Careers in Audio Production

Learn about audio production careers, including those related to broadcasting, editing and sound engineering. Read on for more about degree programs, earnings and professional certifications. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Audio Producer?

There are a lot of different fields that require audio producers. These professionals could be audio engineers setting up sound equipment including microphones, speakers and mixing boards for music events or film sets. Broadcast techs are in charge of studio sound equipment for local news or other television programming. Sound engineers will find employment mixing sound for film or music performers. These positions require training in audio recording, editing and mixing.

This table gives some basic information for careers in audio production:

Audio and Video Engineers Broadcast Technicians Sound Engineers
Degree Required Associate's Associate's Associate's
Education Field of Study Film or audio Film or broadcasting Audio or Communications
Key Responsibilities Set moods with lighting and sound, direct technicians and oversee the sound equipment Edit video and film; possibly operate sound equipment Run and maintain sound/audio equipment
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 12% 7% 8%
Median Salary (2015)* $41,440 $37,490 $53,330

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Degree Programs Are Available in Audio Production?

Community colleges and technical colleges offer programs leading to the Associate of Applied Science in Audio Production (or sometimes, in both audio and video production). Generally 2-year tracks, they consist of classroom coursework and practical training with audio and video equipment. You could work in a student-run recording or television studio, learning to operate audio equipment and gaining experience with live broadcasts. After graduation or independently, you might enroll in a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Audio Production--which is similar to an associate's degree program, but with more general-education requirements and advanced training in audio production.

What Kind of Jobs Could I Get?

With proper schooling and training, you can work as an audio technician, audio editor, broadcast technician, radio operator or field technician. You might be responsible for setting up audio equipment for television or radio broadcasts and utilizing equipment to manipulate, synchronize and edit audio. As a field audio technician, you could travel with a news crew and record audio from live reports.

If you're interested in a career in music, you might consider a career in engineering. As a sound-engineering technician, you could work in a music studio with a job that involves recording and mixing music, creating sound effects and working with both singers and musicians.

What Certifications Can I Get?

The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) offers a number of certification designations for audio production professionals. Depending on your experience, you can earn designations such as Certified Radio Operator, Certified Television Operator, Certified Audio Engineer and Certified Broadcast Television Engineer. Each certification level has different eligibility requirements, so you should check with the SBE for an updated list.

How Much Can I Earn?

As of May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that audio and video equipment technicians earned a median annual salary of $41,440 (www.bls.gov). The same source indicated that broadcast technicians earned $37,490 and sound-engineering technicians earned $53,330.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Most of the related work in audio production will have something else to do with video or audio editing. These positions require you to mix sound and video in a studio or live broadcast setting. Electrical engineers or electrical installers are another choice. These professionals install or repair a variety of equipment in communications or other fields. The vast majority of audio production today uses computer support, so positions as support specialist are available as well. The electrical tech jobs require a high school diploma and additional specialized training. However, sound editors and computer support specialists need a bachelor's degree.

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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