What does a sound engineer do?
Sound engineers control machines and equipment to record, reproduce, mix, and synchronize voices, music, and sound effects for a variety of venues. They set, adjust, and test the equipment for recording sessions and live performances. They also control and regulate the quality of sound and level of volume. They constantly test equipment to make sure it is working correctly. They also troubleshoot problems and perform basic maintenance and repairs on equipment. Sound engineers perform editing tasks to achieve the desired sound. They use a variety of equipment such as mixing boards, soundboards, computer based recording software, and recording equipment. They often collaborate with performers and producers to create goals of production and evaluate the results.
What kind of training does a sound engineer need?
Sound engineers must have at least a high school diploma, but most employers prefer candidates with formal postsecondary training. Many have a bachelor degree in audio engineering, sound technology, or other related field. Prospective sound engineers typically complete courses in electronics, physics, music technology, audio engineering, and communications. Many aspiring sound engineers complete internships or obtain part-time jobs with radio stations to gain practical experience in the field. Some sound engineers begin their careers as runners in recording studios and they move on the engineering positions as they gain the necessary skills and experience. Many sound engineers gain professional certifications from organizations such as the Association of Professional Recording Services (APRS) to remain competitive in the field. Sound engineers usually complete regular continuing education throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast with advancements in the field.
What are the prospects for a career as a sound engineer?
Employment of sound engineers is expected to grow slower than average for all professions, increasing 6% from 2008 to 2018 (1).
Job prospects are expected to be good with keen competition for jobs in major cities. Sound engineers with advanced training and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities.
How much do sound engineers make?
As of January 2010, the average annual salary for sound engineers is $68,000; average annual sound engineer salaries vary greatly by location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as a sound engineer is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in audio engineering and performing a variety of tasks to ensure high quality sound for performances and events. Sound engineers must have a solid understanding of sound engineering techniques and recording technology. Good listening skills, constant attention, detail orientation, and ability to focus on one sound source and tune out all others are necessary characteristics. Sound engineers must be able to precisely perform adjustments to create the desired sound effect.