Sound Engineer Audio

Top 13 Audio Engineering Schools for 2022

Audio engineering schools are havens for anyone excited by learning the ins and outs about the technology of sound. If you’re curious or have a desire to make a career out of audio production, read on. 

Enrolling in the right program at a strong audio engineering school is one of the best ways to gain a diverse set of skills that will help you make it in the audio production industry.

Aside from giving students access to professional equipment, they provide the ideal setting to network with classmates and instructors—connections you can later leverage when entering the workforce.  

Every program has its unique elements, can range in complexity, and will result in different credentials upon graduation.

These schools made our Top Schools of 2022 List for many different reasons:

13 Audio Engineering schools pinpoint placed on a grey map of north america

JUMP TO SECTION:

Top Audio Engineering Schools with certificate programs:

  • Fanshawe College
  • University of Washington
  • Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music 

Top Audio Engineering Schools with diploma programs:

  • Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology
  • Vancouver Film School
  • Recording Arts Canada
  • Metalworks Institute

Top Audio Engineering Schools with degree programs:

  • Full Sail University
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Berklee College of Music
  • Art Institute of Atlanta
  • Los Angeles Recording School
  • Media Tech Dallas
  • Middle Tennessee State University

How to Choose the Right Audio Engineering School

Choosing a career in audio engineering is a big decision that, more than anything, needs to be made based on what is right for you. The decision goes beyond choosing a school—you should also consider the demand for audio engineering jobs and the process involved in becoming an audio engineer. We’ve answered these questions for you to help you weigh out your options.

JUMP TO SECTION:

Is there a high demand for audio engineers? 

How do I become an audio engineer?

How long is audio engineering school?

Why should I go to audio engineering school?

What are the best audio engineering schools in 2022?

Is There a High Demand for Audio Engineers? 

Despite the Covid 19 pandemic hampering live events,  many audio engineers are talking at length about how the pandemic has created the busiest year of work for them yet! 

Michael Elliott from the Dark Horse Institute writes: 

“With no shows on the books, artists have had an entire year to create. With many artists writing and producing more songs than ever, audio engineers have been busier than ever. Many of my peers who are audio engineers around the Nashville area have had one of their busiest years since they’ve entered the business.”

Haley Zaremba, writer for Majoring in Music, writes:

“Covid has not changed the art of audio production. Instead, it has accelerated a process that has already been in place for years. In this sense, COVID-19 is not necessarily a tragic disruption of the audio school curriculum, but rather an essential and overdue opportunity to reshape the way we teach and learn audio production for a modern world that requires flexibility over all else.”

Beyond the conversations buzzing on the ground floor, the American Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 21% projected increase between 2020 and 2030 in the production industries including audio engineering, broadcast, and video production. 

These first hand reports contain a collective sigh of relief for existing audio engineers, and the BLS data acts as a beacon of hope for future audio enthusiasts looking to pursue a career in this industry. It means that, yes, these jobs are in high demand. 

How Do I Become an Audio Engineer?

Above all else, experience means the most. Becoming an audio engineer, then, means gaining experience with as many components of the production process as you can.

To help yourself understand how best to become an audio engineer, spend some time reviewing as many job postings as possible to get a feel for what proficiencies are expected of audio engineers. 

We reviewed over 100 job postings and learned there is something unique about career paths in audio engineering.

Employers from the USA and Canada tend to be very descriptive about the programs and skills they wish to find in their audio engineering employees. But when it comes to education, many job postings speak very broadly about it, especially at the entry to mid-seniority level. The majority state that “equivalent experience” will satisfy the job requirements without any formal or specific post secondary education. 

Of course, there are more advanced positions that do require traditional education credentials. Those job listings often ask for ‘formal education in sound or related fields,’ allowing for ample wiggle room to make any traditional education in audio engineering applicable to these job opportunities. Examples would be audio mix engineers or audio mastering engineers. Good news, yes?

One thing many positions have in common is the need for other certifications with or without a traditional post secondary education. These certificates can include:

  • PSAV technician certificates (very commonly requested, and employers often provide grace periods to complete trainings after employment has started)
  • ‘Working at heights’ certifications (related to live event audio set-ups, but we still saw this request and requests for scissor lift certifications as well)
  • Valid Driver’s licences 

Why Go to Audio Engineering School?

While you can get in the door with the right mix of experience and knowledge of programs without any post secondary education, it’s difficult to find that knowledge outside of that education. 

