How to Become a Recording Engineer

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Recording is an essential part of commercial production of performances for entertainment and educational purposes. Recording engineers are trained professionals that perform a variety of tasks to optimally record sound for many different purposes.


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In 2015, I said goodbye to 16-hour days and hauling boxes up and down stairs for a living (I was a mover). I became a full-time entrepreneur, and I made my money by helping business owners make money.

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What does a recording engineer do?

Recording engineers operate and maintain many different types of sound and video recording equipment to capture and create a desired sound. They typically record all types of sounds into a mixer to produce the best result. During performances, recording engineers typically place microphones in strategic locations to capture the best possible sound. Many recording engineers operate special equipment that is designed to produce special effects such as a police siren or the sound of lightening crashing. Some recording engineers also create recordings to incorporate technical sound and creative concepts into songs and albums for singers.

What kind of training does a recording engineer need?

Recording engineers typically need at least a high school diploma and a broad knowledge of instruments and audio and vocal software. Many recording engineers gain formal training from vocational and technical schools, community colleges, or recording schools. Prospective recording engineers typically complete courses in audio recording, audio equipment, electronics, and electrical engineering. Many aspiring recording engineers complete internships or work part-time at recording studios while pursuing their education to gain practical experience in the field. Many recording engineers obtain professional certification from the Society of Broadcast Engineers to remain competitive in the field. Certification requirements usually include minimum experience and passing a written examination. Recording engineers must complete regular continuing education to maintain their certification, keep their skills up to date, and stay abreast with emerging technologies.

What are the prospects for a career as a recording engineer?

Employment of recording engineers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 8% from 2008 to 2018 (1).

Job prospects are expected to be good with keen competition in major cities. Recording engineers with extensive experience and seeking employment in smaller cities and towns will have the best job opportunities.

How much do recording engineers make?

As of January 2010, recording engineers with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $23,165 and $36,625. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $26,059 and $61,042 (2).

A career as a recording engineer is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in producing a variety of sounds for many different recording purposes. Recording engineers must have a solid understanding of how to use many different types of audio and video equipment and how to produce a variety of sound effects. Manual dexterity, electrical aptitude, detail orientation, and good problem solving skills are essential characteristics. Recording engineers must have excellent communication and the ability to work with a variety of individuals. They must be able to make effective aesthetic decisions and use a variety of techniques to produce the desired sound.

Joshua T Osborne

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