Audio engineering, also referred to as sound engineering, is the term for recording, processing, and reproducing sound, particularly in a studio setting with musicians. Audio engineers generally work alongside music producers and musicians to create a final product. However, they may also control the sound for theater productions, sporting events, and other live events.
An audio engineering undergraduate degree is offered as either a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts through music schools and select colleges and universities across the United States. Certain schools may also offer similar programs under different titles, such as a music production engineering degree or recording technology degree.
10 Colleges With Audio Engineering Majors
The following private and public schools in the U.S. offer bachelor's degree programs in audio engineering:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Undergraduate Tuition (2018-2019)*|
|Full Sail University||Winter Park, FL||4-year, Private||$24,109|
|SAE Expression College||Emeryville, CA||4-year, Private||$26,079|
|Belmont University||Nashville, TN||4-year, Private||$34,310|
|John Hopkins Peabody Institute||Baltimore, MD||4-year, Private||$53,740|
|American University||Washington, District of Columbia||4-year, Private||$48,459|
|Middle Tennessee State University||Murfreesboro, TN||4-year, Public||$8,858 (In-state) $27,098 (Out-of-state)|
|University of Michigan School of Music||Ann Arbor, MI||4-year, Public||$15,262 (In-state) $49,350 (Out-of-state)|
|Columbia College - Chicago||Chicago, IL||4-year, Private||$27,176|
|Savannah College of Art and Design||Savannah, GA||4-year, Private||$37,130|
|Ohio University||Athens, OH||4-year, Public||$12,192 (In-state) $21,656 (Out-of-state)|
*Source: National Center for Education Statistics
College Selection Criteria
Prospective students should consider the following factors when looking for an audio engineering school:
- Determine where you want to focus your degree. Students can choose to focus more on the engineering side of this career or emphasize the music component of this type of degree. Different programs are offered through different departments and have varying core requirements, which point to a focus in either music or engineering.
- Choose a school which has ample internship opportunities with recording companies, allowing students to gain valuable real-world experience.
- Seek out information regarding grants and scholarship programs for students to offset the cost of tuition, which can be very high at some of the well-known, private schools offering this degree.
- Look for programs with up-to-date technology, software, and recording studios.
Sound Engineering Major Overview
A bachelor's degree in audio engineering trains students how to operate and maintain digital and analog equipment used for recording, reproducing, and reinforcing music. The program typically culminates in a capstone project and internship. Typical coursework includes topics like studio production, live recording and remixing, and post-production techniques. Programs may also teach some of the other skills necessary to the career, such as effective communication, computer skills, and problem-solving.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sound engineering technicians make a median annual salary of $52,390 in May 2018. The BLS predicts job growth of 2% during the 2018-2028 decade for sound engineering technicians, slower than average compared to all occupations.
Students can find four-year public and private institutions across the country that offer bachelor's degree programs in audio engineering. When choosing a program to attend students should consider internship opportunities, program concentrations, and financial aid.