Audio engineer careers range from jobs working at live events, such as concerts and radio shows, to those of recording engineers that produce sound for music, movies, television shows, and audio books. There are many different positions possible, typically based on a person's experience and training in the industry. For those who know which audio engineering careers they wish to pursue, specialty education is available.
There are several audio engineer schools that specialize in either music or broadcast recording. Students can also intern, or apprentice, at a television station, recording studio, or radio station to get on-the-job training. Often, interns are hired by the company for which they interned. Even for people with specialized training, audio engineer careers can take time to build.
Beginner-level audio engineers must be willing to start at the bottom of the career ladder and work their way up. In addition to setting up and maintaining equipment, entry-level duties can include getting coffee or lunch, as well as cleaning the studio. Those looking to build audio engineer careers also need an interest in music or broadcasting. Some engineers are also musicians who want to record their own music.
Audio engineer careers in live sound include assistant engineers and production assistants for concert venues, live television events and radio shows. These jobs typically require an engineer to set up microphones, cables, speakers, and monitors. Experienced assistants can move up the ladder to become professional audio engineers, producers, and even managers. Engineers usually mix the sound being transmitted, as well as that in each performer's personal monitors, or speakers. Producers and managers generally supervise the production by ensuring staff members are doing their jobs and that the event runs smoothly.
Recorded sound offers even more audio engineer careers. In a recording studio, audio engineers can work on music recordings for all different types of bands, as well as recordings for television shows and audio books. Sound engineers may also work at television stations, recording sound for shows as they are taped. As with live sound, beginners usually start out by setting up and maintaining equipment, and completing any paperwork.
Movies offer audio engineer careers such as sound designer, sound editor, and recording engineer. Sound engineering for movies usually includes recording dialogue as it is taped. Engineers also add sound effects and music during the editing process. A sound designer is typically responsible for the overall direction of the sound in a film. A sound editor generally ensures all sounds in the movie work well together — for example, by ensuring any music does not drown out spoken dialogue.
People interested in audio engineer careers have a variety of options from which to choose. When determining an area of sound to work in, students can consider what kind of training or internships are available locally. Another consideration may be how much travel a person is willing to do. Working at live concerts usually requires an engineer to be on the road often, while studio jobs generally allow him to stay in one place.