Audio & Sound Engineer: Career & Education Requirements

Sep 20, 2019

If you enjoy working on the technical side of music or making sure people can hear a movie properly, you might consider a career as an audio & sound engineer. Discover the job opportunities available in a sound engineering career and explore audio engineer requirements.

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Audio & Sound Engineer Career Overview

Job Title Sound engineer, sound engineering technician
Job Responsibilities Operate and monitor broadcasting/streaming equipment, keep dialogue consistent with music and effects in movies and TV, maintain records for equipment
Educational Requirements Certificate or associate degree
Career Outlook (2018-2028)* 2% growth for sound engineering technicians
Median Annual Salary (May 2018)* $52,390 for sound engineering technicians

Responsibilities in a Sound Engineer Career

Sound engineering technicians, also known as audio engineers, are responsible for many different productions that involve the use of sound to complement another aspect of a performance. If you begin a career as a sound engineer, you might:

  • Sync movie dialogue with the rest of the action on screen
  • Make recordings of speech on computer software
  • Ensure that PA systems work properly at sporting events or live performances
  • Make sure microphones are wired correctly before a concert takes place
  • Mix together several different layers of music to complete the recording of a song

Working hours can vary depending on the environment; if you find a contract working on a film, you might have to meet tight deadlines and work longer hours, including some nights and weekends.

Audio Engineering Degree Requirements

To start a sound engineer career, you can enroll in an Audio Production Certificate program. Programs in audio production help you learn the ins and outs of studio production, providing the experience you need to find work as a sound engineering technician. You can take courses that include topics like recording principles and ear training. Certificate programs might be available online, eliminating the need to attend any classes in person.

You could also pursue an Associate of Science in Audio Engineering and Sound Production, which lets you study more in-depth courses that include circuit design, balancing, and editing. Associate degree programs in audio engineering education typically take two years to complete.

Job Growth Projections and Salary Information for a Sound Engineer Career

Career openings for sound engineering technicians are not expected to grow by much, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Through 2028, approximately 200 job openings for sound engineering technicians are predicted, which measures at 2% growth, a slower than average rate compared to the rest of U.S. job openings.

The BLS recommends looking for a sound engineer career in smaller markets after you have obtained experience. In May 2018, the BLS showed an annual median salary of $52,390 for sound engineering technicians.

Alternate Options for an Audio & Sound Engineer Career

If audio engineer requirements don't work for you, you can consider some alternative careers. You might find employment as an electronics engineering technician, where you can perform research and development on the latest devices and work with engineers to develop new products.

If you would prefer to work in radio but not on equipment, you could consider a career as an announcer, where you broadcast live on the air and conduct interviews with guests while reading news stories and giving your thoughts.

You might also think about a job as a video editor, where you work on moving images to ensure the audience has a pleasant experience while viewing a live broadcast or a movie.

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