Sound Engineer Career Path
How To Become an Audio EngineerAn audio engineer uses equipment and machinery to produce, mix, synchronize, or record sounds including sound effects, voice work, or music. They work on video games, live shows, music recordings, and movie productions. Audio engineers are responsible for regulating sound quality volumes and unwanted sound. They use ambient sound microphones, provide oversight for live productions, meet client's quality standards, and collaborate with producers and performers. Here are six steps on how to become an audio engineer.
Research the field of audio engineering.
Some people refer to audio engineers as recording or sound engineers as well. This vast field has many different specializations, so research will be vital to discover which is right for you. Some of your options will include:
- Mix audio engineer.
- Game audio engineer.
- Wireless microphone engineer.
- Recording audio engineer.
- Mastering audio engineer.
You can specialize in any of the above or pick up the job of handling more than one. Identifying which area you're passionate about early on will help save you time later on and help you maintain an edge in a popular field.
Get your education.
To become an audio engineer, you need to get your high school diploma or equivalent education. If possible, you should take courses you'll use on the job, such as communications, electronics, and information technology. You can take part in school music and theater productions to get up close and personal with some of the sound and quality control equipment.
It's possible to become an audio engineer without a degree, though it's recommended to get your associate's or bachelor's degree in audio engineering or sound production. These degrees will help teach you how to operate a mixing board, master necessary techniques, troubleshoot sound issues, and introduce you to new technology. You'll also learn music theory, design, and take studio recording courses, so you'll be ready to join the workforce after you graduate.
What type of degree should you pursue to become an Audio Engineer?
79% of people working as an Audio Engineer earned a Bachelor's Degree
What skills do you need to be an Audio Engineer?
- Telephone Switchboards
- Effective Communication
- MS Office
Look for an internship.
If you're able to, interning is a great way to learn while on the job and interact with those who have been audio engineers for years. You can pay special attention to how they set things up, run their board, and maintain their equipment. You'll learn valuable concepts to make you more valuable to future employers. You can look for internships in radio and television production or with live entertainment companies. Some companies offer paid internships, but unpaid internships will teach you the skills necessary to be successful and to prove to potential employers that you're committed to the job.
Certifications aren't necessary to begin work as an audio engineer, but they offer an edge in a highly competitive field. The Society of Broadcast Engineers offers an exam. Even though it requires five years of experience to take this exam, you'll be able to count your time in education towards this requirement.
Find a job.
Once you've done everything possible to learn what you need to work as an audio engineer, you're ready to begin applying for jobs. You should highlight your skills, experience, and education as they are relevant for each job. The top places to find a job as an audio engineer include:
- Movie sets.
- Sporting venues.
- Recording studios.
- Music video shoots.
- Radio broadcasting.
- Television broadcasting.
Work on improving your skills.
There are always new techniques and new technology to learn in a field as diverse as audio engineering. It's essential to remain familiar and current with these trends so you can provide the best work possible while on the job. Acquiring new skills may be necessary if you should ever choose to switch careers.
Sound Engineer Career Path
Related careers in the Engineering Industry
Interested in other Engineering careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Sound Engineer skills. Discover some of the most common Sound Engineer career transitions, along with skills overlap.