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Recording Arts Degrees by Degree Program Level

An associate's degree program in the recording arts offers experience working in recording studios and operate audio recording equipment. Bachelor's degree programs cover similar topics while also giving students a background in business and management.

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Essential Information

Associates's and bachelor's degree programs in the recording arts prepare students for a wide variety of technological careers dealing with the recording, production and reproduction of sounds, including music, dialogue and sound effects. Students learn about copyright issues, motion picture production, music theory and recording arts production.Graduates may wish to pursue sound production certifications, such as those offered by the Society of Broadcast Engineers.


Associate's Degree in the Recording Arts

Associate's degree programs in recording arts (sometimes called audio technology or recording technology) prepare students for entry-level positions as audio equipment technicians, sound recording engineers and sound mixers working in recording studios, live performance venues and radio stations.

The curriculum of an associate's degree program in recording arts emphasizes the skills and knowledge needed to operate the technologies and equipment used in audio recording. Some programs also touch on the business aspects of the recording industry. Students typically spent a significant amount of time in recording studios. Topics might include:

  • Audio techniques
  • Systems maintenance
  • Multi-track techniques
  • Electronics
  • Digital audio recording
  • Studio management

Bachelor's Degree in the Recording Arts

A bachelor's degree in the recording arts combines the technical training of audio production with a traditional liberal arts education. These programs prepare students for careers in the recording arts industry and may better equip them to deal with the complexities or business aspects of the industry.

Students spend time in recording studios learning to operate the equipment and various technologies used in sound recording and production. Students may also learn music fundamentals and about business and management aspects of the industry. In addition to the technical courses included in an associate's degree program, programs may cover:

  • Music theory
  • History of musical genres
  • Copyright and legal issues
  • Recording industry issues
  • Recording arts techniques and production
  • Sound for picture production

Certification and Continuing Education

The Society of Broadcast Engineers (www.sbe.org) offers various professional certifications for those in the recording arts field dealing with sound production. An associate's degree in recording arts may count as two years toward the required five years of experience needed for certification. Applicants must also pass an exam. Continuing education or a 4-year degree may increase an individual's marketability in a competitive job market.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians should see average job growth, of 7%, during the period from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov); however, broadcast technicians jobs are expected to decrease by 6% in that time and sound engineering positions are expected to grow 8%. In 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for broadcast technicians was $37,490 and $53,330 for sound engineering technicians.

If you are looking for an entry level job as a broadcast and sound engineering technician, you may want to seek an associate's or bachelor's degree in the recording arts. Associate's degree programs cover basic technical skills while bachelor's degree program go a step further and offers classes on the business aspects of the job.

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