Audio Recording Engineers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

You should take music courses to learn an instrument, study voice, or learn composition. High school orchestras and bands are an excellent source for both practicing and studying music performance. You should also take classes in computer science, mathematics, business, and, if offered, electronics. A drama or broadcast journalism class may allow you access to a sound booth, and the opportunity to assist with audio engineering for live theatrical productions and radio programs.

Postsecondary Training

More than ever before, postsecondary training is an essential step for becoming a successful recording engineer. This is when you will make your first contacts and be introduced to many of the highly technical (and continually changing) aspects of the field. To learn about educational opportunities in the United States and abroad, visit the Web sites of the Audio Engineering Society ( or Mix Magazine Online (

Seminars and workshops offer the most basic level of education. This may be the best way to obtain an early, hands-on understanding of audio recording and prepare for entry-level apprentice positions. These programs are intended to introduce students to the equipment and technical aspects of the field, such as microphones, sound reinforcement, audio processing devices, digital processing and recording, and sound editing. Students will also become familiar with the newest technologies in the audio field, such as MIDI (musical instrument digital interface), synthesis, sampling, and current music software. A seminar can last from a couple of hours to several weeks. Many workshops are geared toward in-depth study of a certain aspect of recording such as mixing, editing, or music production.

Students looking for a more comprehensive course of study in specific areas of the recording industry can enroll in technical school or community college programs. Depending on the curriculum, these programs can take from several weeks to up to a year to complete. The most complete level of postsecondary education is a two- or four-year degree from a university. At many universities, students have access to state-of-the-art equipment and a teaching staff of knowledgeable professionals in the industry. Universities incorporate music, music technology, and music business in a comprehensive curriculum that prepare graduates to be highly competitive in the industry. Students can enroll in other non-audio courses, such as business, communications, marketing, and computers.

Other Education or Training

The Audio Engineering Society offers continuing education opportunities at its conferences and conventions, which are held around the world. Contact the society for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

In the broadcast industry, engineers can be certified by the Society of Broadcast Engineers ( Certification is recommended because this step shows your dedication to the field and your level of competence. After completing technical training and meeting strict qualifications, you can also join the society as a youth (high school), student (college), or associate (those who are not engineers or students) member. Membership gives you access to educational seminars and conferences, and allows you to create a ResumeBank profile at the society's Web site.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Students should obtain as much experience in the music, television, and film industries as possible by participating in summer internships and part-time jobs.

Being a recording engineer requires both technical skills and communication skills. You must be patient, even tempered, capable of working well with a variety of creative people and temperaments, and possess the confidence to function in a leadership position. Since audio recording engineers must make difficult decisions to achieve the sound quality desired by a music, film or television producer, excellent troubleshooting skills are essential for an audio recording engineer.