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Schools for Digital Audio Production: How to Choose

Digital audio production entails using digital technologies to record, manipulate and produce audio for a variety of media, such as film, television, video games and radio. Continue reading to see what you should keep in mind when choosing a digital audio production school, and to view programs offered at U.S. universities and colleges.

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A number of 2- and 4-year schools around the country offer programs in digital audio production and sound recording, and programs are also available at art-focused schools. Although advanced training is available at the graduate level, most people working in this field receive a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree.

Schools with Digital Audio Production Programs

This list of colleges and universities identifies some schools offering digital audio production programs.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition*
Utah Valley University Orem, UT 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state $5,386; Out-of-state $15,202
Jamestown Community College Jamestown, NY 2-year, Public Certificate In-state $5,360; Out-of-state $9,880 (2015-2016)
Santa Rosa Junior College Santa Rosa, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,318; Out-of-state $6,637 (2015-2016)
Ithaca College Ithaca, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $40,658 (2015-2016)
Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state $14,286; Out-of-state $30,250 (2015-2016)
Hennepin Technical College Brooklyn Park, MN 2-year, Public Diploma, Associate's $5,159 (2015-2016)
American University Washington, DC 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $43,103 (2015-2016)
University of Washington Seattle, WA 4-year, Public Certificate $4,437** (for entire program in 2017)

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), **School website

School Selection Criteria

There are several things to consider when searching for a digital audio production school.

  • A music program with a focus on audio technology does incorporate music and audio recording, but it emphasizes coursework in music theory, composition, music business and performance, which can prepare graduates for a career in the music industry.
  • Those with an interest in technology can pursue technical aspects of audio, such as electronic equipment design and maintenance, sound system design, audio engineering and digital communications.
  • Some programs offer certification in industry-standard audio applications, while others offer concentration areas like audio design for video games, theater or multimedia applications.
  • It's important to ensure that schools give students access to state-of-the-art audio production studios and offer extensive lab work and internships as part of program requirements; experience is the most important aspect for those seeking to enter this field.

Associate of Applied Science in Audio Production

Students commonly complete lab work with industry standard equipment and audio applications. Alternate degree titles include the Associate of Arts in Digital Audio.

Bachelor of Music in Sound Recording Technology

Coursework focuses on musical studies and performance on an instrument; however, students also learn technical elements of audio production, such as digital editing and recording, sound design and audio technology. Some schools offer students the opportunity to combine their artistic and technical skills with hands-on audio production internship, projects and workshops.

Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Audio Technology

Students in this program practice using contemporary digital audio applications and equipment. Many schools require participants to complete internships at affiliated local establishments, such as recording studios and live music venues.

Pursuing a career in audio production can begin with completing a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree. Many public and private 2- and 4-year colleges and universities offer programs in this discipline; students should consider whether the program has hands-on experience opportunities and if the school has a specific specialization focus that fits with their career goals.

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