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Sound Engineering & Recording Arts Schools

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As new and exciting technologies arise in the music industry, training at music production and recording arts schools is becoming increasingly crucial to succeed in these fields. Producing audio in a studio is a complex endeavor that requires both technical and artistic skills. If you've already got an ear for music and sound, the only step left is to get the technical training needed to excel in this industry.

Earn your education, and you can start looking forward to career opportunities like audio engineer, audio/video mixer, boom operator, music editor, radio producer, television production engineer, post-production editor, and sound engineer. The people who fill these positions are the foundation of the audio industry, and with the right training, you could be a part of that!

As a music producer, sound engineer, or other recording arts professional, you could create, record, edit, mix, or manipulate sounds of all types to create hit songs, electronic music, movie soundtracks, radio commercials, and more.

Take a look at the recording arts and audio production programs below and get in touch with the schools that intrigue you. To quickly find the schools near you, enter your zip code in the search tool below!

University of Silicon Valley

  • San Jose, California
  • Digital Audio Technology

Laurus College

  • Atascadero, California
  • Chula Vista, California
  • Oxnard, California
  • San Luis Obispo, California
  • Santa Maria, California
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Online
  • Audio Production
  • Audio Video Production

SAE Institute

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Miami, Florida
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • New York, New York
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Audio
  • Audio Engineering and Music Production
  • Audio Technology
  • Electronic Music Production
  • Entertainment Business

Full Sail University

  • Winter Park, Florida
  • Online
  • Audio Production
  • Entertainment Business
  • Music Business
  • Music Production
  • Recording Arts


Recording Arts While there is no industry standard for the education needed for a career in this field, many schools offer programs related to sound engineering, audio production, or the music business in general.

The industry has continued to become increasingly immersed in computer technology, resulting in greater importance being placed on post-secondary education.

Certificate, diploma, and degree programs can provide you with the skills required to be a music producer. In general, most programs cover:

  • Studio recording
  • Mixing
  • Mastering
  • Sound design
  • Surround sound techniques
  • Recording technologies (analog and digital)
  • Audio file management and documentation
  • Music composition
  • Songwriting
  • Song arrangement
  • Music concepts
  • Music genres

Some programs can even provide you with training related to the business side of the music industry, including:

  • Laws and ethics
  • Copyrighting
  • Publishing
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Artist management
  • Music booking
  • Tour organizing

How Long is Recording Arts or Sound Engineering School

There is no set standard of length for training programs. It depends on the type of program you choose. Online certificate programs can allow you to graduate within a few months, while a degree program can take one to four years. If you already have some experience and knowledge and are simply looking to gain hands-on technical skills, a short-term, career-oriented program could be the right option. Or, if you are looking for an in-depth education that covers theoretical, technical, practical, and general business skills, a degree program might be a better fit.

Recording Arts vs Music Production

Recording arts and music production are key to making music, but they're not the same. Recording arts is all about the technical side, like using mics and mixers to get the best sound. Music production is more about the overall process, including creative choices about the music itself. Read on to find out what makes these two roles different and how they work together to make the music we enjoy.

Recording Arts:

  • The recording arts encompass the technical aspects of capturing sound, whether it's music, dialogue for film and television, or sound effects.
  • Professionals in the recording arts are typically sound engineers or audio technicians who are experts in recording equipment, microphones, and the acoustics of recording spaces.
  • Their main focus is on the sound recording quality, mixing, and mastering processes.
  • Careers in recording arts can also extend to live sound engineering, audio for video games, broadcast engineering, and other audio-related fields.

Music Producer:

  • A music producer may have a strong foundation in recording arts, but their role extends into the creative music-making process.
  • Music producers are involved in the creative decision-making process, including choosing material, arranging music, coaching artists, and guiding the direction of the sound and the song's production.
  • They often have a say in the artistic and aesthetic aspects of a track or an album.
  • Producers can be involved in the composition and songwriting, sometimes even collaborating as musicians on the tracks.

What Does a Music Producer Do?

Audio Production Schools At the core of music production is a role akin to project management, yet it encompasses much more. Music producers are the visionary leaders in the studio, responsible for bringing a musical concept to life. Here's what the modern music producer's role includes:

  • Artistic Direction: Producers guide artists, helping to refine their sound and performance in the studio. They offer constructive feedback, fostering an environment where creativity can flourish.
  • Song Selection and Arrangement: They assist artists in choosing the right songs and making arrangements that enhance the track's commercial appeal and artistic value.
  • Session Management: Overseeing recording sessions is key, ensuring that the artists and engineers work together smoothly to realize the project's vision.
  • Technical Proficiency: Today's producers mix and master tracks using sophisticated software and hardware. They must be adept at the latest digital audio workstations (DAWs) and understand the nuances of sound engineering.
  • Budget and Schedule Oversight: A music producer's essential responsibilities include balancing the financial aspects and adhering to timelines.

