A recording arts degree program provides students with the technical skills necessary to work in audio technology, sound mixing, sound recording and musical editing. An undergraduate degree is typically all that is needed to begin working in this field. Studio courses offer hands-on training on recording equipment, and the program may include a capstone course. Graduates can work as recording engineers, audio directors and sound engineer technicians. A bachelor's degree could be required to pursue more advanced positions such as audio director or producer.
Associate of Science
A 2-year degree program in recording arts provides students with a basic technical understanding of the recording industry, along with the techniques used to record and manipulate sound. Many graduates of a 2-year recording arts program go on to earn bachelor's degrees in the field, while others gain entry-level positions in recording and editing studios at television networks, radio stations or music publishing companies.
In addition to taking audio repair and maintenance, recording arts and studio project classes, students are expected to complete general education units in English, mathematics and the humanities. Some core courses include:
- Audio techniques
- Basic electricity
- Introduction to electronics
- Multi-track studio techniques
- Music theory
- Music for the listener
Many associate degree programs in the recording arts are offered either at community colleges or at 4-year universities with options to extend the degree program into a 4-year plan. Both of these educational institution types require the completion of a high school diploma program or its equivalent. Some schools also require that students complete a standardized test, such as the ACT or SAT.
Bachelor of Science
A bachelor's degree program in the recording arts takes around four years to complete and prepares students for careers in audio post-production and sound recording for television, film and music. Students who enter a bachelor's degree program from an associate's degree program in recording arts build upon their knowledge of audio and electronics theory, while those students who enter into a bachelor's program directly must spend their first two years of study learning these principles.
During the second two years of study, students focus on advanced application of recording techniques. At this level, students are also expected to take a variety of music courses, such as jazz, opera, orchestra and popular music. Many programs require students to complete a capstone recording project prior to graduation.
In addition to courses in music history, skills, theory and literature, enrollees are likely to have classes in:
- Sound reinforcement techniques
- Advanced audio repair and maintenance
- Digital audio seminar
- Issues in recording arts
- Sound for motion picture production
- Advanced multi-track studio techniques
Popular Career Options
Graduates of an associate degree program in the recording arts typically gain entry-level positions in the music or recording industry.
- Sound mixer
- Sound mixing assistant
- Audio recording technician
- Sound engineer technician
- Audio machine maintenance supervisor
- Production assistant
The career options available for graduates of a bachelor's degree program in recording arts are typically broader than those available for graduates of an associate's degree program. Students who complete an internship may have more job opportunities.
- Music producer
- Sound engineer technician
- Audio director
- Film or television audio editor
- Sound mixer or studio technician
- Recording engineer
Recording arts students have the option of pursuing an Associate or Bachelor of Science degree in their field, both of which provide audio training. The latter, however, may encompass broader subject matter and allow for more career opportunities.