Audio Engineering Majors: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue with a major in audio engineering. Read on to learn more about career options as well as salary and educational requirements. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Audio Engineer?

Audio engineers record, mix and produce audio for movies, shows, video games, college websites, radio or any number of other outlets. They also set up audio equipment. They use intricate software to ensure consistent quality, sync sounds, create special effects and convert files for editing and use. Any issues with equipment must be reported and repaired. Here is an overview of possible career choices in this field:

Audio/Video Equipment Technician Sound Engineering Technician Broadcast Technician
Degree Required Associate's or certificate Associate's Associate's
Key Responsibilities Utilize and maintain the equipment for various live events like concerts & sports events Utilize the equipment to record & mix sound; provide audio & sound effects for sporting events and recording studios Utilize the equipment to transmit for radio & television broadcasts
Certification VoluntaryVoluntaryVoluntary
Job Outlook (2014-24) 12%* 8%* -6%*
Median Salary (2015) $41,440* $53,330* $37,490*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can an Audio Engineering Major Do for Me?

A major in audio engineering prepares you for work in the audio recording field. Colleges offer hands-on training accompanied by theory lectures. You learn the history of the audio field and the tools and equipment used in a recording setting. As an audio engineering major, you'll study recording techniques, production skills, loudspeaker design, acoustics, mixing, MIDI systems and digital editing.

What Careers Are Available?

In an audio engineering program, you'll learn all the basics to working in a studio environment. Some of the careers that are available to you include:

  • Production assistant
  • Broadcast technician
  • Audio equipment technician
  • Sound engineer
  • Acoustic consultant
  • Mastering engineer
  • Live sound engineer

What Kind of Money Can I Make?

Salaries can vary, depending on what career you're interested in. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), audio/video equipment technicians earned a median salary of $41,440 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Sound engineering technicians earned $53,330, while broadcast technicians earned $37,490 annually.

Should I Become Certified?

While certification is not a requirement for becoming an audio engineer, sound technician or audio equipment engineer, it is available through the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE). The SBE offers a variety of certifications for those in the audio field, including several specializations, including certified audio engineer, digital radio specialist and directional specialist (www.sbe.org).

What Is the Career Outlook?

According to the BLS, competition for positions in audio engineering will be tight between 2014 and 2024, since the field attracts a lot of applicants. Out of all the audio fields, the BLS projected the highest employment growth would be for audio/video equipment technicians, with growth of 12%.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers include electrical/electronics engineering technicians and electrical/electronics installers and repairers. Electrical/electronics engineering technicians design an array of items, including computers and navigational systems. They're also involved in the evaluation, testing, and manufacturing of said products. Electrical/electronics installers and repairers are responsible for installing and troubleshooting equipment.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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