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Career Information for a Degree in Recording Arts

Degrees in recording arts typically cover production, engineering and mixing techniques. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for recording arts graduates.

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A degree in recording arts is multifaceted, comprising audio production, sound engineering, and musical creativity. A graduate from this program can work in radio, TV, film, the music industry, or even crime labs.

Essential Information

A college program for recording arts might lead to an associate, bachelor's or master's degree. Students can prepare for careers as audio artists or sound production professionals.

Career Title Sound Engineering Technician Audio-Visual Collections Specialist Audio Forensics Specialist
Education Requirements Associate's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% 8% 27% for all forensic science technicians
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $53,330 $45,890 $56,320 for all forensic science technicians

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Individuals who complete degree programs in the recording arts might work as sound engineering technicians, audio-visual collection specialists or audio forensics specialists, to name a few. Sound engineering technicians might work for studios, while audio-visual collection specialists tend to work for institutions or provide their services for specific events. Audio forensics specialists work closely with legal institutions to assist in solving crimes.

Sound Engineering Technician

Sound engineering technicians work at radio, television and film recording studios. They also might work at live events to monitor and operate audio equipment, such as soundboards, equalizers and mixers. Tasks might involve producing sound effects for radio or television broadcasts or optimizing the sound quality for opera or live theater.

In the music industry, sound engineering technicians might develop high-quality primary tracks, then mix and master the tracks to produce a polished product. Sound engineering technicians employed by the television and film industries might produce special effects sounds or enhance dialogue quality.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2015, the median annual salary for sound engineering technicians was $53,330 per year (www.bls.gov). Jobs for sound engineering technicians were expected to grow at a rate of 8% from 2014-2024.

Audio-Visual Collections Specialist

Audio-visual collections specialists use their knowledge of audio equipment and recording technology to select, install and operate recording equipment for classrooms, seminars, conferences and other events. They often hire and train technicians to assist them with performing these tasks. Other common job functions include performing basic maintenance and repairs on existing equipment, selecting the delivery format once recording is completed and cataloging finished material.

As of May 2015, the median salary for audio-visual and multimedia collection specialists was $45,890, according to the BLS. The BLS also reported that job growth in this field was expected to grow by 8% percent from 2014-2024.

Audio Forensics Specialist

Audio forensics specialists use their knowledge of recording technology and audio science to provide evidence and legal assistance in a variety of circumstances. In some situations, they might be asked to analyze audio surveillance tapes to identify voices or the sources of sounds, while in others they might be asked to examine digital audio files for embedded information that might be linked to criminal activities. Another important function of audio forensics specialists is identifying forged audio recordings or audio documents.

The BLS reported that from 2014-2024, jobs for all forensic science technicians were expected to increase by 27%. According to the BLS, forensic technicians earned a median annual salary of $56,320 as of 2015.

Recording arts programs provide one with an education in audio/visual technology with musical knowledge. With a degree in recording arts, one can become a sound engineering technician, audio-visual collections specialist, or an audio forensic specialist.

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