Audio engineering, also called sound engineering, is a perfect balance between art and science. An audio engineer’s job is to work magic on music and other sounds, to provide the perfect balance, volume, and quality for recording and performance. They are highly sought after in all aspects of the entertainment industry. Movies, television, recording studios, theater productions, advertising agencies musicians and others rely on the expertise of audio engineers to provide the perfect mix. This is the art and science behind what you do in this profession. There is science in the technology used, and the engineer knows a lot about the science of sound itself. The art is finding the right balance, the creativity that goes with finding the mix of sounds that is most pleasing to the audience and most effectively communicates the message of the performance or recording.
An audio engineering program can help you with a career in many different creative industries. Choosing the right program for you is an important part of reaching your goals. Many audio engineers focus their degree on mixing, mastering, editing, or recording, but there are programs which give you a general overview of all aspects of sound engineering. In addition, the program you choose will depend on the primary media you wish to work with. Some engineers work with live music or theater performances. Others choose to spend their time in radio, or recording. Still others may focus on multimedia. As technology changes, applications for audio engineers become more diversified.
Degree levels offered for an audio engineering program:
- Associate degree – This degree is one that will likely provide you an overview of audio engineering and could lead to an entry-level position in the field. However, as technology becomes more advanced, the requirement for a bachelor degree for even entry-level positions has become more common.
- Bachelor’s degree – This is a bachelor of science program that very often includes a specific degree focus on the type of audio engineer you’d like to become and the media you’d like to work with.
- Graduate degree– Advanced degrees exists for audio engineers. Typically, the more advanced degree you have, the more specialized you become. Graduate level degrees often lead to more executive positions, and management positions in the field.
Finding the right school or program:
- Colleges and Universities: Many traditional schools offer audio engineering programs. If you are looking at a traditional state university or private college for a degree, it’s important to examine the reputation the program has, the culture and environment of the school itself, and how well the specific programs offered fit your future career goals.
- Specialized schools: Some schools that specialize in the arts, provide audio engineering degrees. There are even a few schools dedicated specifically to audio engineering. When looking at these schools, it is important to research their accreditation. A reputable school will be accredited. This is important to you for two reasons. First, the credits you earn at an accredited school are often transferable should you choose to change schools or go to graduate school. Second, employers look for candidates with degrees from accredited institutions because they know that these graduates have received a certain quality of education.
Other items to consider: We recommend approaching your school choice with an open-mind. Be willing to consider both specialized schools and traditional colleges. Location might be an important factor to you when choosing a school. Often, as part of your degree, you’ll be serving some sort of internship – so having a place nearby where you can gain hands on experience working in your chosen field will be important. Cost is always a factor, though not always the most important. Choosing a school that balances quality of education with affordability is always the best idea. The most expensive school is not always the best school.