acceptable technical proficiency. So, someone off the street with no real ties to this world would not be able to join. You just need to meet one of those criteria. There are some exceptions listed on the SBE membership page.
There are two types of membership: Traditional and MemberPlus. I highly recommend MemberPlus for educational purposes. As noted above, with a MemberPlus membership you will gain access to all the webinars for free. The cost of this membership is $175, which may seem costly to some, but when you factor in that webinars are $62 for members ($92 for non-members), the membership pays for itself once you do three webinars. And with over 90 webinars and more being added each month, you can do the math. I wouldn’t binge all the webinars at once, I’ve done the MemberPlus membership the last three years and try to do one or two webinars a month, typically, a current webinar and then an archived webinar.
It is so important for any engineer to keep up with technology, to continually learn. The more you know, the more valuable you may become to an employer. I am reminded of when I went through the Broadcast Engineering course from Cleveland Institute of Electronics many years ago. It was the same course my dad had gone through in the 1970s, and I would go over the material with him, getting advice and knowledge from someone who has been there and done that. What we quickly realized was that the course hadn’t been updated since he did it decades before. Some of the material was timeless, some current and good, something I could use for the time, but other stuff I just had to learn by doing because the material was outdated and didn’t help me much, at least at Crawford where we try not to keep transmitters that are more than a few years old.
Not all employers even know about the Society of Broadcast Engineers. That means it is up to us to do continuing education ourselves. I have no doubt that if brought to an employer, many would reimburse the cost of a membership if they can see how it will help the company.
We must push ourselves to be active and to find the webinars we need and to go through any SBE University courses that will help us in our career. We need to make ourselves irreplaceable. I know this may not always work, but it will also make you more appealing to a potential employer. I know at Crawford, to join our engineering department, you need to have a certification at the minimum. But the more you have, the more you know, the fact you show active participation within the SBE, the more appealing you are.
Let me encourage you to join in. You’re already at the chapter 48 website, which is a great starting point. Sign up for our email list and attend the local meetings (currently being held online). This chapter is a combined chapter with the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SMPTE (the global society of media professionals, technologists, and engineers). While I don’t know much about SMPTE (shame on me), you should also check out their organization and see what they can offer you (www.smpte.org). We try to keep our web page up to date with local meetings being held and encourage you to attend. The meetings are free for the most part. If there ever is a cost, we will let you know. Join us and you will find a second family.