Sound Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S.
Sound design is the art of mixing, recording and producing audio. Sound designers, who may earn a postsecondary certificate, bachelor's degree or master's degree, work on feature films, radio programs, television programs, live events, music recordings or theater performances.
How to Select a Sound Design College
Because sound design is a hands-on art and skill, on-site facilities for student work are a key consideration in choosing a program. Facilities may include professionally equipped recording studios for voice, music and Foley work. Students may also have access to workstations with specialized music, mixing or editing software, sound mixing rooms and film mixing studios. Some schools may also offer students unlimited access to sound design facilities.
The opportunity to train for sound design careers through school productions or programs may also be a factor in choosing a sound design school. Colleges and schools may have radio, television, theatre and film programs or performances that offer sound design students the chance to practice technical and aesthetic skills. These productions may take place in settings like an on-campus performing arts center or theater.
Sound design programs are offered at a limited number of colleges, and many schools that do offer sound design programs offer credentials in only one or two academic levels. Depending on student career goals and the certificate or degree desired, relocation might be necessary.
Certificate in Sound Design
Postsecondary certificate programs in sound design are intense, focused studies of audio theory and practical application in the studio. Programs can vary widely in their duration and in their course requirements; however, most include classes in digital audio and sound design skills for video, radio, multimedia, TV and film projects. Some programs also offer internship opportunities. The goal of the certificate of completion is to enable students to gain entry-level employment in post-production theater, radio, film, television and advertising sound work.
Bachelor's Degree in Sound Design
A Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in sound design takes the typical student four years to complete on a full-time basis. Students generally take core liberal arts courses in addition to focusing on theoretical and practical audio and audiovisual production, like Foley work, voice in film and surround sound. Students may also collaborate in putting on theater productions and music performances to gain essential real-world experience in the art.
Master's Degree in Sound Design
Sound design professionals may enroll in a Master of Arts or Master of Fine Arts degree program in sound design, which can take two years or more to complete. Teaching and and fieldwork experiences may be required, along with advanced coursework in sound theory and design. Some programs foster close relationships with related programs like set design or costume design in order to develop sound designers' ability to work in a collaborative environment. Completion of a thesis or production experience may be required to graduate.
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