Every song you hear on the radio today is the product of a talented audio engineer. If you’re interested in shaping the music of the future, there are many audio engineering schools for you to choose from at the US.
An audio engineer records and manipulates audio recordings for a wide variety of media, from the music you hear on the radio to the songs you hear on your favorite TV show or in your favorite movie. Advancements in technology mean today’s engineers need to know how to work with computer software for music production, in addition to traditional audio recording equipment.
In addition to your degree work, you’ll want to be certified by the Society of Broadcast Engineers. This is an important addition to your résumé and requires passing a test and paying a small fee. Once certification is completed, you’ll be given a certificate, as well as a logo to place on your web pages, business cards, and other marketing materials.
To best manipulate and enhance sound, audio engineers must first know the basics of how sound works. Most audio engineering schools, therefore, will offer classes in audio waves and sound technology. After you’ve learned the basics of music production, you’ll progress to the mechanics of engineering, usually in a studio classroom. Some colleges provide engineering software for you to work on class assignments on your laptop or desktop, allowing you to avoid logging long hours in a classroom studio, where you would have to compete for studio time with other students.
Audio engineers are more than sound editors. A good engineer knows the acoustics of sound, inside and out. While a true ‘engineer’ in that sense, audio engineers also have a creative edge that allows them to work with talented musicians and creative visionaries to put a project together. Whether the music you are creating is a video game or car commercial, you will be putting together sound recordings for directors and producers who already have a preconceived idea of the final product. It will be up to you to bring this vision to life using the trade skills you learned in school, as well as the gift you were given for putting a song together.
Don’t make your decision based on what you find online. Most audio engineering colleges will allow you to tour their facilities before enrolling. Do a school tour and check out the equipment. Will you be able to train on a wide variety of equipment, ranging from traditional analog to the current digital technology? This is necessary to prepare you for your future career, with the experience giving you more jobs to choose from once you’ve received your degree and SBE certification.
A career as an audio engineer in the US also requires mechanical skill, as engineers are often called upon to install and troubleshoot equipment in the recording studio. Technical knowledge of computers and computer software will be helpful, as well, since many studios rely on this technology for sound mixing and basic office administration tasks.