How Can I Find Live Sound Technician Schools?
Read about your formal training options for becoming a sound technician, including individual courses, certificate programs and associate's degree programs in fields like sound technology or audio engineering. Explore what you'd learn and what kind of hands-on training you'd gain in these programs. Review your options for continuing your sound technician education at the bachelor's degree level.
Live sound technicians typically train through certificate, associate's or bachelor's degree programs. Some online options do exist.
Where Do I Locate Live Sound Technician Schools?
A great deal of your preparation to become a live sound technician can take place in the form of on-the-job training. With no prior experience, you may be able to obtain an entry-level position as an assistant to a sound engineer. In this job, you may start out as a glorified gofer, but you learn by experience as your duties increase. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that it's advisable for you to get some sort of formal training.
There are private, for-profit studio schools, institutes or audio schools that specialize exclusively in sound engineering. As of 2011, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) listed over 100 traditional 2- and 4-year institutions that offer programs in the field of recording arts technology. Courses and programs are generally presented through an institution's school or department of arts and sciences or music.
The nature of live sound technology generally calls for hands-on, in-person instruction. While rare, there are schools offering online courses in live sound technology. Some courses exist as components of a sound technology or music production program. Others are standalone courses that may last a month. The delivery format can be primarily housed on the Internet, but include live workshops or interactive sessions with fellow students and faculty.
What Are Some Common Training Programs I Can Pursue?
Schools may offer you the opportunity to pursue a standalone course in live sound technology or live sound reinforcement. A standalone course can last as long as a semester. Schools sometimes conduct classes in conjunction with a local, commercial venue. In this way, the entire course is a practicum in a real-life setting and may address safety, aesthetic and business facets of live sound engineering.
Certificate programs in live sound engineering are offered at some schools. Programs can last from 1-2 years and, depending on the school, may be applied for credit toward an academic degree. In addition to fundamental courses in recording techniques, certificate programs might include courses in multi-track recording, microphone placement, acoustical environments, console operation, mixing, ambient sound considerations and sound system installation.
At a traditional school, it will generally take you two years to earn a degree such as an Associate of Applied Science in Audio Engineering, Associate of Arts or Associate of Science in Music Technology or Associate of Arts in Audio Arts & Acoustics. Consisting of 64-69 credits, an associate's degree program could entail courses such as sound reinforcement, reinforcement system engineering, live sound recording, sound for the theater, monitor mixing and live sound aesthetics. Schools may also require you to complete an internship conducted either on campus or at a partnered off-campus venue. You may be able to transfer some credits toward a 4-year degree.
At some for-profit institutes, you can find diploma programs in the recording arts that are similar to the associate's degree programs offered at traditional schools. You might be able to apply some of the courses in diploma programs toward college credit.
Which Schools Offer Certificates for Live Sound Technicians?
There are many certificate programs to consider for live sound technicians. Online programs are also available.
- The Berklee College of Music offers an online certificate program in Live Sound Production
- Lamar State College offers a Level 1 Certificate program in Live Sound Design and Technology
- Mesa Community College offers a Certificate of Completion in Audio Production Technologies Track 1 Audio Production, Audio Production Technologies Track II Sound Design, and Sound Design
Which Schools Offer Associate's Degrees for Live Sound Technicians?
Many associate's degrees exist for live sound technicians. Choose a program from a state school, community college; or consider a specialty schools.
- Lamar State College offers a Sound Engineer Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program
- Mesa Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Audio Production Technologies - Track I Audio Production, and Audio Production Technologies - Track II Sound Design
- The Institute of Production and Recording offers an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Live Sound and Show Production
Are There Bachelor's Degree Programs Available to Me?
The BLS states that a bachelor's degree isn't required to enter the field of sound engineering. If you decide on this course of action, you might pursue a Bachelor of Applied Science in Sound Arts, Bachelor of Arts in Audio Arts and Acoustics or Bachelor of Science in Digital Art and Design - just to name a few potential titles. In addition to live sound technology, other subjects you might encounter can include music business and ethics, studio and equipment maintenance, music theory, postproduction, stagecraft, organization management and studio psychology. Consisting of about 128 credits, a bachelor's degree program can take 3-4 years to complete, including internships and at least one practicum.
Which Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees for Live Sound Technicians?
There are myriad 4-year programs to consider for live sound technicians. Depending on what you'd like to focus on for your degree, a pathway exists for your needs.
- Michigan Technological University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program Audio Production and Technology
- Full Sail University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program Show Production
- Middle Tennessee State University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Audio Production
You can study to become a live sound technician through an undergraduate degree. Or a certificate program might work better for you.