Audio Recording Degree and Career Education Programs

Mar 26, 2021

Essential Information

There are many options available for students looking for audio recording degree programs, most of which last between two and four years. Schools often prefer applicants who have a strong musical or computer science background, often exhibited in a personal statement, and many programs will culminate in a final recording project. Bachelor's degrees in audio recording are usually conferred as recording arts or recording arts engineering degrees, and are often paired with music production. To apply to these programs, students will be required to hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

In most programs, students begin training in analog recording labs to get a fundamental understanding of audio signal flow; the basis of nearly all mixing and recording technologies. Eventually, they progress to an analog-digital combination studio and, finally, one that is fully digital, where they'll learn about 5.1 surround sound and the latest recording advancements.

Master's degrees in recording arts are commonly granted as a Master of Fine Arts (MFA). These programs provide advanced training in production, recording and integrated electronic media. To qualify for these programs, students generally have to have a bachelor's degree, a portfolio and a strong background in music or computer science. Students gain knowledge of related disciplines like digital animation, computer science and video production, which are offered as minors. As an MFA is a terminal degree and qualifies graduates to teach at a post-secondary level, many programs also give pedagogical training or teaching opportunities.

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Audio Recording

In addition to industry-standard equipment and techniques, students also receive keyboard, aural and theoretical training. Some classes that might appear in bachelor's recording arts curriculum are:

  • Digital consoles
  • Audio post-production
  • Music theory
  • Critical listening
  • Audio file management

Master's Degree Programs in Audio Recording

Master's students can expect to log many hours in studios recording actual music sessions. Lecture topics include:

  • Musical synthesis
  • Multitrack recording
  • Visual aesthetics and technology
  • Recordings in a cultural context
  • Legal rights of creative individuals

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Most bachelor's-level graduates go into sound engineering, while many master's students work as music directors and composers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the employment rates for broadcast/sound engineering technicians and music directors/composers would grow at 9% and 2% over 2019-2029, with median annual salaries of $54,740 and $51,670 as of May 2019, respectively.

An audio recording bachelor's or master's degree program thoroughly prepares graduates for a career in the field, training students to use industry equipment and giving them access to recording studios. After graduating, many audio recording degree holders go into sound recording or work as directors and composers.

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