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Top 15 Audio Engineering Schools for 2020

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Audio engineering schools are havens for anybody who gets excited by the technology of sound and harbors a desire to learn every aspect of it in order to make audio production their career. 

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. Programs in audio engineering are designed to teach students music theory, how to operate the various features of recording equipment, live event production, audio production for movies and video games, and the business side of the recording industry. Audio engineering schools are also an ideal setting for burgeoning audio engineers to network with classmates and instructors so that they can develop professional relationships to lean on as they graduate and enter the workforce.  

For voice actors, audio engineering schools are the perfect destination to go to master the art of recording. No matter how experienced of a performer you are, honing your audio engineering skills can mean the difference between producing amateur-sounding recordings filled with plosives, poorly mixed tracks, and other unwanted noises—compared to being able to churn out impressive, high-quality audio that won’t require extra editing effort from your clients. 

When you’re setting out to research different audio engineering schools, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. You’ll likely want to consider the school’s location, program duration, tuition costs, and where alumni from these audio engineering schools have gone on to work. 

To help you find the program that’s suited for your specific needs, we’ve compiled a list of the most esteemed audio engineering schools throughout North America. Without further ado, here are the top 15 audio engineering schools for aspiring audio engineers in 2020. 

Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology 

Location: London, Ontario

Program Length: 11 months (46 weeks)

Degree: Diploma in Audio Recording Technology

Tuition: $32,450 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. 

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: 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.com Founder and CEO David Ciccarelli. 

Learn more at: https://www.oiart.org/

Full Sail University

Location: Winter Park, Florida

Program Length: 29 months (online)

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. (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. 

Learn more at: https://www.fullsail.edu/degrees/audio-production-bachelor

Fanshawe College 

Location: London, Ontario

Program Length: 30 weeks (in 2 semesters)

Degree: Ontario College Graduate Certificate in Audio Post-Production

Tuition: $6,860 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. Students are engaged in individual and collaborative projects involving practical and process oriented instruction, working with other graduate certificate programs and departments within the College, as well as independent lab time. This specialization prepares students well for career opportunities within the audio production and post-production industry. (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. 

Learn more at: https://www.fanshawec.ca/programs/apr1-audio-post-production/next

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. (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.

Learn more at: https://www.pce.uw.edu/certificates/audio-production-techniques

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.

Learn more at: https://www.saic.edu/academics/departments/sound

Berklee College of Music

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Program Length: 8 semesters

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. Through in-studio classroom experience, hands-on project work, and exposure to resident and visiting industry professionals, you will:

  • develop an informed and critical aesthetic vision;
  • gain a thorough knowledge and understanding of complex technical systems;
  • learn to collaborate effectively with others in numerous musical settings through participation as an engineer and producer;
  • learn to define quality using both musical and technical criteria, and to apply those criteria to your work and to the work of others; and
  • refine your communication and time-management skills in the context of multidisciplinary productions. (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)

Learn more at: https://www.berklee.edu/mpe

Art Institute of Atlanta

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Program Length: 4 years

Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Audio Production

Tuition: Approximately $96,300 USD for the entire program.

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. The program provides a creative, structured environment that encourages, even demands, a combination of hands-on experience and technical knowledge using the kind of equipment found in the industry today. A portfolio to showcase the student’s skills in a variety of audio formats to present to prospective employers is required. Audio Production graduates are prepared to seek entry-level positions at production companies, record labels, radio and TV stations, recording studios, CD and DVD manufacturing facilities, mastering studios, audio post-production for film and video, and sound design for games and the Internet. (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.

Learn more at: https://www.artinstitutes.edu/atlanta/academics/film-production/audio-production-degree-program

Los Angeles Recording School

Location: Los Angeles, California

Program Length: 36 months

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.

Once you dive into the audio world, you will start learning sequencing and synthesis, mixing concepts and techniques, Avid Pro Tools to live sound production and much more. Every student trains on analog and digital consoles in professional recording studios. (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

Learn more at: https://www.larecordingschool.com/

Media Tech Dallas

Location: Dallas, Texas

Program Length: 15 months

Degree: Associate of Applied Science Degree in Recording Arts

Tuition: $24,000 USD

Overview: The Associate of Applied Science Degree in Recording Arts Program is designed to provide students with the skills necessary for employment in the audio and recording industry. 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. Students will also learn the role of the producer, music theory, songwriting and a survey of the music business including publishing and copyrighting of music. The core classes combined with the required general education courses provide a well-rounded education. The coursework provides an effective combination of in-class lectures as well as live, hands-on training in the recording studio, bringing real world experience to the classroom. The Faculty includes seasoned professionals of the audio industry. Besides having a plethora of professional experience to share with students, the faculty continue to work in their field as well as teach, giving the student valued, up-to- date information about the ins and outs of their career. (Media Tech Dallas)

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

Famous Alumni: Explore Media Tech student success stories here.

