Audio engineers, also referred to as sound technicians, are responsible for handling the technical aspects of recording, mixing and producing sound for various media outlets.

They can find employment in the motion picture and video industry, radio and television and the performing arts. The industry which employs the greatest number of audio engineers is the film and music business. Those who work in this field earn the second-highest salaries in the audio engineering field.

In addition to the technical aspects of the career, audio engineers also are responsible for maintaining – and sometimes repairing – equipment used for audio mixing and production.

Staying abreast of the current trends in technology is required for all audio engineers if they wish to remain competitive in the field. Being able to provide quality sound that will be compatible with all electronic devices – including personal electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets – is an ongoing educational requirement for audio engineers.


The level of education required to work in the field of audio engineering is dependent on the specific area of the industry in which employment is being sought.

There are entry-level positions which require nothing more than a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate in order to be hired. Some employers are willing to provide training to candidates without a secondary education. However, those who do not possess an advanced degree will earn a lower wage and have fewer opportunities available to them.

An associate or bachelor degree program in audio engineering will provide better career opportunities as well as higher starting wages.

Regardless of whether the program is being offered online or in a traditional setting, prospective students should make sure the coursework includes training in the operation and design of audio recording devices, an overview of the equipment commonly used in the industry and sound reinforcement.

The right kinds of courses are important in educating future audio engineers; however, on-the-job experience also is vital. Most top-rated audio engineering schools will provide internship or mentoring opportunities for their students, which involves placement with a professional working in the industry. These kinds of programs allow students to gain the hands-on experience that will make them more valuable candidates during their job search.

Candidates also should check to see if the program of their choice has received accreditation from a reputable agency. Three of the agencies which commonly accredit audio engineering programs are the U.S. Bureau of Accrediting Schools, the National Private Schools Accreditation Alliance and the National Association of Music Education.

Future Outlook

Roughly 15,000 audio engineers were working in the United States as of March 2012, according to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The average hourly wage for those working in the industry is $26.98, which equates to $56,110 annually. Wage increases for this career field increase an average of 2.5 percent per year.

Working for architects and engineers garnered the highest wages, with an annual salary of $80,800. The film and music industry is a close second for audio engineers at $73,470 annually.

The best states in which to live if pursuing an audio engineering career include Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, New York, Washington, D.C., Minnesota, Arizona and Oregon.

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