Audio Production Degrees: Bachelor, Associate & Online Course Info

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What kind of jobs can you get with an associate's and bachelor's degree in audio production? Find out associate's and bachelor's degree requirements, online options and info on courses in audio production.
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Audio Production Associate's and Bachelor's Degrees at a Glance

An audio production undergraduate degree prepares students to work with audio equipment to ensure that sound for concerts, broadcasts, recordings, and live performances is optimal. Bad sound can be distracting for an audience, and technicians will be responsible for setting up the equipment, connecting the necessary cords and wires, adjusting levels, and reducing ambient noise. While no formal education is required to work in this field, individuals must have a strong understanding of the technical aspects of audio production; this involves knowledge of sound equipment and computer software programs. Programs will prepare students to work in the radio or broadcast industry, and skills and experience in the field will be looked upon more favorably than earning a degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of audio and visual technicians is expected to grow 13% from 2010-2020.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals who want basic audio production skills Individuals who want advanced skills in the field
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) -Sound engineering technician ($56,000) *
-Audio/Video technicians (46,000) *
-Editor ($60,000) *
-Producer ($92,000) *
Time to Completion two years, full-time four years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - About 20-24 courses
-About 40-48 graduate level courses
Prerequisites High school diploma - High school diploma
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures)

Associate's in Audio Production

While an associate's degree in audio production can prepare you to work in the entertainment and broadcast industry, opportunities may also be available to work in the audio/visual department in schools and universities to help install and maintain multimedia equipment. An audio production program is going to teach students about the latest trends in digital audio production and how to record, mix and transmit live and studio sounds. Many audio production programs will include a video production component or focus on music, which will allow students to concentrate in a certain area. For example, a program that focuses on music audio production will teach students about musical composition and distribution, while an audio/visual production program will include camera and editing courses.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Work in a creative field
  • Opportunity to see live events
  • Ready for job after graduation

Cons

  • Need to stay up-to-date in latest technological developments
  • Will need to work in all types of weather conditions
  • Evening and weekend work may be required

Courses and Requirements

In addition to taking courses related to audio production, students will have to complete general education requirements in English, humanities, mathematics and psychology. Core courses cover topics in studio music recording, sound design, aural perception and audio mixing techniques. Students who want to focus their careers in music can take courses in music fundamentals, composition, vocal production techniques, and room acoustics. Audio and visual courses include visual effects, digital photography, video editing, and digital production.

Online Course Options

Students who have personal or professional obligations that prevent them from attending courses on-campus can find online course options related to audio production. Distance learning programs will cover the same topics as on-campus programs and will prepare students for careers in the field. All online assignments can be completed over the Internet, and students will communicate with professors and peers through discussion boards and e-mail.

Standing Out With This Degree

While graduates can earn advancement opportunities after obtaining experience in the field, you can also improve your chances of employment by gaining specific skills in the field. Because sound technicians may work with several other professionals, you need to have strong communication skills to ensure that all parts are working properly. Having technical skills is very important, and technicians must be good with their hands and be able to lift and connect equipment; this may require a certain level of physical strength and ability to bend and crouch in certain positions.

Bachelor's in Audio Production

A bachelor's degree in the field may offer students an opportunity to learn about both the musical and video production aspects of audio production. Students will obtain both technical and artistic skills through classes and practical experience. In fact, some programs may require that students complete an internship at a recording studio, production house, or broadcast company. The program will focus on areas involving communication in the field, critical thinking, listening, and audio aesthetics. While graduates will be eligible for entry-level positions in the field, having a bachelor's degree may qualify individuals for management positions or producer roles.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Management opportunities available
  • Gain additional skills in the field
  • Internship may lead to career opportunities

Cons

  • Compete for entry-level jobs with associate's degree graduates
  • Experience is preferred over education
  • Job may be stressful if equipment is malfunctioning

Courses and Requirements

Courses in an audio production bachelor's degree program are going to cover a wide variety of topics. In addition to general education requirements, students will teach basic and advanced audio production courses. Audio production courses will focus on areas involving digital audio, multitrack recording, audio mixing, location recording, sound system design, and audio facility management. Elective possibilities include interactive media, video production, jingles, broadcast writing, and telecommunications.

Online Course Options

Online bachelor's degree programs related to audio production are available online. In addition to a computer with high-speed Internet access, students will need to have certain technical requirements, including speakers, a keyboard, software programs, and microphones. Professors will educate students through online tutorials, reading assignments, video lectures, and recordings.

How to Stand Out With This Degree

With the additional training you will gain in a bachelor's degree program, you will have a diverse skill set that may set you apart from the competition. Having strong leadership and communication skills can qualify you for producer and manager-related roles, which will allow you to oversee the work of technicians and make decisions.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • A.S. General Studies - Communications
      • A.S. General Studies - Communications
  • Silver City, NM

    Western New Mexico University

  • Farmington, CT

    Tunxis Community College

  • Tulsa, OK

    Tulsa Community College

  • Chicago, IL

    Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy

  • Dryden, NY

    Tompkins Cortland Community College

  • Saint Cloud, MN

    St Cloud Technical and Community College

  • South Portland, ME

    Southern Maine Community College

  • Indianapolis, IN

    Indiana University

  • Dayton, OH

    Sinclair Community College

Featured Schools

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • A.S. General Studies - Communications

What is your highest level of education?

Western New Mexico University

Tunxis Community College

Tulsa Community College

Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy

Tompkins Cortland Community College

St Cloud Technical and Community College

Southern Maine Community College