How Do I Become a Sound Engineer?

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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 30 December 2018
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The process to become a sound engineer can include a mixture of formal education and experience, and often differs depending on the type of work you want to eventually do. One option is to obtain a four year audio engineering degree, though you may also explore two year programs available at local vocational schools and community colleges. If you choose to obtain a degree or certificate, you should typically try to also find an internship or some other practical experience that will help you learn how to become a sound engineer. Another option is to obtain practical experience by shadowing a working engineer on the job because live venues are often more concerned with experience than any post-secondary degrees or certificates. If you only obtain practical experience, you may also consider purchasing recording equipment and setting up your own studio.

One path to become a sound engineer begins with a formal education. If you intend on obtaining a four year degree, audio engineering is the program focus you should look for. Another option is to find a community college or vocational school that offers a two year certificate program or associate's degree in sound technology or audio engineering. A degree can be helpful to have on your resume when looking for work, but is not necessarily required. During your education, you should also look for internships or other unpaid opportunities at live venues or recording studios.


Another way to become a sound engineer is to obtain the requisite experience without any post-secondary education. One way to accomplish this is to visit local venues and speak to people in sound departments. If you can shadow a sound engineer as he goes about his work, you may be able to learn how to operate the necessary equipment and perform the job yourself. This type of experience can lead to work in sound engineering if you can successfully demonstrate your proficiency.

After you have the necessary knowledge and experience, you may want to obtain various professional certifications. The Association of Professional Recording Services (APRS) and other organizations offer certifications that are not usually necessary to become a sound engineer, though they can help show that you are well qualified. As with education and experience, certifications can be attractive to potential employers. It can also be helpful to either attend continuing education classes or study on your own to keep abreast of new developments in the field.



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