Audio Engineering Degree Programs by Program Level

Prospective audio engineers usually earn an associate's or a bachelor's degree in audio engineering, music engineering or sound production. Students in these programs explore the art of composing, recording and editing sound.

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Essential Information

Audio engineering is a technical field, with significant attention paid to sophisticated recording equipment, like mixing boards and microphones, along with state-of-the-art recording software. In addition to lecture-based classes, students can often gain hands-on experience in campus-based recording studios or professional studios in the area. While both associate's and bachelor's degree programs cover similar audio engineering topics, bachelor's programs have more general education requirements and take longer to complete than associate's programs.

Associate of Applied Science in Audio Engineering

A two-year degree program in audio engineering is the most common educational path for individuals interested in gaining entry-level positions as audio engineer technicians. Students enrolled in an associate's degree program in audio engineering learn the skills and creative methods used to take elements of sound and weave them into a story. They learn how to use audio engineering to add sound effects and music into TV, radio and electronic media programs.

On a technical level, students must learn the basics of audio recording and mixing technologies. They learn the elements of acoustics, music theory, recording systems, audio signal flow and sequencing. They also learn to communicate and work within groups and manage workstations used for audio engineering.

Courses combine technical knowledge with practical studio experience. Some examples are listed below:

  • Music fundamentals
  • Studio recording
  • Studio engineering
  • Audio production
  • Audio post-production
  • Sound mixing and editing

Bachelor of Science in Audio Engineering

The first two years of a 4-year bachelor's degree program in audio engineering are very similar to an associate's degree program in audio engineering. Students are expected to learn the basic technologies involved with recording and editing sound in a studio, while at the same time developing their creative sensibilities in regards to music production. They are required to take general education courses in the humanities, business and science, which prepare them for eventual management positions in the audio engineering field.

Students divide their time between learning music theory and practical techniques and practicing individually in a studio setting. Most degree programs require that students complete an audio engineering project that they may submit to employers to possibly obtain an internship and/or job upon graduation.

Typical classes included in a four-year degree program include:

  • Audio and acoustics theory
  • Music industry introduction
  • Basic studio
  • Sound design
  • Producing live sound
  • Electronic theory

Popular Career Options

Career options exist in many fields, including entertainment. Potential positions for associate's degree-holders include:

  • Studio engineering technician
  • Audio engineering technician
  • Sound designer or editor
  • Sound composition technician
  • Music production technician
  • Digital re-mastering specialist

Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in audio engineering have many career options. Possible jobs include:

  • Music mastering engineer
  • Live sound engineer
  • Music producer
  • Music editor
  • Dialogue editor
  • Music studio manager

Audio engineers are responsible for blending and mixing sounds and music using state-of-the-art sound mixing and recording technology. An associate's or bachelor's degree program in audio engineering teaches the technical skills, knowledge of acoustics and understanding of music theory needed to complete this job.

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