Special Effects Technician

Help bring monsters and explosions to life for TV for film.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$18,000 – $72,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Special Effects Technicians do?

A Special Effects Technician (SFX Technician) uses a variety of techniques to enhance film, theatre, or commercial productions with non-digital optical effects. Special Effects Technicians typically specialize in a particular category of effect making. These genres might include pyrotechnics, claymation, robotics, plastic prostheses, and many other areas. On large productions you will most likely be one of several Special Effects Technicians employed on the set.

In pre-production you study the script, research time periods, and make sketches and models of work you intend to create. Then you meet with the Director, your Special Effects Foreman, and relevant heads of departments to discuss your creative vision. When it comes time to bring your ideas to life you may be working in an art studio, in a film studio, or at an outdoor location.

Whether you’re creating car crashes or making-up movie monsters, you must always keep in mind the safety of the actors and crew. Depending on the medium you practice being a Special Effects Technician can be one of the more dangerous jobs on a film set or theater stage (like if you’re a Pyrotechnician), but it is also one the most innovative and exciting.

Should I be a Special Effects Technician?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.

  • How to Become a
    Special Effects Technician

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