Audio Production Schools and Colleges in the U.S.
Audio production courses prepare students for a variety of careers, including work in the music recording, film, television, live theater and the computer gaming industries. Degrees are often interdisciplinary, combining audio production with music, recording arts or audio technology.
How to Select an Audio Production School
Choosing a degree level can depend on what kind of career goals a student has. For example, students seeking entry-level jobs in the radio, television or audio recording industries can prepare for a career as a recording technician or radio producer through a 2-year associate degree program. Another alternative is a shorter certificate program offered through a college or university continuing education program. Programs may emphasize a team-based or project-based approach to learning in preparation for employment.
Careers as audio engineers, on-air talent or music producers may be attainable with a bachelor's degree in audio production, audio technology or a closely related field. Graduates of these programs may be prepared for careers as recording engineers, music producers, performers or recording artists. Bachelor's degrees are usually a prerequisite for master's and doctoral studies in audio production. Bachelor's degree students may also have general education requirements to complete.
Students inquiring into prospective schools may consider the facilities and the recording spaces provided for student learning. They may prefer schools with contemporary recording suites and state-of-the-art software packages available for student use. Facilities may include recording and mixing studios, computer/MIDI labs, microphones, and sound systems. Schools that offer internships at local studios, venues, radio and TV stations are also sought out, as the experience is valuable to students looking to gain contacts and mastery of the craft.
Students in these continuing education certificate programs gain a broad understanding of audio production that includes recording, mixing, editing, processing, special effects, and preparing soundtracks. Hands-on technical work using technology like microphones and mixing boards is a common requirement. Students may take an assignment from pre- to post-production.
Associate Degree Programs
An associate degree in audio production generally takes two years to earn. Degree fields include video and audio production technology or audio engineering. The curriculum typically blends theory and applied learning using professional audio production equipment. Some programs are designed as transfer programs for students who know they'd like to continue their education at the bachelor's degree level.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Bachelor of Science students generally have a more science-centered curriculum. They explore the physics of sound and the technology for processing it through classes like acoustics, audio recording, audio mixing, and technical project management. A Bachelor of Arts curriculum emphasizes music theory and its applications through classes in musical arrangement and sound design, plus digital audio and MIDI sequencing, signal processing, mixing, and mastering audio sound.
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