Audio engineering is one of the many fields in engineering which involves the study of sound production using processes such as live recording and balancing and making adjustments to the sound sources by use of various means such as audio effects, equalization, reproduction, mixing, editing and sound reinforcement.
Audio/sound engineers are far much different from audio technicians. The technicians mainly operate the audio machines in concert halls, recording facilities, and etcetera. Although they may be highly skilled, there’s no way they can be regarded as audio engineers. An audio-engineer possesses a lot of skills required to train sound technicians, set-up the entire audio system, and direct the basic control settings. Some audio technicians consider studying engineering to become audio engineers.
Audio engineers are found in a wide variety of working stations such as film studios, radio stations, recording studios, and etcetera. This guide focuses on audio engineering as a profession, how to become an audio engineer, and various careers and jobs available in the field.
How to Become an Audio Engineer
There’re various ways of becoming an audio-engineer such as acquiring a hands-on experience by working with sound professionals, developing the traits of engineers, and getting an education.
Education or acquiring a degree is considered the most assured way of becoming an audio engineer. The following are the qualities you must possess in order to become one of the best audio engineers in the world.
- Communication Skills – You must become a successful communicator since you’ll be working with many different kinds of people with contrasting personalities on a regular basis.
- Flexible and Committed – You must be ready to work long hours including weekends and nights as most engineers do.
- Humility and Perseverance – You must learn to find fulfillment in your own work rather than welcoming praises from people every time you do good work.
Although you can learn through experience from professional engineers, getting a degree from a university is the best thing you can do since it shows your dedication and enthusiasm towards learning. Additionally, it indicates that you’re trained to work with different audio software such as those used to edit and mix music.
Audio Engineering Education & Schools
To become an audio-engineer, you need to pursue a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree in Audio-Engineering as it’ll prepare you to become a master sound engineer. Moreover, the course will help you get a suitable job of your choice in one of the best companies.
Some of the programs you need to take within the course include:
- Music Fundamentals, Theory, and Acoustics
- Recording Production
- Audio Signal Processing
- Editing and Mixing Sound
- Studio Operations
- Live Sound Production
- Digital Sound Design
To be eligible for a bachelors or associates degree in audio-engineering, you must have at least a high-school diploma, and a GED-certificate or its equivalent. Having a good understanding of music and technology and strong skills in mathematics is an added advantage.
The following are the top 7 best universities/colleges to study audio engineering programs. Note that the bachelors or associates degree program takes a minimum duration of four years. The schools include:
- Middle Tennessee State University
- New York University-Steinhardt
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Berklee College of Music
- University of Massachusetts-Lowell
- The Los Angeles Film School
- Georgia Institute of Technology
Apart from audio-engineering, other famous courses offered in the schools above include BS (Audio production), M.F.A (Master of Fine Arts) in Recording Arts & Technology, BS (Music Technology), A.A.S in Recording Arts, BS (Audio Technology), and etcetera. In addition, various research programs, as well as Pro-Tools software skills, are provided.
Careers Offered In Audio Engineering
There’re many careers in the audio engineering department since audio engineers are highly trained to work with many tools and equipment concerning the sound systems. As a major in this field, you’ll study everything regarding studio environment including production skills, recording methods, MIDI systems, and loudspeaker designs, digital editing, and acoustics.
This will lead to the development of the following careers:
- Sound Engineer
- Production Assistant
- Mastering Engineer
- Acoustic Consultant
- Audio Equipment Technician
- Broadcast Technician
- Live Sound Engineer
Jobs & Salary in Audio Engineering
An audio-engineer can work in many different places that work on sound production. Some usually help music and record producers to achieve the best kind of sound they’re hoping for. For instance, by adding some artificial sounds to a track, or joining parts of a song together. Most of them are even employed directly as music producers.
Many audio engineering jobs are found in:
- Television Studios
- Event, Band and Tour Crews
- Opera Houses
- Conference centers
- Government Officers
Where these people work depend on their experience, salary requirement, personality, subfield, location, and work ethic. Across the world, there’re many jobs for audio engineers.
In 2011, the Bureau of Labor-Statistics to the US indicated that the highest paid sound engineer earned an annual average amount of $56,100. In 2016, the majority of Sound and Broadcast engineers are found to earn an average of $42,745 per year.
In India, a sound-engineer earns an average pay of Rs. 200 hourly. On average, this amounts to Rs. 357630 per year. In Malaysia, the pay for an audio-engineer is about RM 40999 on average per year.
Audio Engineering is one of the great courses in engineering technology that you need to consider pursuing. Compared to other engineering courses, it has a wider range of job opportunities and guarantees your employment immediately you finish the course. For those who have ever wished to become music producers or audio/sound designers, this is one of the courses worth learning.