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Sound Engineering Schools in the U.S.

Sound engineering schools offer degree programs in the recording arts, recording technology, acoustics and audio technology. Instruction in the field may be offered through a school's music or engineering department.

Sound engineers handle the technical aspects of producing, recording, and mixing sound in order to achieve a certain goal. Several programs are available at different levels that prepare interested individuals for a career in the field.

10 Schools with Sound Engineering Programs

While a number of programs exist in this area, below are several of the most reputable.

College/University Location Institution Type Degree's Offered Tuition (2015-2016, in-state)
Spokane Falls Community College Spokane, WA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $3,388
Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,046
Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte, NC 2-year, Public Continuing education courses $2,664
Houston Community College Houston, TX 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $1,631 in-district, $3,360 in-state
Manchester Community College Manchester, CT 2-year, Public Associate's $4,052
Lane Community College Eugene, OR 2-year, Public Associate's $4,047
Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor, MI 2-year, Public Certificate $2,424 in-district, $3,816 in-state
Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown, NC 2-year, Public Associate's $2,064 in-district, $2,208 in-state
Community College of Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA 2-year, Public Associate's $4,920 in-district, $9,360 in-state

School Selection Criteria

Sound engineering programs are available at community colleges, technical schools and universities. A few important considerations when choosing a program include:

  • Some programs require students to be proficient in an instrument and perform in ensembles throughout the program, which may appeal to some students and not others.
  • Students should consider program depth. While certificate programs are the shortest and offer potentially fast entry to the field, associate's and bachelor's programs may give students more hands-on opportunities to hone their craft.
  • Sound engineering students should ensure a school offers instruction using the latest technologies and tools for audio engineering.
  • Students should strongly consider attending a school that offers internships, since they're a good way to prepare for career entry and even network with professionals in the field.

Sound Engineering Program Overviews

Certificate Programs

Students of a certificate program are usually qualified for a specific type of equipment or job function, such as audiovisual technology, upon graduation. Depending upon the student's career goals, this option may be a fast and efficient way to enter the field. Certificate students take courses such as:

  • Audio engineering
  • Studio recording techniques
  • Music business
  • Music theory
  • Pro Tools

Associate's Degree Programs

Graduates of these programs may be eligible for entry-level positions in the field. Programs may require students to complete a work experience or compile a portfolio. The curriculum of an associate's degree program in sound engineering includes coursework in:

  • Piano
  • Sound reinforcement
  • Music theory
  • Sound mixing
  • Music technology

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Students in a bachelor's degree program usually commit to a career path, such as working in the music recording industry, conducting acoustic principle studies or creating computerized innovations that process sound. In these programs, students may need to complete a senior project or thesis. They also study topics like:

  • Electronics
  • DC/AC circuits
  • Music theory
  • Acoustics

It is important for prospective students to consider the location, technology needs, and future goals when choosing a sound engineering program. Different level programs provide experiences that may be specific and necessary to a career.

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