At the heart of what these certificate, diploma, and degree programs offer you is a chance to gain that experience and build portfolios along with connections for a successful future upon graduation. 

How Long is Audio Engineering School?

As you’ll see below, each program has its own duration. Of course, the longer programs are likely to result in degree-level credentials. As we mentioned above, very often, the credential itself isn’t what matters, it’s the experience you get with the technology, equipment, and people that will make you a stellar candidate for audio engineering positions after graduation. 

Notice that tuition ranges drastically from one program to another. While we’ve stressed the reality that any credential will be more than enough to get you into the jobs you want, the programs below truly provide a learning experience and environment that will become an invaluable asset for your future career growth. Get your notepad ready…

What Are The Best Audio Engineering Schools for 2022?

Our watchlist is a mix of certificate, diploma, and degree programs as we understand (from our review of job postings) that certificate programs can be just as impactful as a BSc. 

3 Audio Engineering School Certificate Programs to Consider:

Fanshawe College 

Location: London, Ontario
Program Length: 1 year
Degree: Ontario College Graduate Certificate in Audio Post-Production
Tuition: $7,226 CAD

Overview: Fanshawe College’s Audio Post-Production program is a highly specialized, advanced program in the theory and practice of all phases of producing creative sound for film, television, gaming, web animations, live audio, video, and all new media forms. Concept building is emphasized through various means: audio production and surround sound design and mixing, field recording, ADR, Foley, live sound, and game sound techniques. (Source: Fanshawe College)

Sample Curriculum: Multi-leveled courses that cover Audio Post-Production Theory, Practical, and Lab.

Famous Alumni: Musicians Les Stroud, Emm Gryner, William Peter Randall, Trevor Morris, and radio hosts Ted Roop and Greg Brady all attended Fanshawe College. 

Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music 

Location: Los Angeles, California
Program Length: 1 year
Degree: Certificate in Audio Engineering
Tuition: $16,350 USD

Overview: As an MI Audio Engineering major, you’ll learn how to function in today’s professional audio production environments – recording studios, venues, post production houses and/or film houses, a valuable experience provided by our audio engineering school. (Source: MI College of Contemporary Music)

MI also offers non-certificate programs that bolster students’ experience with more granular focuses on particular areas of interest within the recording industry.

Sample Curriculum: Recording Techniques, Recording Theory, The Business of Audio, Musicianship for Audio Engineers, Mixing Essentials, Vocal Production

Famous Alumni: Anderson .Paak, Bishop Briggs, and Mark MacKay—to name a few. Explore more MI College of Contemporary Music success stories here.

University of Washington 

Location: Seattle, Washington
Program Length: 8 months
Degree: Certificate in Audio Production Techniques
Tuition: $5,787 USD

Overview: In the University of Washington’s three-course certificate program, students explore the technical principles and creative skills required to complete professional sound projects. You’ll study the basics of editing, mixing, storage media, and the mastering process. You’ll get experience with acoustics, microphones, and analog and digital recording, and you’ll apply your knowledge to create a pro-quality audio project for music or film. (Source: University of Washington)

Sample Curriculum: Principles of Audio Production, Audio Production Project: Music, Audio Production Project: Video

Famous Alumni: Watch a University of Washington alum recount his experience in the Audio Production program here.

4 Audio Engineering Schools With Diploma Programs We Recommend:

Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology (OIART)

Location: London, Ontario
Program Length: 11 months 
Degree: Diploma in Audio Recording Technology
Tuition: $32,950 CAD

Overview: The Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology’s program is the only program of its kind that prepares students to enter any field in the audio industry. With only one program and one start date per year, OIART provides an intensive educational experience consisting of 650+ hours of hands-on training and 650+ hours of in-studio class time. The school is known for its high completion rate. (Source: OIART)

Sample Curriculum: The school offers distinct creative paths that lead to careers in Music Production, Live Sound & Event Production, and Audio for Visual Media. There are courses that span almost every aspect of the audio production and music industries, including Music Production, Music Theory, Audio for Video Games, Sound Design, Lighting Design, Acoustics, Modern Recording Techniques, and more. 

Famous Alumni: Audio engineers who are graduates include Dan Brodbeck (known for working with Dolores O’Riordan and The Cranberries), Rob Nokes (founder of Sounddogs.com), Matty Green (LA-based recording engineer and mixer who has worked with Ed Sheeran), Ryan Castle (known for work with Sheryl Crow), Wayne Lemmer (sound designer with credits on Kung Fu Panda and Transformers), and Voices Founder and CEO David Ciccarelli. 

