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Audio Engineer: Occupational Outlook

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an audio engineer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

An audio engineer typically completes a relevant degree program and learns additional skills on-the-job. Audio engineers can work in television, radio, film, and other related industries. The employer usually specifies how much education is needed for a certain job.

Essential Information

Audio engineering is the production and manipulation of sound through mechanical or digital means. As such, audio engineers setup, repair and operate sound-enhancement and production equipment. The required education varies from a certificate to a degree in audio production. Any formal training program usually provides hands-on instruction and projects, with some offering internships that provide real world experience.

Required Education Certificate, associate's or bachelor's program related to audio production
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% for sound engineering technicians
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $53,330 for sound engineering technicians

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Occupational Outlook for a Career in Audio Engineering

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job opportunities for sound engineering technicians are expected to increase by 8% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). More generally, jobs for broadcast and sound engineering technicians, who may perform similar duties as audio engineers, are expected to rise by seven percent over the same time frame.

Salary Information

In May, 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for a sound engineering technician was $53,330. Of the industries employing the largest number of broadcasting and sound engineering technicians, the motion picture and video industries offered the highest wages in May 2015, with employees earning on average $50,400 annually.

Audio Engineer Job Duties and Workplace

Audio engineers work on music projects by overseeing voice, sound, acoustic and electronic music systems. Job duties include setting up, operating and maintaining a wide array of electronic and electrical equipment involved in television or radio broadcasts, concerts, plays, musical recordings or movies. Audio engineers may work in multimedia and post-production facilities, as well as professional, commercial or private recording studios. They could also serve as field engineers, who work outside of the studio, or they might specialize in sound reinforcement, acoustical consultation or broadcast engineering.

Educational Requirements for an Audio Engineer

According to the BLS, audio engineers generally need some formal education beyond high school. Prospective candidates may consider completing certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree programs in audio production or a related field. Coursework in these programs may include music theory, live sound reinforcement, aural perception and studio recording. Students in advanced classes may be required to complete sound design projects and may have the opportunity to apply for internships.

Having technical skills and a good ear for sound are necessary qualifications for an audio engineer. Ability to operate various electronic equipment is important as well. Jobs in this field are expected to grow 8% from 2014 to 2024, which is about average.

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