Audio Recording Degree and Career Education Programs

Audio recording degrees are available at the bachelor's and master's levels, typically in recording arts or sound engineering technology programs. An audio recording education usually incorporates both classroom and hands-on technical training in studio settings.

Essential Information

Schools often prefer applicants who have a strong musical or computer science background, often exhibited in a personal statement. Bachelor's degrees in audio recording are usually conferred as recording arts or recording arts engineering degrees, and are often paired with music production. In most programs, students begin training in analog recording labs to get a fundamental understanding of audio signal flow; the basis of nearly all mixing and recording technologies. Eventually, they progress to an analog-digital combination studio and, finally, one that is fully digital, where they'll learn about 5.1 surround sound and the latest recording advancements.

Master's degrees in recording arts are commonly granted as a Master of Fine Arts (MFA). These programs provide advanced training in production, recording and integrated electronic media. Students gain knowledge of related disciplines like digital animation, computer science and video production, which are offered as minors. As an MFA is a terminal degree and qualifies graduates to teach at a post-secondary level, many programs also give pedagogical training or teaching opportunities.

  • Program Levels in Audio Recording: Bachelor's and master's
  • Prerequisites: A high school diploma or equivalent for a bachelor's, a portfolio and bachelor's degree for a master's, strong background in music or computer science
  • Program Length: 2-4 years on average
  • Other Requirements: Many programs culminate in a final recording project

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Audio Recording

In addition to industry-standard equipment and techniques, students also receive keyboard, aural and theoretical training. Some classes that might appear in bachelor's recording arts curriculum are:

  • Digital consoles
  • Audio post-production
  • Music theory
  • Critical listening
  • Audio file management

Master's Degree Programs in Audio Recording

Master's students can expect to log many hours in studios recording actual music sessions. Lecture topics include:

  • Musical synthesis
  • Multitrack recording
  • Visual aesthetics and technology
  • Recordings in a cultural context
  • Legal rights of creative individuals

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Most bachelor's-level graduates go into sound engineering, while many master's students work as music directors and composers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the employment rates for broadcast/sound engineering technicians and music directors/composers would grow at 9% and 5% over 2012-2022, with median annual salaries of $49,870 and $48,180 as of May 2014, respectively.

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