Audio technology degrees are readily available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's levels. Program graduates may pursue a career as a recording technician, broadcaster or live sound engineer for the television, radio, film, music and entertainment industries. Coursework will include subjects such as live sound elements, computer recording systems, digital post-production and mastering.
An associate's degree can be obtained in two years or less. While there are no specific requirements other than a high school diploma or its equivalent, aptitude in math, science and computers, and the ability to play a musical instrument may be helpful.
A bachelor's degree program can be completed in four years. Although you do not need to be a musician, some programs may require a background in music.
Master's programs take approximately 2-3 years to complete, and courses are generally offered on-campus, although some business courses may be available online. You'll be able to specialize in fields such as audio and video post-production and music and audio mastering. In addition to holding a bachelor's degree in a related subject, some schools may require you to submit portfolios of previous work in videotape, CD or DVD format. Also, you may need to take and pass a musical instrument or conductor audition.
Associate's Degrees in Audio Technology
An associate's degree in music recording technology, audio engineering and audio technology program typically has courses that are held in on-campus studios, due to the amount of hands-on training required. You may decide to pursue a bachelor's degree upon graduation, or you can also choose to enter the workforce. Courses may include:
- Rudiments of music
- Live and recorded sound
- Sound physics
- Digital audio post-production
Bachelor's Degrees in Audio Technology
If you wish to deepen your knowledge of electronics, audio physics, acoustics and the most current digital audio production techniques, you can attain a bachelor's degree in audio technology or sound recording technology. A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program consists of hands-on training and lab work, in addition to classroom requirements. Internships and final capstone projects may be required for graduation. Coursework for a B.S. in Audio Technology varies by school, but usually includes general education requirements, such as English and foreign language classes. Programs also may contain music theory, computer and electronics classes, such as:
- Recording studio techniques
- Digital audio workstation operation
- Computer recording systems
- Harmony and counterpoint
- Electronics fundamentals
Master's Degrees in Audio Technology
If you wish to grasp further theoretical concepts of audio, video and animation technologies, you can earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Recording Arts and Technologies or a Master of Science (M.S.) in Music Technology. The M.S. programs might emphasize technical skills, whereas the MFA programs may focus more on aesthetic aspects.
Courses offered in a video game production program differ from those in a live sound recording program; however, typical graduate classes in audio technology include:
- Interactive media
- Recording aesthetics
- Digital mastering
- Internet audio recording
- History of music in film
After graduating from an associate's degree program in audio technology, you'll be able to find varied job opportunities in the United States and abroad, including:
- Cruise ship sound technician
- Recording studio assistant
- Live sound engineer
By holding a master's degree, you can look forward to careers in various facets of the music, music technology, education and entertainment industries, such as:
- Audio technology instructor
- Television and film composer
- Research and development product specialist
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for sound and broadcast engineering technicians was expected to increase 8% between 2018 and 2028, which was as fast as average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). The BLS also stated that competition in highly populated areas would be more prevalent than in smaller towns and cities. The median annual wage for sound engineering technicians reported by the BLS was $52,390 in 2018.
You may decide to continue your studies toward a doctorate in music technology, which can take approximately four years or more to complete. In addition to the various career paths available to those with master's degrees, you'll be qualified to teach at the university level.
Students interested in studying audio technology can pursue a degree at the associate's, bachelor's and master's levels to learn about recording, audio, music and more. Graduates can expect average job growth as sound and broadcast engineering technicians.