Vancouver Film School

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Program Length: 1 year
Degree: Diploma in Sound Design for Visual Media
Tuition: $28,950 CAD

Overview: Discover professional-level sound design techniques in a demanding production environment that closely echoes the industry. Grads of Vancouver Film School’s Diploma in Sound Design for Visual Media program are some of the most successful and sought-after professionals in the entire Sound Design industry. (Vancouver Film School)

This school also provides access to pathways for further education overseas in Germany and the UK to achieve Bachelor degrees in screen and digital productions and Masters degrees in audio visual production.

Sample Curriculum: Production Sound Mixing, Game Collab. Project, Intro to Professional Skills

Famous Alumni: Graduates from Vancouver Film School’s Sound Design for Visual Media program have worked on a number of recent high-profile movies and video games, including Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, Dead Rising 4, and League of Legends.

Recording Arts Canada

Location: Montreal, Quebec or Toronto, Ontario
Program Length: 1 year
Degree: Sound & Music Production 
Tuition: $18,455 CAD

Overview: Guided by a Grammy-winning producer, Recording Arts Canada offers sound and music production training in world-class facilities. Their Sound and Music Production program combines essential theory, vital hands-on training, and career support so students can start landing professional opportunities within a year. (Recording Arts Canada)

The most unique offering coming from this school is their 880+ hours of specialized training during this one-year course. According to them, this number is double that seen in other equivalent diploma programs. 

Sample Curriculum: Audio Consoles, Electronics & Technology, Aesthetics of Music, Studio Production Techniques

Famous Alumni: Recording Arts Canada alumni have worked with Drake, Shawn Mendes, Rihanna, and Justin Bieber. Check out the stories of alumni working in the industry here

Metalworks Institute

Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Program Length: 1 year
Degree: Diploma in Audio Production & Engineering
Tuition: For information on tuition, email [email protected]

Overview: The Audio Production & Engineering Diploma program incorporates the progressive recording and production skill-sets required to succeed in today’s high-tech audio recording environments. From music creation to music production, this program has been designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the evolving world of recording, including both large-format recording and ‘in the box’ technologies. (Metalworks Institute)

Metalworks also offers pathways to a Bachelor of Creative Arts from Yorkville University in New Brunswick, Canada that results in obtaining an additional diploma in Mixing and Mastering on top of the initial diploma and BA degree.

Sample Curriculum: Musical Styles & Genres, Principles of Electricity & Electronics, Songwriting Analysis

Famous Alumni: Metalworks alumni have gone on to work at Entertainment One, Bell Media, Sony Music, Corus Entertainment, and OVO Sound. Read up on Metalworks alumni here

7 Audio Engineering School Degree Programs to Explore

Full Sail University

Location: Winter Park, Florida
Program Length: 2 years, 5 months.
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Audio Production
Tuition: Calculate your Full Sail tuition here

Overview: Full Sail’s Audio Production bachelor of science degree program is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to conduct business as an independent audio creator. Areas of study range from pop culture and music business fundamentals to production and post-production techniques, in addition to foundational material like college mathematics and professional writing. (Source: Full Sail)

Sample Curriculum: Fundamentals of Music Business, Contemporary Production Techniques

Famous Alumni: Hall of Fame inductees Gary Rizzo and Sebastian Krys. Full Sail alumni have mixed, recorded, or assisted on 18 of the past 24 Grammy winners in the Album of the Year category. 

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Program Length: 4 years
Degree: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sound, Master of Fine Arts in Sound
Tuition: Estimate your Art Institute of Chicago tuition here.

Overview:  The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Sound Department program’s studio offerings are complemented by courses in the history and theory of sonic arts, physics, acoustics, electronics, and traditional music. Faculty includes internationally renowned specialists in composition, improvisation, computer music, sound installations, radio art, cognitive psychology, instrument design, critical theory, curatorial practice, and software and hardware development. At the end of each semester, students are invited to participate in Waveforms, a presentation of work including performances and video. (School of the Art Institute of Chicago)

Sample Curriculum: Sonic Experience, Sound and Image, Sound Installation

Famous Alumni: Explore alumni from the Art Institute of Chicago’s Sound department here.

