Audio Recording Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Prospective students who are interested in pursuing a degree in the field of audio recording have three options from which to choose: an associate's degree, bachelor's degree or certificate in audio recording technology or a closely related field. These programs are available at both 2-year and 4-year schools.

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It is possible to earn a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in audio engineering. Prospective students should consider the length of study and cost of a program when deciding which is the right degree for them.

Schools with an Audio Engineering Program

Below is a list of postsecondary institutions offering audio engineering programs with a range of program options throughout the country:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's In-state $10,388; Out-of-state $33,741
American River College Sacramento, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,104; Out-of-state $7,440
Texas State University - San Marcos San Marcos, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state $9,348; Out-of-state $20,268
Sacramento City College Sacramento, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,104; Out-of-state $7,440
Fresno City College Fresno, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,194; Out-of-state $6,834
Orange Coast College Costa Mesa, CA 2-year, Public Associate's In-state $1,184; Out-of-state $6,584
CUNY LaGuardia Community College Long Island City, NY 2-year, Public Associate's In-state $5,218; Out-of-state $8,098
Belmont University Nashville, TN 4-year, Private Bachelor's $30,000
Cuyahoga Community College District Cleveland, OH 2-year, Public Associate's In-district $3,136;
In-state $3,953;
Out-of-state $7,648

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

The first step in deciding on a school should be to locate the type of audio recording degree program in which a student is interested. Further considerations for students in this field include:

  • Students should select a program that provides sufficient training for the job they want. For instance, certificate and associate's degrees programs may be sufficient for entry-level jobs as audio technicians, but higher level positions may require a bachelor's degree.
  • Students should look for schools with fully equipped recording studios in order to ensure that they gain experience with industry-standard technologies.
  • For students who want to earn an associate's degree but may consider enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in the future, it is important to find out if the credits are transferable.
  • Programs related to audio recording may focus more specifically on either the musical or the engineering aspects of the field. Students with a particular inclination toward either of these subjects should consider the specialization options provided within the programs they are considering.

Associate's Degree Programs

Students who are interested in audio recording can enroll in Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs in recording technology, music technology, audio engineering or another closely related field. Audio production may also be offered as a concentration within a broader Associate of Arts (AA) in Music program. Students in these programs are introduced to commonly-used audio engineering software and sound production equipment, as well as the fundamentals of music theory and basic business concepts that can prepare them for success in the media industry. In addition, two-year associate's-level programs require students to complete general education requirements.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Four-year Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) programs are available in topics such as audio engineering, sound arts and sound engineering. These programs begin with the same basic coursework as associate's degree programs, including general education studies, but they go beyond introductory level classes to provide students with more advanced coursework in music analysis and computer science. The last two years of a bachelor's degree program also involve more technical production work, and students may be required to complete a real-world internship prior to graduation. They may also need to submit a senior project.

Certificate Programs

In certificate programs, students take the same basic coursework as in associate's degree programs, but they do not have to take general education courses. For this reason, certificate programs can be completed in less time. Upon completion, students are prepared for entry-level jobs as audio technicians.

There are many public and private schools that offer postsecondary programs in audio engineering. Those interested in these programs should consider location and tuition costs, as well as the program length, courses, and experience gained, in order to ensure that it is ideal for their long-term career goals.

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