Producers also bring indispensable musical expertise. Like an editor to a writer, they provide a fresh ear, identifying areas for improvement that the artist may overlook. This process may involve suggesting changes in composition or arrangement that transform a track from ordinary to extraordinary.

Producers are increasingly involved in songwriting, co-writing, and refining songs during studio sessions.

Technical Tools and Trends:
Music production has seen a shift towards sophisticated digital environments. Producers must be proficient with advanced digital audio workstations (DAWs), which serve as the hub for most studio activities, integrating the functionalities of mixers, synthesizers, and sound processors. Familiarity with the following tools is indispensable:

  • Apple Logic Pro X
  • Avid's Pro Tools
  • Steinberg Cubase
  • Ableton Live
  • PreSonus Studio One
  • FL Studio

Moreover, a producer's toolkit now includes virtual instruments, sample libraries, and plugins that provide a vast palette of sounds and effects. Producers must be conversant with modern synthesis and sampling techniques, as well as mixing in immersive audio formats like Dolby Atmos.

Flexibility in Role:
The scope of a music producer's role is diverse and varies with each project. Producers may focus on genre-specific production styles or become specialists in certain aspects of the production process. Staying current with technological advancements, understanding market trends, and developing a signature sound are all crucial for success in this field.

The music industry's landscape is constantly changing, and so is the role of the music producer. While certain fundamentals remain, aspiring producers should immerse themselves in ongoing learning to stay at the forefront of this exciting and evolving career path.

Roles in Recording Arts

People working in recording arts are primarily audio engineers or sound engineers. Their job is to manage all aspects of capturing sound, whether for music, film, television, or live events. Here's a breakdown of the different roles within the recording arts:

  • Recording Engineer: This person is responsible for setting up microphones and selecting and placing them to best capture the sound of the instruments and vocals. They oversee the technical aspects of recording sessions to ensure high-quality sound.
  • Mix Engineer: After the recording session, the mix engineer takes over. They work with all the recorded tracks, adjusting levels, adding effects, and balancing the elements to create the song's final mix.
  • Mastering Engineer: Once a track is mixed, it goes to the mastering engineer. They make final adjustments to the sound, ensuring consistency across all tracks on an album and preparing the music for distribution in various formats.
  • Live Sound Engineer: These professionals specialize in managing sound for live performances. They set up the sound system, perform sound checks, and mix the audio in real time during the event.

In addition to these roles, some audio engineers work with sound design, creating sound effects for media such as video games and movies. Across all these roles, sound engineers use a variety of tools and technologies, from traditional analog consoles to sophisticated digital audio workstations, to capture and manipulate sound.


Certification isn't required to legally work in this field in any state. However, it could give you an edge when applying for a job.

How Much Do Sound Engineers Make?

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) estimates from 2022, here's how much professionals in this field earned:

  • The median annual wage for sound engineering technicians was $60,670. The highest-paid 10 percent of broadcast, sound, and video technicians made over $110,260 per year.

Job Outlook for Sound Engineers

According to occupational projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of sound engineering technicians is expected to decline slightly between 2022 and 2032.

Breaking into the Industry

Even though finding jobs in the music industry can be challenging, some factors can heighten your chances of securing a position. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Get Proactive: If you have trouble securing a paying position, it can be a good idea to focus on gaining experience on your own dollar through volunteering. Consider offering your skills and talent to local musicians by handling the production and recording for free. Not only will you gain valuable experience, but you can also prove to employers that you are committed and passionate about the industry when an opening becomes available.
  • Market Yourself: No matter how talented you are, your chances of securing employment are slim if no one knows who you are or what you're capable of. This is why self-promotion and marketing can make all the difference. Social media outlets, professional organizations, and networking (word-of-mouth) are just a few of the tools you can use.
  • Work Your Way Up: It can be unrealistic to think you can enter the field at the top and instantly become an in-demand music producer. It is much more likely and realistic that you will have to start at the bottom of a company and work your way up. Many music producers start off in positions like sound engineer, booking manager, and studio technician.
  • Stay in the Know: By keeping your finger on the pulse of the music industry, you can greatly increase your chances of gaining a career. Knowledge is power, so stay on top of music trends by attending as many shows, concerts, and industry conventions as possible.

Work Environment for Recording Arts & Sound Engineering

Recording studios and production houses are the most common work environments. However, opportunities can also be found within radio and television studios, film companies, and more.

Alternate titles and similar occupations include:

  • Recording studio technician
  • Recording engineer
  • Music editor
  • Artist manager

Industry Perks

  • It is an opportunity to work in one of the most sought-after industries.
  • You can flex your creative muscle and test the boundaries of your artistic talent.
  • It gives you the chance to work as part of a creative team and help musicians reach their full potential.
  • You can meet and interact with new people on a regular basis.
  • You can have the chance to work with sophisticated and continually evolving technology.

Now What?

Your ideal first step is to begin researching school options in your area. You can find a wide variety of programs listed above, or search by zip code to find sound engineering and recording arts colleges and vocational schools near you!