Learn more at: https://mediatech.edu/programs/recording-arts/

Vancouver Film School

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Program Length: 12 months

Degree: Diploma in Sound Design for Visual Media

Tuition: $28,750 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)

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.

Learn more at: https://vfs.edu/programs/sound-design

LaSalle College Vancouver

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Program Length: 6 quarters

Degree: Diploma in Professional Recording Arts

Tuition: $38,520 CAD

Overview: Through rigorous study of theoretical concepts, industry practices, and hands-on production techniques, students in the Diploma in Professional Recording Arts program work to develop the technical skills and aesthetic sensibilities needed to become professional engineers, technicians, and producers. Students learn the fundamentals of acoustics, audio engineering principles, digital audio editing, analog and digital audio mixing, music theory, among other skills. LaSalle College Vancouver’s Audio Production program shows students how to record, edit, mix, and master digital audio using industry-standard professional recording studio technology, including sophisticated Solid State Logic recording consoles. Students explore everything from producing live and studio music to designing sound for film, radio, TV, web, live performances, and other venues. (LaSalle College Vancouver)

Sample Curriculum: Fundamentals of Audio, Music Theory, Synthesis & Sound Design, Psychoacoustics

Famous Alumni: Alumni have worked with such industry giants as Electronic Arts Studio, Bardel Entertainment, Cirque du Soleil, The Armory Studios, and Michael Bublé. Read up on LaSalle College alumni here

Learn more at: https://www.lasallecollegevancouver.com/audio-film-school/music-production-diploma

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)

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

Learn more at: https://recordingarts.com/school/programs/sound-music-production

Metalworks Institute

Location: Mississauga, Ontario

Program Length: 1 year

Degree: Diploma in Audio Production & Engineering

Tuition: For information on tuition, contact an Admissions Counsellor at 905-279-4000, toll-free at 1-866-783-2200, or via e-mail at admissions@metalworksinstitute.com.

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. The vast experience of Metalworks Studios has infused this curriculum with a wealth of knowledge derived from over 40 years of real-world success, resulting in a program designed to optimize future career opportunities. (Metalworks Institute)

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

Learn more at: https://metalworksinstitute.com/campus-program/audio-production-engineering-diploma/

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. Facilities include two large music recording studios (A & B), three smaller recording studios (C, D & E), an audio post-production studio, a mastering lab, a 12-seat electronic music lab, a 16-seat digital audio workstation lab, a mixing lab, a “catch all” audio editing lab, and a live sound “café”. 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. (Middle Tennessee State University)

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.

Learn more at: https://www.mtsu.edu/programs/audio-production/

Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music 

Location: Los Angeles, California

Program Length: 1 year

Degree: Certificate in Audio Engineering

Tuition: $16,350

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. 

Aside from obtaining an audio engineer degree, you’ll be taught by industry experienced instructors in our audio engineering classes. You’ll also gain practical experience on professional-level consoles and recording equipment. Audio engineering majors at MI will leave the program industry-ready, after getting the chance to work with artists, mic’ing up session players, and doing final mixes. Altogether, you’ll be developing sophisticated technical and organizational skills that are vital to today’s successful engineers. (MI College of Contemporary Music)

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.

Learn more at: https://www.mi.edu/programs/production/audio-engineering/

Choosing the Right Audio Engineering School for You

Selecting the audio engineering school that is best suited to your specific needs will require a great deal of thorough research, and your final decision will likely be based off of 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. 

Voice actors can benefit enormously from attending audio engineering programs because they are then prepared to perform their own editing and professional recording work, which instantly makes them more favorable to clients. Your voice over demos, auditions, and finished recordings can only profit from professional instruction in audio engineering. 

Once you’ve learned the tricks of the trade, sign up for a Voices talent account and begin showing off your polished recordings to the world. 

According to you, which schools offer the best audio engineering programs? Let us know in the comments! 

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Comments

  • 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
    • 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
  • Leon Fourie
    July 29, 2020, 3:16 pm

    Excited, always wanted to do voice-overs for radio

    Reply
  • 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
    • 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 support@voices.com if you any encounter any difficulties.

      Wishing you the best!
      Oliver

      Reply
  • 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