Is Audio Engineering a Good Career?

Audio engineer sitting in front of a keyboard and his workstation

Growing up, many people are given contradictory advice from their parents and mentors about how to choose a career. Most people hear some version of following your passions and dreams starting from an early age, which is good. However, as you get older, they might start to hear more stress put on whether an aspiration can lead to a good-paying career. Understandably, many people trying to decide on a livelihood come away confused by these two sentiments that seem to be at odds with one another.

As anyone who’s ever worked in a career that’s a bad fit for them is well aware, the recipe for happiness includes more than just the financial factor. Having a job that fits your interests and complements your personal skillset is sometimes just as important. So how do you choose between your dreams and financial stability?

There’s great news for the people who dream of becoming audio engineers: You can do both. Audio engineering offers career options that allow you to follow your passions and walk down a lucrative, steady career path at the same time.

What Does an Audio Engineer Do?

The work of an audio engineer is central to the recording process in a studio session. Their job includes all elements of capturing sound, whether it’s a musical performance, voiceover, or sound effect. The audio engineer is involved with setting up their equipment and operating it to manipulate the way sound is recorded. This requires a deep technical understanding of how each recording tool is used to optimize the sound for each voice or musical instrument.

In the process of getting a clean, professional-level recording, there are various technical decisions and industry techniques, that the audio engineer is responsible for making. It takes a high level of training and experience to know how to react in any given studio situation with the right audio manipulation.

Is Audio Engineering a Good Career?

Short answer: yes. With a wide range of perks and unique advantages in this line of work, it’s safe to say that anyone who lands themself a job in audio engineering is set up for a promising career.

There will always be a need for trained audio engineers. Qualified professionals are constantly in demand for a wide range of projects. As long as you know where to look and are willing to stay flexible, it’s easy to remain employed in this industry. And the prospects are only bound to improve as technology advances and enhances the way entertainment is created and disseminated.

Once you’ve had your passions stoked by the music you’re making, it’s quite easy to get into an upward spiral of financial and professional success while honing your skills. As each job that you take furthers your experience and inspires you to broaden your technical knowledge, your potential for remuneration continually increases.

What are the Benefits of a Career in Audio Engineering?

There are many benefits to a career in audio engineering. From the ability to express your creativity, to continuous learning and getting to work with others passionate about music to a flexible schedule and flexible work environment.

Benefit #1: Express Creativity

Having a job that offers creative expression is extremely gratifying. When you are creative, you are activating parts of your brain that help with problem-solving, empathy, and countless other skills that are useful in other aspects of life. The process of expressing yourself in this way is also known to be highly therapeutic.

Certain people find creativity an essential part of daily life, to maintain their happiness. Oftentimes, these creative minds are only satisfied working a job that utilizes what they consider to be their best quality. With audio engineering, creativity constantly comes into play with every decision that you make.

Benefit #2: Continuous Learning

Audio engineering is a job that drives you to push your expertise forward in every possible way. With every new gig, you’re thrown into new situations that demand adaptive learning to succeed. Audio engineers are constantly thinking on their feet, which makes the job fulfilling and interesting with something new to learn every day.

The more you learn about audio engineering, the deeper you’re pulled into the field. With the diverse range of information that make up this discipline, there’s always something new to learn. Each new technique learned, or skill acquired fills you with more confidence and a personal sense of pride in your work.

Benefit #3: Work with Others Passionate About Music

Those who are deeply interested in music thrive when surrounded by like-minded individuals. Having people around you who are just as passionate or even obsessive about all things music, inspires you to take your work to the next level. Whether it’s friendly competition, seeking out advice, or broadening your horizons through collaboration, being part of a musical community is much better than working in a vacuum.

Beyond the professional growth and development from your engineering and musical peers, not to mention the networking that leads to further career opportunities, you’ll be working alongside people who will likely become your lifelong friends. It’s easy to make new friends when everyone has at least one or two things in common.

Benefit #4: Flexible Schedule

People who hate the idea of working nine to five with only two days off per week can enjoy a more open-ended schedule in an audio engineering career. Depending on the type of jobs you’re working, you may have the freedom to choose what hours you work. Audio engineers can also work on a contracted or gig basis, allowing them to choose which jobs they pick up. If you don’t like working mornings or want to keep certain days of the week open for other activities, that’s entirely left up to you.

Of course, the deciding factor of whether to accept a gig is how much money is in your bank account. For beginners, keeping a steady stream of income might demand a bit less selectivity when choosing jobs. As you gain experience and reputation, it becomes easier to land your preferred types of gigs and get paid enough to take that vacation whenever you feel like it.

Benefit #5: Flexible Work Environment

People who work in audio engineering may not have to report into the same workplace as an office job requires. For many audio engineers, their job doesn’t even take them into the same studio day after day. They’ll be going to various locations, wherever a live show or recording session is taking place and set up shop there.

People in this line of work must be highly adaptive, but it’s well worth it. The change of scenery and dynamic engineering situations help to break up the monotony and keep the work experience fresh and new every day.

Benefit #6: Multiple Specialties

Regardless of what your unique set of skills are, there’s a specialty that’s perfectly suited for you in audio engineering. This industry is a broad field with many elements that go into creating the finished product. From studio recording sessions with voiceover or musical artists, and running sound for live performances, to sound design for audiovisual projects, there’s a lot of options to choose from.

As a multi-talented individual, you don’t have to tie yourself down to just one discipline, either. You can specialize in multiple aspects of audio engineering to broaden your career opportunities and keep your day-to-day work life even more diverse.

Whether you choose to be a jack of all trades or laser in on one specific audio engineering element, there are advantages to both approaches. People with extensive expertise in one area tend to have superior skills, while those who look at audio engineering more holistically often have an easier time finding a job.

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t take long working in this industry to start seeing your opportunities grow. The more you prove your abilities to employers and peers in the industry, the better chance you have of being considered for high-level jobs. It’s definitely a type of work that pays off the harder you work at it.

The training and experience that you receive every step of the way builds upon itself to help you climb the professional ladder in this field. Regardless of what experience or skill level you start out at, with time and effort, it’s possible to make it all the way to the top.

Audio Production Program

Ready to get certified in audio engineering? The Audio Production and Engineering Program  at the Institute of Production and Recording is an occupational degree program designed to train producer engineers who are entrepreneurs, musically and technically creative, and proficient in modern recording technology and technique. Throughout the program, students are involved in hands-on exercises and real-world studio projects that enable them to apply their knowledge and refine their skills.

At the end of the audio production and engineering program, each student presents a portfolio — a selection of his or her best work to date. This serves as a demo reel for potential employers and clients — an audio resume with professional content that highlights the graduate’s talent and skill.

Contact us today to learn more about the audio production programs and starting a rewarding career.