While a few distance learning diploma programs related to audio production are available, it's more common to come across certificate programs. These online programs are designed to train students to use cutting-edge technology and equipment to create, edit and produce music and sound. Community colleges and private online technical schools offer distance learning options in audio production or related areas like live sound production, audio engineering and broadcast engineering. Programs are available fully online or in a blended format with on-campus attendance requirements.
Overview of Programs
Online programs in these areas of study are usually at the undergraduate level, so a high school diploma or GED may be the main admission requirement. That said, some schools offer audio production classes through their continuing education departments and might not have any formal admissions standards. Some programs could prefer that students taking on distance learning training in this field already have a background working with electronics.
Audio production programs teach the use of audio software and hardware, new technology and sound theory. Students train their ears to identify different audio production techniques used by others. Other courses cover how to record, mix and master audio tracks. Distance learning audio production programs typically feature the following topics:
- Critical listening
- Desktop music production
- Mixing and mastering
- Recording live sound
- Sampling and audio production
In addition to these core classes, students may choose to take elective classes that specialize in live sound production or studio production. Some online programs offer programs specific to television, film or multimedia game applications.
Online students complete their work according to their own schedules, though they are responsible for uploading assignments according to the specified program deadlines. Virtual classroom environments may contain lectures, instructional aids, assignments and tests. Message boards or chat rooms may be included for class interaction. Prior to enrolling in distance-learning audio production diploma or certificate programs, applicants must ensure that their computer systems meet minimum technical requirements.
In some cases, schools may offer audio production programs that contain a mix of online courses and on-campus work. On-campus classes can give students the opportunity to not only get hands-on training but also take trips to local studios or events to observe audio production techniques in person.
Career Information for Graduates
After completing distance learning programs in audio production, graduates can pursue careers as sound engineers, audio editors and multimedia producers. The fields of music, television, film and games require highly skilled audio professionals to develop and produce sound tracks. Live performance venues also employ sound engineers to produce audio for theater, vocal, orchestral, dance and special events.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of sound engineering technicians will grow eight percent by 2024 and those with a relevant undergraduate degree will likely stand out more to employers (www.bls.gov). The average wage for these techs was $63,340, according to 2015 BLS data. At that time, most employers were within the motion picture industry.
The most common online program for audio production is at the certificate level, and it teaches students about mixing, sampling and recording live sound. Employment opportunities for graduates include positions as sound engineering technicians and multimedia producers.