An audio production degree program trains students to set up, operate, and maintain sound recording and mixing equipment. Audio production programs are commonly offered as associate's or bachelor's degrees. Students are required to have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for admission. An associate's degree program typically prepares students for entry-level employment, while those in a bachelor's program may qualify for more advanced positions as audio technicians or broadcasting engineers. Bachelor's programs may require completion of a practicum or internship. In addition to the above programs, master's-level programs also exist for students who want to pursue advanced careers. Program fields include audio production, sound and recording, recording arts and technologies.
Associate of Applied Science in Audio Production
Enrollees in this program are trained to set up recording devices, mix recordings to get a desired sound, and perform other technical skills needed for an entry-level audio production career. Courses include both classroom education and laboratory work. Students learn to produce music and video recordings through the study of subjects, such as sound synthesis, sound arrangement, and vocal production. Students often gain professional experience practicing the skills they learn under supervision in a working recording studio. Common course topics include:
- Sound synthesis
- Sound arrangement
- Vocal production
- Audio mixing
- Multi-track recording
- Sound post-production
Bachelor's Degrees in Audio Production
Many audio production baccalaureate programs lead to a Bachelor of Science degree, while some result in a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). Both programs are similar, but a B.A. program may include more courses on writing or music history. These programs provide an overview of recording and sound production hardware, as well as sound editing or sound synthesis software. In the first years of study, students usually take liberal arts classes and introductory courses on sound production. The last year of study typically focuses on a practicum or internship. Students also learn skills in audio engineering and communication, and take courses that may touch on the following topics:
- Critical listening
- Microphone technology
- Recording industry laws and ethics
- Digital audio theory
Popular Career Choices
Graduates are qualified for entry-level positions in the broadcasting, motion picture, or sound recording industries. Popular career titles include:
- Audio technician
- Broadcasting engineer
- Sound engineering technician
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of audio and visual equipment technicians is expected to increase 12% between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). The increase is expected to stem from the demand for technicians to install new sound systems, as well as maintain older systems. The BLS also reported that as of May 2018, the median annual salary of audio and video equipment technicians was $43,770.
With the completion of a bachelor's degree, students can begin work immediately or continue into a master's degree program in sound and recording. Master's degree programs are also available in recording arts and technologies. These programs provide graduates with advanced theoretical knowledge and practical experience in the field of sound recording and mixing.
Audio production degree programs focus on teaching students to operate sound recording and mixing equipment. These programs prepare students for a career as audio and visual equipment technicians that can work in broadcasting, sound recording, and motion pictures.