As far as we’re concerned, you’re certifiable.

Let’s say you are undergoing a competitive interview in front of the general manager to become the chief engineer of a radio station where you’d like to work. You appear to have some experience like the other person she’s considering. But your opponent boasts that he’s an SBE Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer and you have no certification. Who is she going to hire? She may not know the best questions to ask to determine your technical eligibility. 

Certification is about proving to management that you haven’t just faked your way through a couple of projects–that indeed you know what you’re doing.


In 1975, SBE established a Certification Program to recognize and raise the professional status of broadcast engineers by providing standards of professional competence. Through the years, it has become recognized in the industry as the primary method of verifying the attainment of educational standards. In 2003, SBE’s Certification Program was recognized by the National Skill Standards Board. NSSB Certification Recognition promotes quality assurance in the certification marketplace and provides national recognition for certifications that meet the quality benchmarks. With the industry constantly changing, the SBE-certified engineer must keep up with those changes.

To be eligible for certification, you must have a strong interest in the design, operation, maintenance or administration of the day-to-day problems and achievements associated with the operation of a broadcast facility or related technology. You must also meet the specific eligibility requirements of the desired certification level. The SBE broadcast engineer certificate is not a license; it is a document that recognizes professional competence by peers in a professional, independent organization. Certification is for individuals only and may not be used to imply that an organization or firm is certified.

Program Objectives

  • To raise the status of broadcast engineers by providing standards of professional competence in the practice of broadcast engineering and related technologies.
  • To recognize those individuals who, by fulfilling the requirements of knowledge, experience, responsibility and conduct, meet those standards of professional competence.
  • To encourage broadcast engineers to continue their professional development.

Certification and SBE Membership

While membership in SBE is not a requirement of the Certification Program, because SBE members share in the overhead cost of all SBE activities, non-member certification fees are higher.

Non-members who certify at a technologist or engineering level are eligible to receive membership in SBE through April 1 of the following year. We hope you take advantage of this proposal. It is our hope that you will like what SBE has to offer and will want to continue your membership and support of your Society.

What is Covered in Your Exam?

The question about what to study for any given certification test was answered in 2012 by the publication of the now complete SBE Cert Preview CD. Information about the tests and study CD are provided here.


Locally, we have a Certification Chair who will administer your exam and can answer questions about the certification process.


The SBE Certification Committee has established the following exam dates. Choose the exam period that is best for you.

Exam Dates Location Application Deadline
February 5–15, 2021 San Diego December 31, 2020
June 4–14, 2021 San Diego April 16, 2021
August 6–16, 2021 San Diego June 11, 2021
November 5–15, 2021 San Diego September 10, 2021
February 4–14, 2022 San Diego December 31, 2021

When you are ready to take an SBE exam, please fill out the appropriate application and send it to the SBE National office (see address below). You will be notified once your application has been approved. Approximately 3 weeks before the exam time, your local certification chairman will receive a list of applicants in his/her area. He will then contact those applicants to schedule a date, time and place for the exams. The exams will be mailed back to the National office for grading. The pass/fail grades will then be mailed directly to the applicants.

You may mail, email or fax your applications to:

Megan E. Clappe
Certification Director
9102 N. Meridian St. Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46260
(317) 846-9120 Fax

Certification Fees

Fees to cover administrative costs are non-refundable. “No Shows” will be assessed the same rescheduling fee as “Retakes” for future exams.


If your certification expires soon, please fill out the re-certification application (underlined link in each listing) and send it in to maintain your SBE certification.

SBE Certification is valid for a period of five years. Applications for recertification will be accepted six (6) months prior to the expiration date on your certificate. Certification can be renewed in the following ways:

  • Recertification for Certified Radio Operator (CRO) and Certified Television Operator (CTO): At the end of the five (5) year period, the Radio and Television Operator certifications can be renewed by meeting the service requirement as verified by your supervisor, or you may upgrade your certification to a higher level by passing an examination and meeting the appropriate service requirements. (CRO Recertification Application  and CTO Recertification Application)
  • Recertification for Certified Broadcast Technologist (CBT): At the end of the five (5) year period, the Broadcast Technologist certification can be renewed by meeting the service requirement of continuous employment in broadcast or broadcast-related industry for three (3) of the past five (5) years preceding the renewal application, or you may upgrade your certification to a higher level by passing an examination and meeting the appropriate service requirements. CBT Recertification Application
  • Recertification for Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist (CBNT), Certified Audio Engineer (CEA), Certified Video Engineer (CEV), Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer (CBRE), Certified Broadcast Television Engineer (CBTE), Certified Senior Radio Engineer (CSRE), Certified Senior Television Engineer(CSTE) and Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer (CPBE): The continuing education of broadcast engineers is necessary to remain current with state-of-the-art technology. To ensure that each Certified Broadcast Engineer maintains technical competence, he or she must participate in the Maintenance of Certification Program. He or she may do this by accumulating the required professional credits every five (5) years or by examination.
  • Recertification for Certified 8-VSB Specialist (8-VSB), Certified AM Directional Specialist (AMD) and Certified Digital Radio Broadcast Specialist (DRB): Specialist Certifications are renewable with their host certifications for a modest fee. When applying for recertification of the host certification, simply indicate your desire to recertify your specialist certification and include the additional fee; no other action is required.
    Recertification by Examination

Upgrade your SBE Certification

If you currently hold a Certified Senior Radio Engineer (CSRE) or a Certified Senior Television Engineer (CSTE) certification and you have worked in the industry for at least 20 years, you may want to consider upgrading to the Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer (CPBE). There is no exam involved. You can find more information about the CPBE and applications here.

Society of Broadcast Engineers, San Diego