Audio engineers are also known as sound technicians. They may work for radio or television broadcasts, film or video recording companies, or in the field of entertainment. They set up audio equipment, such as microphones and speakers. Audio engineers are responsible for ensuring all equipment is working properly prior to a broadcast or event. They monitor the equipment during the broadcast or event to ensure that there is no feedback and that the sound levels are ideal. Audio engineers may also be responsible for performing repairs as needed when there is a problem with the sound equipment.
Here we look at the steps to take if you want a career as an audio engineer. We give you the facts about education requirements, employment outlook and salary information for you to decide whether this is the right career for you.
A degree or diploma is required for this post, either in audio engineering or production. As competition is so high for places, an internship or apprenticeship may be on of the most important steps you take to becoming an audio engineer.
In January 2017, the median average salary for a Sound Engineer was £23,598 per year, with pay ranging from £18,112 to £42,781.
Research audio engineering duties and education
The first of all steps to becoming an audio engineers is to fully understand the duties of the role. Audio engineers are responsible for producing quality sound at live performances, in recording studios and through other mediums such as radio and podcasts. As an audio engineer one of your main duties are balancing the sound of all audio equipment plugged in during a performance, such as microphones, amplifiers, speakers and PA systems. As an audio engineer, you must be technically capable with both analogue and digital equipment and must work with to the highest level of precision. To become a professional, you will usually first need to attain a diploma or bachelor’s degree in the field.
Prepare for an audio engineering education whilst at school
If you want to pursue a career in audio engineering you can improve your chances of getting accepted on a course by taking courses whilst at school in electronics, computers and physics. Gaining experience with your school’s music or theatre department, working behind the scenes on sound, video or lighting will be one of the significant steps you can take to improve your chances of successfully gaining a place on an audio engineering course.
Complete a Diploma or Bachelor’s degree course
As an aspiring audio engineer, you need to apply for a Diploma or Bachelor’s degree course in audio engineering or production. On these courses you can expect to learn about connecting cables, operating a mixing board, mixing music and sound effects, placing microphones, troubleshooting sound problems, mastering techniques and much more. A lot of sound design is created digitally using computers, therefore, you will also need to master various audio software programs.
Complete an internship
As a future audio engineer, you can learn more about audio engineering concepts while working for free at a recording studio, music venue or a radio station. This is the most highly recommended of all the steps suggested, enabling you gain hands-on experience in a competitive field, which will make you more marketable to potential employers. It may be possible to arrange an internship or apprenticeship through placement programs at the college or university where you hope to obtain your degree.
Find a job as an audio engineer
As an audio engineer you should be able to find work at various companies including recording studios, sporting venues, theatres, film sets and music video shoots. The number of jobs available in the field of sound engineering for technicians is predicted to increase over the next decade. When seeking employment, network through the professional associations in the UK, including The Audio Engineering Society, the foremost international organisation dedicated to the increasingly wide field of audio engineering and the Institute of Sound & Communications Engineers Ltd (ISCE), a professional organisation for those working in the public address, voice alarm, sound system, hearing loop systems, audio-video, intercoms, acoustics, or any other such sector in the sound and communications industry.
Related Alternative Careers
Film and video editors and camera operators are also involved in using equipment to record or broadcast events or information. They work with visual and audio equipment, and are required to have a bachelor’s degree. Electrical and electronics installers and repairers do not need a degree to perform repairs on electronic equipment. This is similar to the role of an audio engineer, because audio engineers may have to repair the equipment they use. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians need a Diploma for their work helping to design electronic equipment that may be used by audio engineers.