Berklee College of Music

Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Program Length: 4 years 
Degree: Bachelor of Music in Music Production and Engineering
Tuition: Learn more about Berklee College of Music tuition here

Overview: The music production and engineering experience at Berklee prepares you to enter the current music production field as an effective professional in any number of roles within a landscape of rapidly evolving tools and techniques. Your experience will prepare you to appropriately adapt to the changing demands of the recording industry. (Source: Berklee College of Music)

Sample Curriculum: Critical Listening Lab, The Business of Music Production, Multitrack Recording Techniques

Famous Alumni: K-Pop songwriter Kenzie (Yeonjung Kim)

Art Institute of Atlanta

Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Program Length: 4 years
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Audio Production
Tuition:  $96,300 USD

Overview: In the Art Institute of Atlanta’s Bachelor of Arts in Audio Production program, students begin with acoustic, musical, and electronic audio basics while working with digital computer-based audio recording and editing programs. Students build on this foundation to study advanced musical production and engineering, Musical Instrument Digital Interface systems (MIDI), audio-to-video, and advanced mixing and mastering, as well as interactive media, media business, project management, and professional development. (Source: Art Institute of Atlanta)

Sample Curriculum: Music Theory for Audio Professionals, Synthesis & Sound Design, Video Production for Audio

Famous Alumni: Read Art Institute of Atlanta Alumni Stories here.

Los Angeles Recording School

Location: Los Angeles, California
Program Length: 3 years
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Audio Production 
Tuition: Tuition Cost Dependent on Financial Aid Benefits. Request Tuition Info.

Overview: As part of the Los Angeles Recording School’s Bachelor of Science in Audio Production program, students work in classroom environments designed to emulate real-world production facilities. Students use professional studios and workstations featuring: SSL 9000K Series Console, AVID Pro Tools digital control surfaces, ICON D-Control control surface suites, dub stage, Foley/ADR suites and the historic IVAR Theatre. Students have exclusive access to entertainment professionals who visit the Recording School to share their insights and experience. (Source: Los Angeles Recording School)

Sample Curriculum: Analog & Digital Recording, Live Sound Production, Audio Post-Production for Film

Famous Alumni: Los Angeles Recording School alumni have worked with Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, Sheryl Crow, and Janelle Monaé, as well as on the films Arrival, Black Panther, and the TV show Stranger Things. Check out alumni success stories here

Media Tech Dallas

Location: Dallas, Texas
Program Length: 5 years 
Degree: Associate of Applied Science Degree in Recording Arts
Tuition: $35,200 USD

Overview:  in The Associate of Applied Science Degree in Recording Arts Program you will get firsthand experience in the many different aspects of audio recording and audio engineering while learning in a professional environment. The facility provides both digital and analog recording equipment that can be found in the many professional studios around the world. Working with modern Digital Audio Workstations, students will learn about the functionality of microphones, speakers, acoustics, troubleshooting, and then integrating such skills in hands-on live and studio recording, editing, mixing, and working in post- production. (Source: Media Tech Dallas)

Sample Curriculum: Live Sound Engineering, Business of Music, Pro Tools certification

Famous Alumni: Explore Media Tech student success stories here.

Middle Tennessee State University

Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Program Length: 4 years
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Audio Production
Tuition: Calculate the cost of attending MTSU here

Overview: The state-of-the-art teaching and production facilities housed within MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry are the result of input from industry professionals, award-winning acoustic design consultants, faculty, alumni, and students. From large format recording and mixing consoles to control surfaces to leading-edge outboard gear, controllers, audio software and sample libraries, our facilities and resources allow students to apply fundamentals, principles and techniques without limitation. (Source: Middle Tennessee State University)

Middle Tennessee State University also offers a Masters of Fine Arts in Recording Arts and Technologies that can be pursued after completing the BSc.

Sample Curriculum: Digital Audio Technology, Survey of the Recording Industry, Sound for Picture, Audio Signals and Systems

Famous Alumni: MTSU production graduates have worked on gold and platinum-selling recordings and Grammy award-winning productions. The long and impressive list of artists and producers MTSU graduates have worked with include Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Kacey Musgraves, Luther Vandross, Josh Groban, Bruce Springsteen, The Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Alan Jackson, Michael Buble, Randy Travis, Diane Warren, Donna Summer, Alison Krauss, Richard Marx, Dolly Parton, John Mayer, Yo-Yo Ma, Michael McDonald, Natalie Merchant, Cher, Paul Anka, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, and a host of others. Learn more about MTSU graduates here.

