Audio Visual Degrees: Associate, Bachelor's & Online Class Info

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What will you learn in an audio-visual degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of an associate's and bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Studying Audio Visual Technology: Degrees at a Glance

The broadness of the audio-visual field provides a number of occupations in broadcasting, film, entertainment and other media. Professionals in the industry work across an expansive range of occupations, including equipment installation, sound design, illustration and multimedia development. Schools usually offer audio-visual programs through a college of technology or television and film.

The associate's degree program prepares you for entry-level positions in broadcasting or technology. The bachelor's degree can take your education further and provide the foundation for a career track in film or video editing, multimedia, production or entertainment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that personnel in several occupations could expect slower than average (4%-8%) to about as fast as average (ten percent) job growth over the 2010-2020 decade (www.bls.gov).

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this Degree for? Individuals interested in entry-level audio-visual engineering or technician opportunities People who want to work in the broadcasting, game design or production industries as editors or multimedia designers
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Broadcast technician ($42,000)*
- Audio-visual and multimedia collection specialist ($47,000)*
- Sound engineering technician ($56,000)*
- Film and video editor ($67,000)*
- Multimedia artist or animator ($68,000)*
Time to Completion Two years full-time Four years full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 60 credits
- Internship
- Roughly 120 credits in general education, core and advanced topics courses
- Portfolio, depending on the major
- Internship or practicum, depending on the major
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent
Online Availability Dependent on field of study Dependent on field of study

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

Associate's in Audio-Visual Technology

The associate's degree provides a mix of technical, general education and business coursework. Programs provide a foundation in audio and video production, concepts and management. You learn how to work with industry tools through a practical approach to theoretical concepts. The associate's degree will prepare you for work as a broadcast technician, sound engineer or audio-visual collections specialist. The BLS reveals that broadcasting careers in the industry may experience slow growth due to computer controls as a replacement of programming techniques.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Employers may prefer those with an associate's degree over those without postsecondary education
  • Short program length can prepare you to enter the field or advance quickly
  • Some programs offer opportunities to gain experience, which is important to employers

Cons

  • Some opportunities are experiencing little to no change in employment (one percent growth for sound engineering technicians)*
  • Some multimedia artist, broadcast engineering and sound engineering careers do not require a degree
  • Artistic or creative opportunities may require a bachelor's degree and a strong portfolio

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2020 job growth projections).

Courses and Requirements

The associate's degree program offers a well-rounded education through courses in video and sound, communications, technology and business. You learn to solve problems through the application of audio and video techniques. Following are some common courses:

  • Video production
  • Studio recording
  • Computer editing
  • Radio production
  • Video editing
  • Lighting
  • Audio production

Online Degree Info

Fully-online associate's degree programs in audio-visual technology are rare, although you may find an online program in music technology. You may find hybrid programs, combining online learning with classroom work, in multimedia technology.

Stand Out with This Degree

Experience plays an important role in securing employment opportunities. Pursuing an internship during your studies boosts your marketability and provides the required skills to enter the field. If you pursue a creative or artistic degree, developing a strong portfolio through projects and other campus-based experiences, such as audio-visual clubs or projects, will demonstrate your talent and technical abilities. In addition, selecting an appropriate certification program, such as the credentials offered by the Society of Broadcast Engineers, demonstrates your understanding of the profession to potential employers.

Bachelor's in Audio-Visual Communication

Universities often offer bachelor's degree programs in audio-visual communication through a college of television and film or performing arts. The program may be called audio-visual communication, sound design or visual effects, and some programs allow you to minor in either sound or visual communication. The program prepares you for a career in the video gaming, music or production industries.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Employers are looking for candidates with a bachelor's degree in a related discipline
  • Programs offer internships or projects that can provide experience and material for a portfolio
  • Competitive salaries are available to those with the appropriate experience

Cons

  • Jobs with larger firms typically require years of experience in addition to formal training
  • Large broadcasting stations prefer to hire those with very specialized skills
  • Online degree options may be limited or non-existent depending on your selected field of study

Courses and Requirements

The bachelor's degree program combines training in important technical skills with the theory and aesthetics of audio and visual communication. The sound design program offers courses in synthesizing sound, designing sound for radio, sound art, sound technologies and audio programming. The visual effects programs offer courses in visual effects programming, compositing, concept development and digital visual effects. These programs integrate media, audio and video production and general education courses and prepare you for work in broadcasting.

Online Degree Info

As with an associate's degree program, locating an audio-visual bachelor's degree program online depends on your education goal. For example, audio-visual courses under a mass communications degree may be easier to find than those offered through a sound design program. Generally, the more hands-on the field of study, the less likely it is that a complete online experience is available. In addition, you may need access to specific hardware and software to complete your online education.

Stand Out with This Degree

In addition to seeking an appropriate certification - such as that offered by InfoComm International and the Society of Broadcast Engineers - taking advantage of capstone projects, apprenticeships or internships provides real-world experience and material for a professional portfolio, if required. Your school may offer opportunities to design audio and video for theatrical presentations, business students or other events. Choosing a specialization and enhancing your understanding of industry-standard equipment and technologies gives you an edge.

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Audio Production
      • B.S. - Digital Cinematography
      • B.S. - Media Communications
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Advertising and Public Relations
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Rhetoric and Public Culture
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Strategic Communication
      • Bachelor of Arts in English - Communication
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Communication Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS Human Communications
      • B.S. General Studies - Communication
      • B.S. Communications
  • Stanford, CA

    Stanford University

  • Cambridge, MA

    Harvard University

  • New Castle, DE

    Wilmington University

  • Philadelphia, PA

    University of Pennsylvania

  • Durham, NC

    Duke University

  • Notre Dame, IN

    University of Notre Dame

Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • BS - Audio Production
  • B.S. - Digital Cinematography
  • B.S. - Media Communications

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Communication

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Advertising and Public Relations
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Rhetoric and Public Culture

What is your highest level of education completed?

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • BS Human Communications
  • B.S. General Studies - Communication
  • B.S. Communications

What is your highest level of education?

Wilmington University