Sound Engineering Degree Program Overviews

Read about associate's and bachelor's degree programs in sound engineering. See what courses are required, learn about admission standards, and get an overview of career options in this field of study.

Essential Information

Sound engineers work in several positions in recording studios and sound companies. Sound engineering degree programs include both technical and business coursework so that graduates go into their careers understanding both sides of the job. These programs 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. The programs combine classroom work with hands-on experience.

Associate Degrees in Sound Engineering

An associate degree in sound engineering is designed to train producer-engineers musically and technically to work in the modern recording industry. 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. Students will leave the program with a large recording portfolio.

Program Prerequisites

Students applying for an associate degree in sound engineering must be fluent in the English language and have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Students must also have a general proficiency with computers and other technology, as it is the centerpiece of modern sound engineering. It is recommended that students be able to play an instrument, such as the piano, if they wish to go into musical recording with their degree.

Program Coursework

Coursework builds on a liberal arts base with additional requirements in music fundamentals, audio production and studio engineering. Some courses include:

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

Popular Career Options

Those with a sound engineering associate degree 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

Continuing Education Information

The standard degree in this field is a bachelor's in audio engineering. Students can apply their associate degree-level coursework toward the bachelor's degree.

Bachelor's Degree in Audio Engineering

A bachelor's degree in audio engineering prepares students for a career in the recording industry by combining coursework with hands-on lab and studio experiences. Students studying for a bachelor's degree can learn to apply their studies toward music, television post-production audio or working as an artist or producer. Students will master acoustics, live sound, production and electronics, among other recording topics.

Education Prerequisites

Like most bachelor's degree programs, students are required to have a high school diploma or equivalent and a transcript to back it up. Schools also require an ACT or SAT score and a filled-out application. It is recommended students understand Apple computer products, as well, and have a basic understanding of music and electronics.

Program Coursework

Courses are split between the classroom and the studio. Classes involve understanding music theory, electronics, recording equipment and the music and entertainment business. Classes include the following:

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

Popular Career Options

There are several options for those who complete a bachelor's degree in sound engineering. 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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