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Colleges for Sound Technicians

Get info on choosing a school for your sound technician studies, and read about resources that can help you find an approved program. Explore certificate and degree programs for aspiring sound technicians, and find out what courses you'd take at each program level. Learn about certification options for sound technicians, as well as online learning options.

There are multiple fields of study for sound technicians, including recording engineering, live sound and music production. Online courses are available.

How Do I Find A College for Sound Technicians?

The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) is a national organization that maintains an online list of technical schools that have been approved by the SBE Certification Committee. These schools present programs that comply with quality standards established by the SBE. The programs at these schools deal with broadcast training and related subject areas, focusing on various facets of sound technology.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is another source you might want to consider. The NCES offers a searchable, online database that lists over 130 2- and 4-year postsecondary schools that offer recording arts and audio/visual technology programs. In addition to technical colleges, you can also locate suitable programs through a traditional institution's school of music technology, communications technology, performing arts or telecommunications.

Several private, for-profit schools and public community colleges offer online courses in sound technology. They can feature stand-alone courses dealing with music production software, such as Pro Tools, Reason or Logic. Depending on school policy, courses can offer college credit to be used toward a certificate or degree program.

In addition, the SBE conducts its own online university. SBE online training provides you with the opportunity to participate in on-demand, stand-alone courses and web-based seminars.

What Certificate Programs Are Available to Me?

Certificate programs can take 6-24 months, depending on the extent of the education and class schedules. Required courses might only be offered once each year, extending the time it takes to complete the program. Typical courses include subjects in music technology, digital sound effects, acoustics, live sound reinforcement and studio recording. Some certificate programs offer you the opportunity to complete an internship at a partnered business, build a portfolio for use when you look for a job in the industry or apply your earned credit toward a degree.

Which Schools Offer Certificates for Sound Technicians?

The following are excellent choices for entering into the study of audio production via a certificate program. An online option is available; additionally, students can choose from certificate programs at community colleges.

  • Berklee College of Music offers a Music Production online certificate program
  • The Atlanta Institute of Music and Media offers a Recording Certificate program
  • The Community College of Baltimore County offers a Music Production and Audio Recording Technology Certificate program

What Degree Can I Earn?

Several schools offer associate degree programs in the field of sound technology. You might be able to concentrate your studies on specific disciplines, such as radio production, audio production technology or electronic technology. You can usually earn an associate degree in two years, and you'll often qualify for an entry-level position in the field of sound technology after you graduate. In addition to subjects covered in a certificate program, common courses in an associate degree program can include studio music recording, electronic music, aural perception, multi-track recording, fabrication technologies and detailed courses in various audio recording techniques. In addition, you're generally required to participate in workshops, practica and an internship.

Though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that a short training program should provide you with sufficient education to enter the field, the agency also projected strong competition for those entering field between 2008 and 2018. Some schools offer bachelor's degrees in music, sound and recording technologies that could improve your employment potential. These 4-year programs cover many of the same topics in certificate and associate degree programs, though you'll usually have more hands-on opportunities with student-run broadcast studios, extended internships or assistance with sound production for live concerts, theater or speaking events.

Which Schools Offer Associate's Degrees for Sound Technicians?

Use the following schools as some creative options for associate's degrees. Topics to study include audio production, audio engineering, and sound design.

  • The IPR College of Creative Arts offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Audio Production and Engineering
  • The Academy of Art University offers an Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Music Production, and Sound Design
  • Valencia College offers an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Sound and Music Technology

Which Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees for Sound Technicians?

There are several schools that provide bachelors programs related to sound technology that students can choose from to earn a more comprehensive education.

  • SUNY-Fredonia offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Sound Recording Technology
  • Temple University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Music Technology
  • Elon University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Music Production and Recording Arts

Am I Certified When I Earn a Certificate or Degree?

Certification isn't required for the industry and is separate from getting a college education. However, if you meet education and experience requirements, you'll be eligible to sit for an audio engineer certification examination administered by the SBE. Certification, while entirely voluntary, stands in testimony of your competence and might be beneficial to your advancement in the field of sound technology.

Many options exist for sound technicians, all depending on what type of audio engineering and music production they'd like to focus in on with regard to their studies. Future prospects can be enhanced with a certificate or undergraduate degree in the field.