Out of the more than 130 colleges and universities in the state of Washington, only seven public and private non-profit institutions offer audio production programs. These programs may prepare individuals for creative careers, such as audio or sound specialist, audio mixer, or record mixer, or technical careers, such as sound engineer technician or AV equipment technician. These schools' programs range from minors and certificates to PhDs. Some schools offer classes in the evenings, while others include fieldwork or co-op experiences in the programs.
Read about these seven Washington schools, and consider the details highlighted in the school comparison table.
Bates Technical College
At Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Washington, students can enroll in an Associate in Applied Science program in engineering, operations and productions. It requires 104-108 credits, including general courses in electronics, video editing, and audio recording. Core audio coursework covers digital recording techniques, audio equipment and studio acoustics. Upon graduation, students can look for jobs in industries like audio, film, and multimedia.
There are three options for students who want to pursue audio production training at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. The Audio Production Certificate and undergraduate minor in audio production technology include courses in audio technology survey, the music business, and recording engineering. However, the 18-unit certificate program also provides general training in video production and lighting design, while the undergraduate minor incorporates three classes in recording engineering.
Northwest University also has a Bachelor of Arts program in contemporary music industry/recording arts technology that includes general education courses, as well as classes focused on audio production. Students are exposed to multi-track recording, post-production techniques, and sound basics, among other topics. They also have the opportunity to develop projects in conjunction with industry professionals. In addition, the campus houses two recording studios.
Pierce College at Puyallup
The curriculum for the associate's degree program in music at Pierce College in Puyallup, WA, is designed to transfer to a 4-year program. Some of the many classes offered by the music department include beginning, intermediate and advanced audio production. According to the school's website, the school provides access to some of the top recording studios in the Pacific Northwest. These studios house such equipment and technology as mixing consoles, professional-grade microphones, DAT machines, and Mac computers with ProTools and Digital Performer.
Shoreline Community College
Shoreline Community College can be found in Shoreline, Washington. Audio production programs offered include an Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences in Music Technology with audio engineering and electronic MIDI/music production options, as well as a digital performer certificate. The 15-credit certificate program is offered typically during the summer session.
The associate's degree programs both require more than 100 credits. Coursework in the digital audio engineering program covers acoustics, sequencing, multi-track production, and MIDI, while the electronic MIDI program includes courses in MIDI synthesis and sequencing, digital performance, and classical piano. Both programs require students to create a portfolio of work. In addition, there are six sound studios and a Mac lab on campus, all of which are outfitted with industry-specific and up-to-date software and hardware.
Spokane Falls Community College
Students can pursue a Professional Certificate in Audio Engineering or an Associate in Applied Science in Audio Engineering at Spokane Falls Community College in Spokane. These programs aim to prepare students for jobs as technicians in broadcasting, audio production, analog and digital recording, live sound engineering, or sound design. Topics covered by both programs include acoustics, microphone placement, songwriting, film scoring, location recording, and more.
For individuals seeking a shorter program, the 41-credit certificate can be completed in three quarters. The 2-year associate's program is primarily intended for students who plan to pursue an entry-level job in the music industry upon graduation. The first year of the associate's program covers sound recording basics, including exposure to current industry software and hardware. The second year includes a work experience opportunity, as well as coursework in MIDI arranging, audio engineering, and audio system maintenance.
University of Washington - Seattle Campus
The Seattle campus of the University of Washington is a 4-year, public institution offering undergraduate- and graduate-level degree programs. Students who want a brief introduction to audio production fundamentals can enroll in an audio production certificate program that incorporates courses in audio engineering, audio mixing, and audio mastering. Program courses are only available in the evenings.
Students who wish to study music, media, or communications can also consider the school's Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs in digital arts and experimental media. The bachelor's program is intentionally broad to allow for the exploration of new media, technology, and processes used in the visual and/or performing arts. Upon successful completion of the BFA or PhD, students can pursue further study or research in fields such as experimental media, digital music composition, interactive media production, or sound art.
Western Washington University
Situated in the small city of Bellingham, this public, 4-year school has a 30-credit minor in audio technology, music, and society offered through its Fairhaven College, the liberal arts division of the school. Students take core classes in audio recording, music fundamentals, and ProTools, as well as two music and society lecture-based classes. In addition, the curriculum incorporates 7-11 elective credits, and students can choose from a broad range of topics, some of which include electroacoustical music, songwriting, and media advocacy. All students have access to both audio and video studios.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Audio Production Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*|
|Bates Technical College||2-year, public; midsized city||Associate in Applied Science in Engineering, Operations and Productions|| $3,681 in-state;
|Northwest University||4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb|| Audio Production Technology Certificate,
Audio Production Technology Minor,
Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Music Industry/ Recording Arts Technology
|Pierce College at Puyallup||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate of Arts in Music|| $3,691 in-state;
|Shoreline Community College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Certificate of Completion in Digital Performer: Digital Audio,
Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences in Music Technology
| $3,730 in-state;
|Spokane Falls Community College||2-year, public; midsized city|| Certificate in Audio Engineering,
Associate in Applied Science in Audio Engineering
| $3,388 in-state;
|University of Washington - Seattle||4-year, public; large city|| Certificate in Audio Production,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Arts and Experimental Media,
Doctor of Philosophy in Digital Arts and Experimental Media
| $4,437 (certificate program)**;
|Western Washington University||4-year, public; small city||Audio Technology, Music, and Society Minor|| $8,611 in-state;
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **University of Washington - Seattle.