What is the main focus of an audio engineer?
Audio engineering is an intricate blend of science and creativity. It involves technical aspects of equipment set-up and operation, but also requires a creative side to enhance and blend the sounds to produce the desired effects.
Often called sound engineers, these professionals are highly sought after in all areas of the entertainment industry. Musicians depend on audio engineers in the studio and in live performances to polish their sound and to keep it consistent throughout each recording or performance. Audio engineers mix the music and enhance the balance to provide the best final product. In television and movies, audio engineers are responsible for all of the sound effects, music, and sound levels heard in the video productions. Even radio depends on sound engineers to keep their stations operating properly. There are other careers available to audio engineers, but the entertainment industry provides the most opportunity.
What types of audio engineering degrees exist?
For those interested in pursuing a career in the audio engineering field, there are three different levels of degrees available. An Associate in Applied Science will teach the basics of working in the industry. The Bachelor of Science degree goes more in depth in both the music and technical aspects of the business. The Master's degree programs focus on very specific aspects of audio engineering.
What prerequisites are required for a Bachelor of Science in audio engineering?
Both the Associate and Bachelor degrees require a minimum of a high school diploma, a GED certificate, or the equivalent. Different schools, particularly those offering Bachelor programs, may also have specific requirements for placement tests or minimum scores for standard college entrance tests, like the SAT or ACT. In addition to the school standards, strong math skills, a good grasp of music, and an understanding of technology are all beneficial skills in pursuing this course of study.
Can I get a Masters of Audio Engineering?
Master's programs are available to those that desire to extend their education in very specific areas of the industry. These programs provide an intense study of a particular area of interest, like game design, music, acoustics, or recording.
What kind of classes do I take with an audio engineering degree?
Audio engineering degrees require a blend of music, business, and technical classes. Music fundamentals, acoustics, and theory are some of the music classes that are included in the degree. The technical and business courses encompass recording production, audio signal processing, mixing, editing, digital sound design, live sound production, and studio operations.
Can I obtain an audio engineering degree through online study?
Audio engineering is a very hands-on profession because it involves the use of a variety of equipment and software. Due to the invaluable experience of actually using the equipment, online degrees are not feasible for the most part. The only exceptions are a few online Master's programs with a focus on acoustics, which does not intricately involve equipment.
How long does it take to complete an audio engineering program?
The length of the program varies with the different degrees. An Associate of Science requires approximately two years of study. Most Bachelor of Science programs take four years to complete. The Master's degree will add at least two years following the Bachelor program for a total of six years.
What are some of the jobs I can get with an audio engineering degree?
There is a variety of jobs that audio engineers hold in an equally wide variety of locations. Audio engineers are used in studio settings for the radio, television, movie, and music industries as sound engineers, boom operators, sound designers, sound editors, sound effects editors, and much more. In addition to studio work, there are also options for similar positions in live venues, like sports arenas, theatres, and concert tours.
On average, how much does someone with an audio engineering degree earn?
Based on data collected by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2012, the mean annual salary for someone in the audio engineering field is just over $55,000. The BLS classifies audio engineers as sound engineering technicians, which includes anyone involved with the operation of equipment used to record, alter, and reproduce sounds in any of a variety of venues where recorded or live sound is used.
Are there any professional associations for people with an audio engineering degree?
Yes, The Audio Engineering Society (AES), the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE), and The Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS) are all organizations dedicated to the audio engineering industry. All three are open to audio engineering professionals and students and all three are dedicated to sharing knowledge and techniques in the industry. They are instrumental in implementing new technology with their members as it is introduced into the business.