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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Degree in Audio Production

Majors Overview February 12, 2015

Those interested in careers as recording engineers and audio production engineers for television, radio, film, and music should look into bachelor’s degree programs in sound recording. Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Recording Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Audio Production programs are the most common.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Degree Programs in Audio Production

Individuals interested in singing, instrumental recording, or music technology careers can pursue a recording arts degree program. Those that wish to pursue a sound recording career would benefit more by earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree in Audio Production. Students enrolled in the program can expect to become adept at recording, mixing, and mastering sound for film, video, and digital sound production.

Apart from the technical aspects of sound recording, musical theory, and history are also taught in the program, in addition to an overview of the recording industry. Coursework combines classroom instruction with studio experiences. Programs either require students to participate in an internship at a music label, radio station, or recording studio or encourage them to complete such programs before they complete the degree program.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria within a four-year bachelor’s degree program in audio and sound recording typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma, in addition to possessing an interest in sound and music.

However, transfer students from two-year community colleges are also accepted in some schools; these candidates, who are expected to have a background in audio recording or sound technology, can complete the program within two years.

Coursework

Coursework has a focus on the technical aspects of engineering and recording of sound and music. Some general education as well as theoretical and historical courses are also required. Core coursework may include these subject areas:

•Intro to the music business
•Surround sound recording
•Studio design and maintenance
•Music composition and songwriting
•Audio recording techniques
•Digital audio workstation
•Music concepts
•Sound dynamics
•Digital composition

Career Choices

Graduates of a bachelor’s degree program may need to compete for diverse positions in the music and audio recording industry:

•Music producer
•Mastering engineer
•Music editor
•Sound effects editor
•Recording engineer
•Recording studio technician
•Sound engineer
•Production recorder
•Audio studio designer

Job and Wage Outlook

In May 2012, technicians employed in the sound recording industry banked an average annual salary of $45,340 (or $21.80 hourly), while sound engineering technicians took home an average annual wage of $41,200 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). A job growth rate of nine percent has been predicted for broadcast and sound engineering technicians over the 2012 – 2022 decade, while over the same period, audio and video equipment technicians are expected to enjoy a job growth rate of thirteen percent (BLS).

Continuing Education Options

Graduates from a bachelor’s degree program in audio recording may opt for continuing education by earning a master’s degree in recording arts and technologies and thereby seek advanced recording arts management careers. Coursework covers potential future trends in the industry, digital sound manipulation, research in recording arts, and emerging technologies, among other topic areas.

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