Sound Engineering Degree Program Overviews

Sound engineers work in several positions in recording studios and sound companies. Degree programs in this field include both technical and business coursework so graduates go into their careers understanding both sides of the job. They are available as associate degrees and bachelor's degrees from 2-year and 4-year schools. Students learn the basics of audio engineering and how to work with live and recorded sound through classroom lectures and hands-on work.

Essential Information

An associate degree in sound engineering is designed to train producer-engineers musically and technically to work in the modern recording industry. Students will leave the program with a large recording portfolio. A bachelor's degree prepares students for a career in the recording industry by combining coursework with hands-on lab and studio experiences. Students can learn to apply their studies toward music, television post-production audio or working as an artist or producer.

  • Program Levels in Sound Engineering: Associate's degrees, Bachelor's degrees
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent, ACT or SAT scores, fluency in the English language, aptitude for work with computers (typically Apple products) and other technology, basic understanding of music
  • Experiential Learning: Hands-on lab and studio work
  • Program Lengths: Two years (associate's), four years (bachelor's)

Associate Degrees in Sound Engineering

Students learn the fundamentals of sound engineering in this program, including acoustics, recording, music theory, digital audio and audio signal flow, along with background on the entertainment business. Coursework builds on a liberal arts base with additional requirements in music fundamentals, audio production and studio engineering. This can lead to a bachelor's degree in audio engineering as well. Some courses include:

  • Sound reinforcement
  • Studio maintenance
  • Audio mixing
  • Consoles
  • Surround sound techniques

Bachelor's Degree in Audio Engineering

Through courses split between the classroom and the studio, students will master acoustics, live sound, production and electronics, among other recording topics. Classes involve understanding music theory, electronics, recording equipment and the music/entertainment business. Topics may include the following:

  • Track programming
  • Digital signal processing
  • Pre-production
  • Editing

Popular Career Options

Associate's graduates can use their degree and portfolio to seek out an entry-level job assisting in a sound studio or other related company. Some careers include:

  • Audio-visual technician
  • Audio technician
  • Audio installer
  • Sound mixer

There are several options for bachelor's graduates. Most of these include working in a sound studio, but graduates go on to work as musicians, recording artists and other careers within digital media.

  • Studio manager
  • Music producer
  • Live sound engineer
  • Mastering engineer
  • Music and dialogue editor
  • Electronic musician

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