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Music Engineering Jobs: Career & Salary Facts

Music engineers record, mix and edit sounds for the radio, television, film and recording industries. Learn what type of education you'll need to enter the business, along with where you might work and what you can earn as a music engineer.

What Is a Music Engineer?

Music engineers - also known as audio engineers or recording engineers - are responsible for recording and then editing or manipulating sounds. Prominent in the music industry, these professionals use a combination of audio tools and software technology to capture audio. They may add and omit elements from recorded sounds while also utilizing sound manipulation techniques in order to alter the sound or enhance its quality.

As such, music engineers are well-versed in all aspects of related technology, from analog to digital. They also handle and oversee many types of music equipment, such as mixing consoles. Extensive discussions with producers and artistic talent make communication another key asset for this work. In some areas, the music engineer may even assume some producing duties.

Evaluate the table below for an overview of this profession.

Degree Required Associate, Bachelor's
Required Field of Study Audio Engineering, Audio Production, Sound Engineering
Job Duties Record music and sounds with equipment, edit music and sounds using various techniques, confer with other professionals like producers
Licensure/Certification Certificate programs are available for some entry-level positions.
Job Growth (2018-2028) 2% growth*
Median Salary (2018) $52,390*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Music Engineer Do?

Music engineers , operate the equipment that mixes, records and edits sound. As a music engineer or music engineering technician, you may work for music studios, radio stations, record labels or film and television editing companies. If you have a love of music and technology, you will be able to combine those two interests into one profession. You may even opt to further specialize your career by focusing entirely on sound recording, sound mixing or sound editing.

Where Will I Work?

Several industries hire professional music engineers. You could find a job designing and recording the sound effects for radio programs or television commercials. You could also establish a career within a recording studio by mixing and editing the songs for professional artists. If you are interested in providing the score or mixing the sound for films and television shows, you might want to look for a music engineering job in the motion picture and video industry.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the competition for music engineering jobs is much higher in large cities such as New York or Los Angeles (www.bls.gov). The highest-paying jobs in the field are often found in those cities as well.

What Education Will I Need?

To earn a position as a music engineering technician, you might consider completing an associate's or bachelor's degree program in audio engineering, sound engineering or audio production. Many 2-year community colleges and technical schools also offer certificate programs in the field that might prepare you for entry-level positions.

While enrolled in a degree program in audio or sound engineering, you will gain a basic overview of recording technology, audio engineering processes, sound reinforcement and studio production. You will often learn through classroom lectures as well as hands-on studio sessions. Many degree programs in the field will also provide you with an overview of the music business.

What Will My Salary Be Like?

Sound engineering technicians held more than 13,500 jobs in the U.S. in 2018, according to the BLS. The median annual salary in the field in 2018 was roughly $52,390. The majority of sound engineering technicians in 2018 worked for the motion picture and video industries, the same industry that pays the most in this profession.

What Are Some Related Alternative Occupations?

Related occupations are available that require an associate or bachelor'-level education and that enable you to fuse technology with engineering skills. Electrical and electronic engineering technicians, for example, help create an array of technology, including computers, communications devices and navigation instruments. Film and video editors, on the other hand, focus their skills on recording and editing video images rather than audio sounds. If you are primarily interested in the music aspects of the career, you might consider a path as a music producer.