Online Audio Recording Universities and Colleges: How to Choose

When selecting an online audio recording school, be mindful of the specific career path you want to follow since online courses and technology learning tools vary. Most programs only offer a bachelor or master's degree, so you should consider various schools first before making a decision.

How to Select an Online Audio Recording School

Audio recording is a career field that combines both theory and technique in the manipulation of sound. Career fields vary from music recording to movie audio mastering and even radio production. This field requires a large amount of hands-on experience with expensive equipment, which makes fully online programs very scarce. Students should then weigh the career path and number of online courses with the available technology.

Career Path

Audio recording can prepare students for a number of specialized careers, including sound mixer, recording engineer, field technician and more. When students choose an online program for audio recording, they should carefully consider which parts of the industry they wish to work in. Some schools with online courses offer broad basic training in the recording arts, but only offer certain classes in specialized subfields. In many instances, students can enroll in single, non-credit courses that more directly pertain to their careers.

Number of Online Courses

Few, if any, programs exist that allow students to study for audio recording careers solely online. The programs that do exist allow students to take certain courses online as part of a flexible scheduling option. Students seeking an opportunity to learn audio recording online need to know that in-studio and on-campus study will likely be a large part of the curriculum, due mostly to the necessity of using large and expensive recording equipment.

Available Technology

Hands-on experience with mixing and recording equipment is integral to a student's success in the audio recording field. Students must either make a significant investment in sound recording technologies such as Pro Tools software and sound mixing boards, or choose an academic program that will allow them to use shared equipment. Some schools offer multiple studios with a full range of tools, while others might have a series of studios dedicated to such specific tasks as mastering, post production, electronic music and more.

List of Online Audio Production Programs

Bachelor's Degree in Audio Production

Commonly offered with some online components, bachelor's degree programs give many students the opportunity to learn audio recording. Programs lead to Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees. Most online programs are offered at for-profit institutions that offer full degrees online, with most non-profit and public schools providing only a portion of their audio curriculum online. Coursework includes:

  • Music theory
  • Music composition
  • Fundamentals of music
  • Audio engineering techniques
  • Popular culture in media

Master's Degree in Acoustics and Audio Production

Programs are available at the graduate level for students to learn the science of sound and the process of audio recording. These 2- to 3-year curricula prepare students for careers in audio recording, but also delve much further into the science and theory of sound transmission. Online programs at this level are very rare, with most programs offering only a few courses through the Internet. Coursework addresses:

  • Digital instrument design
  • Critical listening
  • Advanced sound synthesis
  • Audio mastering
  • Digital audio analysis

Schools with Online Programs in Audio Recording

There are three really good schools offering online programs in audio recording. Full Sail University provides a 32-month Bachelor of Science degree program as well as a certificate program that only lasts five months. For both programs, similar courses include: fundamentals of music, audio arts in entertainment, recording principles, and sequencing technology. You can receive your Bachelor of Fine Arts in audio recording and sound design at American Intercontinental University. The program-which teaches specialized courses in recorded music history, music production, and advanced producing and engineering-totals out to 180 credits and typically lasts 36 months.

Berklee Online offers audio recording classes within their Bachelor of Professional Studies music production program. Some of these mandatory courses include audio recording, protools 101, microphone techniques, vocal production, and a music production capstone. Students are also required to earn 15 course credits by enrolling into five music production electives of their choice. Unlike Full Sail and AIU, Berklee Online allows you to transfer at least 60 credits from an accredited university or relative certificate program.

There are many aspects to consider when searching for online courses in audio recording, whether it's concerning degree levels, course credits, or the length of the program.

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