Students often learn about theories of sound and music in classroom lectures before learning how to apply those theories in actual recording studios. The courses provide students with an understanding of various types of acoustic instruments so that they might learn how to record each one. Students examine technology and equipment associated with the sound engineering profession, such as multi-track recording devices, computer music composition software and sound reinforcement equipment. Many baccalaureate degree programs in the field also require that students complete internships or have real-world experiences in sound production studios.
Applicants for these 4-year programs need a high school diploma and strong grade point average. Students are also expected to complete general education courses in mathematics, computer science, communication and music theory.
Bachelor's Degree in Sound Engineering
Many of the courses included in a bachelor's degree program in sound engineering focus both on the theory of music and the technical equipment and processes used to record and manipulate music. Some core courses might include:
- American music history
- Media arts seminar
- Performing arts technology
- Acoustics and psychoacoustics
- Musical composition and arranging
- Sound recording
- Sound production
Popular Career Options
A bachelor's degree in sound engineering can prepare graduates for several positions in the music industry. These include:
- Sound engineering technician
- Audio engineer
- Audio equipment technician
- Mix engineer
- Recording engineer
- Music producer
- Mastering engineer
- Assistant engineer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there is expected to be a 7% growth for broadcast and sound engineering technician positions from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Growth for sound engineering technicians alone is expected to be 8%, with strong competition expected. The BLS reported in May 2015 that sound engineering technicians earned a median annual salary of $53,330.
Continuing Education Options
A Master of Science in Sound Engineering or a Master of Science in Audio Engineering degree program can provide students with an advanced understanding of the music recording and production industry. Such a 2-year program typically contains advanced seminars on emerging technologies in the field and advanced studio production experience. Graduates can leverage a continuing education experience in sound engineering to gain positions of management in sound recording studios.
A bachelor's degree in sound engineering focuses on music theory and how to record and manipulate sound. Graduates can pursue higher education or work as sound engineers and technicians.