Choosing an occupation isn’t as easy as choosing your next Netflix series to binge. It requires thought, contemplation, and careful consideration—especially because so many careers now require college degrees. Let’s be honest, absolutely no one wants to put thousands of dollars toward an education in the entirely wrong field, which is why it’s crucial to explore all of your options.
By this point, you’ve probably taken a dozen personality tests and pre-employment quizzes in hopes of figuring out what career you’re best suited for—and that may have helped a little, but what you really need is to do some research.
So, you’ve gotten this far. You’re interested in audio engineering. Let us make it easy on you and help you decide if this is the right degree for you!
Audio engineering, also known as sound engineering, requires both science and creativity. This is an evolving and competitive career that focuses on the complex technicalities of sound. The entertainment industry is the leading employer of audio engineers, which is why individuals in this occupation work alongside record-producers, TV and film producers, musicians, actors, and other figures in showbiz.
This is a highly sought-after vocation because it requires someone with expertise and experience. In this position, you will use equipment to produce, record, mix, mute, and synchronize sound, music, and voice. The work environment for audio engineers varies. Some may work in studio settings, while others may work at live music or entertainment venues—which could be indoors or outdoors.
Education and Training
The cool thing about an audio engineering degree is that there are three educational options. You can earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, and/or master’s degree in audio engineering. An associate of science degree takes two years to complete and is the quickest route. A bachelor of science degree takes four years to obtain, but would give you a more-expansive basis of knowledge. A master of science degree can be earned after a bachelor’s degree, but would take an additional two more years to complete.
There is no “wrong” choice when it comes to education. This is a decision that is entirely up to you. There’s usually a correlation between education and salary, which is why many often choose to further their education. Regardless of salary, however, any of these degrees will grant you the capability to be hired as an audio engineer.
Skills and Qualities
It’s important for audio engineers to have a passion for music, especially because they spend each day working on audio production and application. In addition to music and audio classes, they must also be willing to take classes on business, technology, and math.
Even though it may seem like they must require only analytical skills, they must also evoke creativity. Audio engineers display many artistic qualities. They are often intuitive, empathetic, independent, original, and innovative. If you feel that your personality and skills align with these qualities, audio engineering may be the perfect fit for you!
Audio engineers always have the option to specialize in one or more subfields of this occupation, which allows them the opportunity for exploration. Some of the most common sub-disciplines are studio engineering, recording engineering, mixing engineering, game and design audio engineering, and audio post engineering.
Between music, films, video games, theatre, and other forms of production, audio engineers have the freedom to branch out and study other subsections of this career.
A common concern for those interested in audio engineering is whether or not this degree will one day pay for itself. The real question should be why is finding a career that you’re passionate about so frowned upon? Society has taught us that sacrifices must be made when it comes to work and happiness. But who says you can’t have it all?
Audio engineering is both a field of study and an art form, which is why it seems so intimidating. Artistic degrees are commonly believed to be useless, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re passionate about mixing, recording, and producing music, let that guide you.
And if it makes you feel any better, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015), the median salary of audio engineers is $41,780 and the expected job growth from 2014 to 2024 is 7%!