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How do I Choose an Audio Engineering School?

N.M. Shanley
N.M. Shanley

To choose an audio engineering school, consider how much it costs, how much time can be spent in school each day, and where the school is located. A school’s reputation and history of job placement assistance are also important. Visiting different schools and sitting in, or auditing, a few class sessions can also help someone to choose an audio engineering school.

Audio engineering can be studied at traditional colleges, online and at technical, or trade, schools. Some trade schools focus only on audio engineering. Costs can vary based on the type of school attended. School costs typically include tuition, other fees, books, and equipment.

Man with a backpack
Man with a backpack

Class availability also varies by school. Traditional colleges may only have a few audio engineering classes each semester. A two or four-year college will often also require other general coursework, not related to audio engineering. Most colleges usually offer full-time and part-time options. If a student needs to work and study at the same time, a part-time schedule may be the best choice to accommodate his or her needs.

Trade schools that focus only on audio engineering may offer a degree or a completion certificate. Most often, coursework is focused on audio engineering only. If working as an audio engineer is a primary career choice, a trade school education may be the best option. Full-time or part-time enrollment is usually available at these technical schools.

Visits to trade schools and colleges can help a student choose which educational option is best. It is usually best to select an audio engineering school that offers interesting classes and is located in a desired area. If it is possible to audit a few class sessions, a student may want to do so, so that he or she can meet some of the teachers and ensure that the school’s audio equipment is up to date. The cost of a vocational school vs. a traditional college, as well as the amount of hands-on experience each school offers, can vary depending on the program.

An online school can save money, since studies are completed at home. These classes are usually limited to audio engineering theory, however. A student enrolled in these types of courses must be able to work independently and stay motivated. Lab work in an actual studio at a school may be preferable for those who want to get a job quickly after graduation. One compromise to save some money may be to take some online classes to supplement other courses taken at a traditional school.

Depending on the type of audio engineering school selected, living arrangements may add to the total cost of an education. Students who plan to live at school should factor in rates for an on-campus room or off-campus apartment. In addition to rent, a student who lives in an apartment should also consider related expenses, such as utility bills, including those for phone and Internet access, and food. Commuter students, who live at home and travel to school each day, should also consider related expenses, such as car insurance, fuel, tolls or fares, in order to calculate the total school costs.

The reputation of an audio engineering school can also help a student decide which school to choose. Schools that are accredited have typically met criteria set by educational or professional organizations. Students may want to check online to read others' comments on or reviews of specific schools.

Whether or not the school assists students in finding internships and jobs is also important. Internships can help provide on-the-job experience before graduation, and can lead to job offers after a student finishes training. Some schools also assist students and graduates with job placement in the industry.

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