Recording Arts Programs: Adult Education for a Career in Recording

Recording arts programs are most often available at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. These programs can prepare you for a career as a sound engineer, sound editor or producer. Read about these programs to get career information and find out which might be right for you.

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Here we explore some of the undergraduate degree program options for students interested in studying the recording arts. Learn about these programs, common courses and career information.

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Program Information

There are a variety of degrees that you may choose from if you are considering a career in the recording industry. Associate's degree programs give you a foundation and hands-on training in recording, mixing and producing audio. You can also pursue further education with a bachelor's degree in the recording arts. Many programs include opportunities to work on audio projects and engage in internships, as well as learn to use recording software. Students also learn about sound effects for movies or television, live sound production and more. Many colleges take into consideration the work schedule of returning students and make classes available on evenings and weekends.

Programs At a Glance

Associate in Recording Arts and Technology

  • These programs can take as little as 18 months to complete, and require a diploma or GED.
  • These programs are offered on-campus.

Bachelor in Recording Arts

  • Bachelor's programs are 4 years in length and require a high school diploma or GED.
  • These programs are offered on-campus.

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs prepare graduates to work with audio and music. Studio workshops and field experiences are included, and students may do a capstone project in recording arts. General education coursework is included. Students learn about sound effects and audio recordings that can be used in television, movies, video games and other media outlets. Some topics students might study include:

  • Recording theory
  • Music business
  • Digital audio mixing
  • MIDI technology
  • Music reading
  • Studio operations
  • Basic audio electronics
  • Survey of music
  • Songwriting
  • Audio recording and editing software
  • Mastering

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor's programs cover many of the same topics as associate's degree programs in recording arts, except that they have more general education coursework and some advanced audio courses. Students participate in an internship and a final recording arts project, as well as work on several different projects throughout the program. Students complete several courses in music, such as music history, music genres, music theory, music production, songwriting, vocal production, music publishing and the music business.

These programs not only cover techniques and methods used in live music production, but also audio postproduction processes. Students typically have access to film soundstages, production rooms and other professional facilities. Audio courses may include the following:

  • Recording consoles
  • Audio workstations
  • Mixing
  • Session recording
  • Audio repair and maintenance
  • Multitrack studio techniques
  • Sound for video production
  • Audio techniques

Career Information

There are a variety of careers you can pursue after completing a recording arts program. You will be able to produce sound recording, do voice-overs, become a sound editor and maybe even become a record producer. Competition is great for those seeking employment at major record labels. The foundation of your career will be your computer skills and your ability to master sound engineering.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sound engineering technicians (which also includes sound mixers and recording engineers) are expected to have a 7 percent employment growth between 2014 and 2024. The BLS notes that having strong familiarity with new software and electronics, or relevant work experience, will be helpful for finding a job. As of May 2016, sound engineering technicians made a median wage of $53,680, with most being paid between $24,440 and $121,630 a year.

Students pursuing a degree in the recording arts can find several associate's and bachelor's degree programs available. These programs are typically held on-campus, but may offer night and weekend classes as they prepare students for careers as recording engineers, sound mixers and more.

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