Sound producers can begin a career with a high school diploma. A postsecondary certificate program will provide hands-on training that may improve job prospects. Sound producers also need musical and technical skills to be effective in their work.
Sound producers, also referred to as audio engineers, recording engineers, and sound technicians, record and manipulate voices, sound effects, and music for movies, video games, sporting events, and albums. They operate and set up various recording equipment and may repair equipment as well. Sound producers may find work with only a high school diploma, although it's more common for these professionals to enroll in a certificate program that includes hands-on training working with sound equipment. Continuing education coursework and on-the-job training are common. Sound producers also need to possess musical skills and technical skills.
|Required Education||High school diploma or certificate; on-the-job training and continuing education|
|Required Skills||Musical and technical skills|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||8% for all sound engineering technicians|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$53,330 annually for all sound engineering technicians|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Sound Producer Job Duties
Sound producers use a variety of equipment and machines, such as digital audio workstations, attenuators, equalizers, and multi-meters during the sound recording process. During post-production and mixing, sound producers blend recorded clips of vocals and instruments to achieve a certain sound. For movie or television projects, these professionals focus on how sound effects and music line up with visual cues.
Audio producers and engineers can also put their own creative skills to use by making original sounds or music. For example, they may use computer programs and an assortment of other tactile objects or musical instruments to create customized sound effects.
Additionally, sound producers work closely with singers, actors, and other entertainment professionals to make sure that the sound they create is just right. In order to achieve desired results, they have to know how to properly communicate with performers, recording assistants, and others.
The salary of a sound producer is highly dependent on the industry in which he or she is working. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average hourly wage of sound engineering technicians in the motion picture and video industry was $39.74 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). During this time, technicians in the sound recording industry earned an average of $25.42 per hour, while those in the performing arts industry made an average hourly wage of $25.80.
In May 2015, California had the most employed sound engineering technicians, followed by New York, Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia, reports the BLS. Technicians in California earned an average salary of $73,900 a year, while those in New York made an average of $76,960 per year.
Sound producers are responsible for recording or modifying audio content, mixing tracks together for a song, or creating sound effects and music for films. They must have good communication, musical and technical skills, and can gain hands-on equipment training in a certificate program. Job growth is expected to rise at an average rate for sound producers through the year 2024.