Updated on Tuesday 19 March 2013
International students interested in pursuing a career in recording engineering will first need to learn the basics of the field. An undergraduate degree in recording engineering is the best way to get a foot in the door. Students who choose a recording engineering major have a number of types of programs from which to choose.
International students who wish to earn an undergraduate degree in recording engineering can choose between a number of different types of degrees. Students can choose to pursue either an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree. An associate's degree takes two years to complete, and prepares students for entry-level positions at small television stations, university media centers or in the performing arts. A bachelor's degree takes four years to complete, and provides a more in-depth education in sound design and technical engineering. Online courses are rare, as the training involves usage of specific technical equipment, as well as team-based production projects, and it is difficult to get the hands-on experience necessary through online courses. Such courses do exist, and are generally available through for-profit schools.
International students interested in a recording engineering major can choose to earn a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Music in Recording Engineering. Recording engineering majors may be referred to by different names, such as recording arts, recording arts technology, or music technology. The most common programs for an undergraduate degree in recording engineering are a Bachelor of Arts in Recording Arts, Bachelor of Science in Audio Engineering or Bachelor of Science in Audio Recording. Some schools incorporate this training in a business degree program focusing on the music industry.
Coursework involved in an undergraduate degree in recording engineering will vary according to the program. Some programs combine artistic musical training with technical recording training. International students pursuing a recording engineering major can expect coursework focusing on noise control, acoustics design, and music theory. Recording engineering programs will teach students to work with audio equipment, such as audio mixing boards, digital audio workstations, analog tape machines and outboard effects processors. Students will also learn how to produce, direct and record music or other audio effects for record labels, film production companies and television broadcasts. Students studying for an undergraduate degree in recording engineering can expect to study production budgeting, multi-track studio recording strategies, mixing techniques, and remote location audio recording. Some programs offer specializations in digital recording arts, computer music, performance and composition. Many degree programs require courses on music, music theory, history, and composition. These courses help students develop an understanding of how songs are produced and what is necessary to a successful musical performance. Students will also learn about specific genres of music.
Recording engineering majors have a number of careers available to them following graduation. They may pursue careers in recording studios as recording engineers, mixing engineers, mastering engineers and assistant recording engineers. Others may be more interested in jobs with radio stations, television production studios, theater companies, amusement parks, government agencies and other venues. Some may even find themselves touring with bands and theater performances. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment of broadcast and sound engineering technicians as a group will increase 10% over the 2010-2020 decade. This is about average. The BLS reports that audio equipment technicians made a median wage of $40,540 USD as of May 2010, with half of all workers making $30,200-$56,030 per year. During the same time, sound engineering technicians earned a median salary of $47,080. The middle half of these professionals made $31,790-$65,590 annually. International students who are interested in a career in recording engineering should seriously consider beginning with an undergraduate degree in the field, as it is a competitive market and in order to gain employment, it is vital to obtain the appropriate level of experience and prove one's technical skills.