Go to Audio Engineering School

Selecting the audio engineering school that is best suited to your specific needs will require a great deal of research, and your final decision will likely be based on a range of factors: the amount of money you’re prepared to spend, the industry you’re striving to work in, and the particular equipment and skills you hope to enhance your expertise in. 

No matter the audio engineering school you choose to attend, enrolling in an audio engineering program is an investment in your future and will help you flourish in the growing sectors of audio technology and the recording arts. Again, not just because of the credential but because of the priceless opportunities and access to equipment that comes along with it. 

Once you’ve learned the tricks of the trade, sign up for a Voices account and begin showing off your audio engineering skills to clients looking for someone just like you to work on their projects. 

Already completed a program? Did your school make our list? Let us know where you went and what you thought of the experience in the comments below!

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Comments

  • Avatar for Robert Scott Adams
    Robert Scott Adams
    July 15, 2020, 8:27 am

    As the Career Services Director for Omega Studios’ School I’d like to introduce you to our school in the hopes that we can included in your future lists.

    We are a world class recording studio/school and have been training students to become professional audio engineers since 1977.

    Reply
    • Avatar for Oliver Skinner
      Oliver Skinner
      July 15, 2020, 11:50 am

      Hey Robert,

      Thanks for sharing! There are so many fantastic audio engineering schools out there that it was tough for us to select only 14. I’ll definitely keep Omega Studios’ School in mind for the next time we end up writing about audio engineering programs.

      Cheers,
      Oliver

      Reply
  • Avatar for Leon Fourie
    Leon Fourie
    July 29, 2020, 3:16 pm

    Excited, always wanted to do voice-overs for radio

    Reply
  • Avatar for Elizabeth Dowsett
    Elizabeth Dowsett
    August 10, 2020, 2:30 pm

    While I understand that a degree will give me a great deal of knowledge I don’t have money for school now. I have been listening to YouTube postings that have a great deal of information. I don’t want to be an audio engineer. I would like to do this on a part time basis to supplement my salary. My job was downsized from the pandemic.

    What I don’t understand is that the setup with noice resistant room and microphone will cost too much to just to do an audition that may not be accepted. Without purchasing the equipment my interview will not meet industry standards. How can that be handled.

    Education major and love reading even biology books out loud to my children. Not ready to spend all that money jus for an interview.

    Reply
    • Avatar for Oliver Skinner
      Oliver Skinner
      August 11, 2020, 11:27 am

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for reaching out! I definitely understand your concerns. While setting up a top-notch home recording studio can get pretty pricey, there are always smaller purchases and DIY steps you can take in order to start auditioning for voice over work and get acquainted with the voice acting industry before determining whether it’s worth investing more money in.

      This blog post covers what a home studio setup typically looks like, especially for a beginner voice actor. But before you make any purchases, I’d suggest reading through our Beginner’s Guide to Voice Acting to first get a handle on your own voice, interpreting a script, and scoping out the field of voice over work that you’d like to pursue (be it audiobooks, TV commercials, elearning courses, etc.) Our onboarding video series will lead you through the process of setting up your profile and starting out with our platform once you’re ready to dive in.

      Don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected] if you any encounter any difficulties.

      Wishing you the best!
      Oliver

      Reply
  • Avatar for John Harris
    John Harris
    August 23, 2020, 7:15 pm

    Hi Oliver,
    Please consider Harris Institute if you do this listing again. It ranked ‘best school of its kind’ for a 7th year in the ‘Media Arts Education Report’ and is the only school outside of the US in Billboard’s ‘Top 11 Schools’.

    Reply
  • Avatar for Kevin Sheridan
    Kevin Sheridan
    January 20, 2022, 7:40 am

    Thanks for the article! Question: I’m 54 years old, and while I’ve been to school for music composition and have thirty plus years in studios and synthesizer sound development, I’ve never had any formal training and real job experience. Am I too late?

    Reply
    • Avatar for Niki Clark
      Niki Clark
      January 25, 2022, 9:00 am

      Hi Kevin,

      You’re not at all too late! I actually just published a Success Story about a voice actor in his 50s who is working full time in V/O now after major career shifts. You have a foundational knowledge that will assist you greatly. Plus, we see that as the population ages, there is a demand for “older sounding” voices unlike ever before. Get started!

      Best of luck,

      Niki

      Reply