A recording engineering school, which is often referred to as a sound or audio engineering school, is an institution that provides students with the necessary training for producing music within a studio environment. A recording engineer is professional who is responsible for creating, modifying and producing audio and music files. Recording engineers use mixing boards, digital recorders, and audio listening equipment. In addition recording engineering requires computer hardware and software especially in this age of digital file formats. Most recording engineers have received formal training in music and have completed sound engineering courses in music theory and music composition. The completion of post-secondary education may not be directly related to a career as a recording engineer, but it will show potential employers dedication to learning, ability to follow through and long-term planning. Recording engineering school will therefore help you meet your professional or personal goals.
Recording Engineer Training and Education
Students at Recording engineering school are trained in live recording and mixing, which is suitable for managing the sound at concerts and clubs. Graduates from these institutions do not typically graduate with a bachelors degree, but they may be provided with a certification in audio engineering. Alternatively, students can pursue bachelors degrees at a sound engineering school by studying at a regular university that covers a wide range of degree programs.
Students who enroll in a recording engineering program will be introduced to the principles and practice of sound design and reinforcement. All students should expect to spend time in a professional studio learning the proper techniques for setting up microphones for recording a variety of instruments and vocals. Other courses will also cover using music production software, analogue technologies, and special effects.
Some of the core recording engineering courses that are common amongst most programs include an introduction to the properties of sound, psychoacoustics, and the digital sound theory. Practical courses will include:
- An introduction to the mixing console
- Principles of using tape recorders
- Mixing sound using a digital audio workstation
- MIDI technology
- Special effects
Recording Engineering Careers
Graduates of the recording engineering school may not be offered the professional certifications that are expected by the top employers within this industry. However, certifications for using Pro Tools and Logic Pro are available through other professional organizations.
Graduates should also gain the qualifications necessary for joining the Audio Engineering Society (AES) in order to increase their employment opportunities. Graduates of recording engineering school programs may go onto working for recording studios, live venues, the film industry, radio, or a television station. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists some of the responsibilities for broadcast and sound engineering technicians are to:
- Operate, monitor, and adjust audio and video equipment
- Set up and break down equipment for events and performances
- Record speech, music, and other sounds
- Synchronize sounds and dialogue in audio-visual settings
- Convert video and audio records to digital formats
Install audio, video, and lighting equipment
Students who successfully complete a program at a recording engineering school may be able to obtain jobs in a variety of industries. For example, students can land jobs in the music industry, film industry, television, radio, at a concert venue, or at an educational institution. Live music venues as well as the entire broadcast industry rely on professional audio engineers to record, transmit, and master their sound.
Graduates who are unable to secure employment working directly with mixing, mastering, recording, or broadcasting sound can also go into audio sales or gain employment with an audiovisual installation company. These jobs allow graduates to use their skills in guiding consumers and businesses through their audio-related purchases and in setting up equipment for venues and large businesses.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
The average salary for audio technicians is between $28,130 and $51,780. However, most employees earn around $39,000. However, as students gain more experience, wages will range anywhere between $51,000 and $92,000. The highest end is occupied by those who work in professional studios where popular artists record their music while the lower end is occupied by those who work in radio. Median figures reported for 2010 by the BLS are as follows:
- Sound engineering technicians – $47,080
- Audio and video equipment technicians – $40,540
- Broadcast technicians – $35,120
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the employment of broadcast and sound engineering technicians is expected to grow 10% between 2010 and 2020. However, the competition for entry level positions will be very high in major cities, so students are encouraged to gain internships during their studies at recording engineering school and to seek work in smaller cities and towns.
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