Do you need a Degree to be an Audio Engineer?
Music is becoming more democratized by the day. Home recording setups, auditions, pro tools, and a myriad of other programs are allowing people from all walks of life to have access to the formerly illusive world of audio recording and music production. However, there’s still the question of do you need a degree to really get a leg up in the industry. If you’re shooting to have a life-long career as a audio engineer or music producer does it really behoove you to go the extra mile and get a degree?
Can you be an Audio Engineer without a Degree?
You do not need a degree to be an audio engineer. A degree is not necessary for the music industry. Having the knowledge, proficiency, and skills is what is going to help you become a good sound engineer.
You don’t need a degree. You don’t need to be validated by an external entity. Would it help you in certain instances? Yes. It absolutely would. But Most people in the business of music don’t care if you have a degree. They care if you know what you’re doing, you’re talented, and you’re driven.
How to Become an Audio Engineer without a Degree?
In the music industry there’s only one bottom line: can you get the job done? If the answer is unequivocally “Yes.” That’s all anyone cares about. This goes for studio owners, clients, or other producers you’re collaborating with. If you have the skills and the ability and the knowledge, you don’t need the piece of paper.
That being said, while the audio engineering certification or degree itself may be unimportant, the education behind any degree or diploma is very important. Music is a results-driven business. It’s an industry that requires workers to be able to do what they’re being hired to do. This isn’t an office job where you’re a part of a wider team that has delegation and hierarchy to hide behind. If you’re a producer or audio engineer working in a studio, you’re going to be among a very small team.
You might even be the only person responsible for the production, depending on the client. You’re not just going to waltz into a recording studio and get yourself a job as an engineer if you have no skills or experience. You can spend a lot of money learning those skills in a college or trade school, or you can spend less money and learn it on the job through the Recording Connection Audio Engineering Program.
So the question you need to ask yourself is are you someone who learns better in an organized classroom setting, or if you’re someone who is a hands-on learner? If being around working professionals, developing skills, and making connections is a smarter option for you.
Choose if an Audio Engineering Degree is right for you
When you learn one-on-one from a working producer/engineer, like you would with Recording Connection, you are able to experience what working with the gear feels like, what working in the studio feels like, and what working with clients looks like. It’s difficult to learn these things in a classroom environment.
That’s literally the reason why most music industry pros don’t pay much attention to degrees and diplomas. To them, all that piece of paper says is that you went to school somewhere—it doesn’t tell them anything whatsoever about your skills. However, if you’ve spent time working in a real studio alongside a professional, allowing yourself to be trained and extend, you are gaining both skills and experience at the same time—plus, as you learn and grow, and as your mentor becomes aware of your skills, it increases your chances of being hired, or being recommended for jobs and gigs. All of this happens naturally and organically within the studio, whether you happen to have a degree or not.
So the bottom line is, if you want a career in audio engineering or music production, your priority is to get in the door of a recording studio and gain the skills and experience you need in order to be taken seriously. An externship is a great way to do this. Real, on-the-job experience will open more doors for you than an audio engineering degree ever could. Degrees from traditional four year colleges can run over $100,000. Audio Engineering Scholarships can help with this but the cost to earn the degree can still be crippling.