There is no shortage of beneficial and productive degrees that an individual can earn in the field of engineering. One fantastic example is a Master’s in Acoustic Engineering. This degree is a specialty in engineering, and it prepares individuals to learn how to analyze, design, and manipulate various sounds within broad systems. This degree is highly specialized, and there is a solid demand for it; as such, the proper education can help prepare you to be successful in this potentially lucrative field. 

What Is Acoustic Engineering?

Acoustic engineering is a field of engineering that works with sound and vibration. This includes a variety of sub-specialties related to this broad field, including working with the creation, design, and analysis of sound. 

 An examination of this definition may imply that individuals who work in acoustic engineering deal primarily with sound and can be ready to enter the field of music. That’s not the case. It is essential to consider that sound and vibration are interrelated fields, and both can significantly impact the construction of buildings and transportation networks. Individuals who get an Acoustic Engineering Master’s can be well prepared to enter various fields. According to educational facilities like Purdue University, this includes:

  • Managing how sound impacts a variety of structures in the field of architectural acoustics. Individuals will work in buildings to ensure sound travels through them efficiently (such as concert halls and classrooms). It may also mean that individuals design buildings that minimize noise to the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Mitigating the impact that sound and vibration can have on various structures, like buildings, bridges, and roads. “Vibrations” themselves may not sound deadly, but the truth is that vibration can be capable of destroying numerous physical mediums and causing death and destruction. As such, structures have to be built in a manner that prepares to manage these potential issues.
  • Dealing with specialties within the acoustics field, like how sound, vibrations, and signals travel through the air and water. 
  • Managing physical acoustics for experiments, managing how sound travels through multiple mediums.

 

Why Get a Master’s Degree in Acoustic Engineering? 

An Acoustic Engineering Degree can be one of many specialties within the engineering field that allow an individual to earn a special subset of skills that guarantee excellent job placement. While it is possible to earn a Bachelor’s in Acoustic Engineering, many individuals find that a Master’s in Acoustics is more beneficial, as it can help a person make more money and better secure a job in the future.

 Individuals who pursue a Master’s in Acoustics should be interested in sound, engineering, and physics. Individuals are likely to discover this specific interest during general engineering courses, which will review the various subsets of the engineering field. As noted above, this master’s degree can prepare a person for various practical skills. The wide range of possible job opportunities in this field — from designing rooms to securing the safety of bridges — can ensure that an individual who gets involved in this field has many opportunities.

 The rise of new technology that can better manage sound and control vibrations in physical structures makes this field even more exciting. Moreover, it creates a variety of potential opportunities for interested individuals.

 

How Much Does an Online Master’s Degree in Acoustic Engineering cost?

 Like almost all post-graduate degrees, a Master’s in Acoustics is not cheap. Fortunately, there are ways that you can limit the cost that you wind up paying, including by pursuing an online degree. 

Like all master’s degree programs, there is a wide range of potential costs. For example, Penn State’s program costs $950 a credit. At 30 credits, you’ll pay $28,500 to earn this master’s. The Purdue University program costs less than $25,000, but that’s only if you get the degree online. According to various surveys in this field, the cost of a Master’s in Acoustics can vary widely. Still, the $25,000 range seems to be roughly the medium, depending on your chosen school and if you pursue an online or in-person degree. 

 It is worth noting that many online master’s programs offer a significant discount on their Master’s degree programs. From a cost perspective, these savings can be very significant. The savings are simple: There’s less cost involved to the college, and they can usually pass those costs along to the students. Think about all the ancillary costs of an online school: Supporting a physical plant, energy, maintenance, printed materials, and more. Online school can reduce or eliminate all these costs, so students can obtain significant savings.

 As a student, you can also obtain major savings out of your wallet. The reasoning is simple: You don’t have to travel or pay for room and board. This means that you can obtain a Master’s in Acoustics from the comfort of your living room and never have to worry about the price of gas or public transportation.

 There are additional benefits to getting an online master’s, and these must be considered when making a final educational decision:

  • The sheer convenience. With the right master’s program, you can take classes in the evening, on weekends, or around your schedule. You never have to worry about altering your work schedule to take a class.
  • Many classes offer extensive on-demand portions. As such, you can watch lectures and take tests when available.
  • As such, you may be able to obtain a Master’s in Acoustics while still working at a full-time job. This allows you to keep earning money while also furthering your education.

