Recording Arts Degree Programs
Read about recording arts degree programs, including those at the associate, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Find out if it's possible to pursue a program online, and learn what to expect in terms of job outlook and salary in the recording industry.
What Kind of Recording Arts Degree Programs Exist?
Depending on your career goals, you can earn an associate, bachelor's or master's degree in recording arts. These programs teach you how to engineer, produce and mix music in a professional recording studio using industry-specific equipment. You might also find dual-degree programs that combine music, recording and business education that might prepare you for management jobs in the entertainment industry.
|Degree Levels||Associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees available|
|Common Courses||Recording methods, property rights, electronic engineering, composition, music education|
|Learning Environment||Traditional classroom; some hybrid courses are available|
|Possible Careers||Sound engineering technician, producer, sounds effects specialist|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2018)*||$52,390 (for Sound Engineering Technicians)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||8% (for Sound Engineering Technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Are the Curricula Like?
Associate degree programs are designed to provide you with entry-level training in music production and engineering, as well as give you a solid background in electronics. Courses teach you sound techniques, multitrack studio recording and how to digitize music. You'll be introduced to the equipment used in the recording business, as well as how to care for and fix audio components and devices. You could participate in a series of workshops throughout the program or gain real-world experience through an internship at a recording studio.
In a bachelor's degree program, you'll cover similar topics, and some schools integrate performing arts and music theory courses. You'll learn recording processes for filmmaking, modern and classical recording methods, basic electronic engineering and composition. You might be required to complete a final project or a work-study practicum.
Master's degree programs feature advanced courses in various aspects of the recording industry, including intellectual and creative property rights, visual technology, sound effects engineering and multimedia recording synchronization. Some electives could include topics in sound forensics, music education or electronic equipment design. You'll usually be expected to submit a final project during your last year of school and pass a comprehensive exam to obtain your degree.
Can I Complete Any Of These Programs Online?
You'll probably have trouble finding a degree program in recording arts that you'd be able to complete entirely over the Internet. Much of your coursework takes place in a professional recording studio, where you'll be expected to complete your assignments and projects. However, some programs include business and other courses unrelated to studio technology, offering a few of these courses online.
If your program does include online courses, you'll need a computer with a high-speed Internet connection to obtain your lectures and assignments. Many schools utilize course management software, such as Blackboard, to provide access to your course materials, instructors, peers and technical support.
What Is the Job Outlook?
Completing a degree in recording arts can qualify you to work in a professional recording studio as a producer or sound engineering technician. You might also consider working for video game manufacturers or advertising agencies as a sound effects specialist. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median annual salary of sound engineering technicians was $52,390 in 2018 (www.bls.gov). Most of these were employed in the motion picture and video industries, though the highest wages were paid to technicians in software publishing, according to the BLS.