As mentioned earlier, while a formal education is not a necessary requirement to become a sound engineer, having a college diploma can increase a student’s competitive edge in getting a job in a very niche field.
Because sound engineers tend to work in the entertainment and media industry, most college programs are offered by art institutes, as well as film and music schools. As a result, some programs are run by private institutions and tuitions may be more expensive than other programs offered at a public college. In addition to having a great portfolio and relevant job experience, the key to landing a job in a very competitive field is to go to a school near where most of the companies in the field are located. The reason is that schools tend to establish very tight industry network with companies nearby the campus in order to gain industry support which adds credibility to the program. Often times, students will have the opportunity to be exposed to the industry professionals through networking events and internship programs.
Moreover, students who are planning to pursue a career in sound engineering technician may be expected to take the following courses1:
• Fundamentals of Audio: Students will learn the basics of sound, including acoustics and techniques for recording. They will also learn about the important role which sound plays in media production.
• Music Theory: These courses provide students with an overview on the fundamentals of music, from understanding notes to the basic scales and cords. These courses are designed to train students’ listening skills with respect to identifying the sounds used in recording.
• Audio Technology: Students will learn about the different tools and programs to create, assemble and distribute audio content. They will also learn about the science of transmission, using different types of equipment to mix, manipulate and transmit the content.
• Video Production for Audio
• Electronics: These courses are designed to teach students on the electronic components of audio and sound production, as recording and mixing are done electronically. They will learn about electronic circuits and voltage which will allow them to properly troubleshoot equipment and calculate which type of equipment is best used for different recording and mixing purposes.
• Production Sound: Students will have the opportunity to learn about the art and science of producing sound. They will learn a number of techniques to record sound effects as well as dialogue using a multitude of equipment.
• Listening and Analysis: This course helps students to fine tune their listening skills as they have to analyze different sounds and music and identify the proper production techniques to produce them.
• Audio Recording: Students will have the opportunity to learn about the techniques of recording using audio systems to mix and to work on multitrack sessions. These courses are designed to provide students with hands-on skills
A career in sound engineering can be a very rewarding one if you are passionate about the acoustics and the composition of sound in digital media productions such as television, video, radio, film and even music. For more information on the educational requirements of a sound engineer, please contact your high school career counsellor.
1. Audio Production Bachelor of Science. Art Institute of California. http://new.artinstitutes.edu/los-angeles/Programs/Audio-Production/337