Master’s in Acoustic Engineering Salary and Job Outlook

 A master’s in Acoustic Engineering can be a highly lucrative field. According to Payscale, the average salary for an individual with this master’s degree is $109,000.

According to Payscale, the base salary for an individual in Acoustic Engineering can range widely, anywhere between $50,000 and $105,000. However, it is important to note that this is the salary for this career, and individuals in this career track typically have either a bachelor’s degree in acoustical engineering or another field.

In this instance, the median salary is $72,000. Like all fields, this salary can alter the pay range: Entry-level individuals typically earn around $50,000, and individuals with more than 20 years of experience earn closer to the higher end, around $102,000. Fortunately, most people working in this field will also get various benefits, including medical, dental, and vision.

As you can see, earning a Master’s in Acoustics can be a huge boon to your salary, potentially dramatically increasing your earnings by hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout your career. Furthermore, there is widespread job growth expected in this area. As noted by many universities, the engineering field is experiencing both a rise in demand and a shortage of engineers. This demand for new engineers is expected to hit certain sectors, like the acoustic engineering field. According to Environmental Science, demand for this sector is expected to rise 10% in as little as five years. Moreover, while the BLS did not have specifics available for acoustic engineering, it did note that engineering is expected to grow 6% over the next ten years.

Individuals who obtain a master’s in acoustics can expect to work in various occupations. Examples include:

  • Engineering acoustics, which examines the role that sound and vibration have on medical diagnosis equipment and surveying.
  • Architectural acoustics, which explores how sound will travel in a variety of indoor and outdoor locations.
  • Audio-engineering, which works on audio devices and may get into a variety of sub-sectors of this field, like sound engineering.
  • Underwater acoustics, which explores how sound and signal travel underwater. This has a variety of shipping, underwater exploration, and military implications.
  • Sound and vibration control, which controls how sounds and vibrations travel in a public and private setting. This may also involve architectural work to reduce unwanted (and potentially dangerous) vibrations in buildings and other critical infrastructure.

Common Courses in Acoustic Engineering Master’s Programs

First, a person who seeks a master’s in acoustics should have a bachelor of arts or sciences in an engineering field. While a Bachelor of Arts in Acoustic Engineering isn’t necessary, it may be helpful.

According to schools like Penn State, courses taken may explore a variety of different areas, including:

  • Required courses in basic principles of engineering and acoustics.
  • Waves, and how waves travel through the air, water, or solids.
  • Signal analysis.
  • Electroacoustic Transducers are equipment that can enhance or dampen sound or vibration. 

Individuals may then be able to take courses in a variety of specialized topics. These may include:

  • How sound, vibrations, and structures interact.
  • Sound control.
  • Ultrasonics and biomedicine.
  • Aeroacoustics and vibroacoustics.
  • Audio signal processing.
  • Nonlinear acoustics.
  • Engineering mathematics.

Other FAQs About Master’s in Acoustic Engineering Degrees

Is a Master in Acoustics required for this field?

No. Some programs do offer a Bachelor of Sciences in Acoustics. However, like all programs, a bachelor’s degree will not result in as much earning power as a master’s degree.

Where Can I Find Out More Information About Acoustical Engineering?

Thankfully, individuals interested in learning more about an acoustic engineering degree or an acoustic engineering salary can always reach out to any school program that offers an Acoustic engineering master’s. Furthermore, there are an array of resources available to aspiring acoustic engineers. For example, the Acoustical Society of America has been around for over 183 years and offers an array of information on the acoustics field. It also offers a variety of publications, conferences, ethical standards for individuals, program information, and more.

Can You Specialize in Certain Fields if you Study Acoustical Engineering?

Yes. There are many subsets of acoustical engineering. According to the University of Purdue, which offers a master’s in acoustics, these include:

  • Architectural acoustics
  • Noise control
  • Physical acoustics
  • Vibration and structural acoustics
  • Underwater acoustics

 Individuals who earn their master’s in acoustics may be able to obtain special certificates for different specialties. Alternatively, they may focus much of their academic efforts on a specific field.

 You can likely find subsets of Acoustics that you may be interested in while studying for a Master’s in Acoustics. As noted above, a master’s degree requires you to take various specialized courses. This enables you to better determine what fields of Acoustical Engineering you may be interested in and gives you a chance to find a specialty that fits your needs.

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