Careers in the Arts: Recording Engineer

Being a recording engineer is a career that most people limit their thinking of strictly to the recording of music and musicians. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a much more diverse field than that. Recording engineers also work in broadcasting stations, they produce commercials for television and radio and they perform many other tasks related to getting good quality sound into a recorded format including sound effects, interviews, News Casts, and more.

Recording engineers have a job that is unique in many regards. For example, their job requires them to be:

  • Creative
  • Able to give direction
  • Willing to debate with artists about the art being created
  • Have a good sense of business
  • Be able to find employment
  • Sometimes manage a studio

If you end up doing well at this career, there’s really no limit as to how much money you can make. For recording engineers employed by a studio or a broadcasting company, the median salary in 2010 was $39,870, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics although top-notch recording engineers who are in high demand can make much, much more.

Getting the Job

One of the interesting things about being a recording engineer is that one can get their foot in the door for this career by going to school or by having on hands experience. In some cases, some of the most talented recording engineers actually don’t have any education in sound engineering at all and learned everything on the job or in the context of a hobby.

As far as getting employment is concerned, however, some sort of a degree will usually be required. It’s the only way that prospective employers have a realistic way of assessing your skills when you first walk into the door. In some cases, it’s possible to complete the entire sound engineering training in a year and be ready to enter the world of work.

Some people may choose to combine sound engineering training with other forms of training that are relevant to the field. For instance, people with a degree in music may want to take another degree in sound engineering, making the more qualified than the average applicant for jobs and giving them the opportunity to see their occupation from both sides of the recording booth.

Sound engineering is growing at an average rate, with a 10% increase in employment expected over the next 10 years, according to the BLS. With so much multimedia content being produced and an entire Internet to distribute it on, there is plenty of opportunity out there for people who have a degree in this field.