Is becoming a recording engineer right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do recording engineers do?
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What are recording engineers like?

Still unsure if becoming a recording engineer is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a recording engineer or another similar career!

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How to become a Recording Engineer

Becoming a recording engineer involves a combination of education, practical experience, networking, and ongoing skill development. Here are the general steps to pursue a career as a recording engineer:

  • Educational Background: Consider enrolling in a program that focuses on audio engineering, sound engineering, or a related field.
  • Internships and Entry-Level Positions: Gain practical experience by working in recording studios, radio stations, or live sound environments. Internships provide valuable exposure to real-world recording scenarios and help build a professional network.
  • Build a Portfolio: Document your recording projects, showcasing your skills and versatility. Include a variety of genres and styles to demonstrate your ability to work with different artists and musical contexts.
  • Specialize if Desired: Depending on your interests, you may choose to specialize in specific genres, such as music production, post-production for film and television, or game audio.
  • Advanced Education (Optional): While not always necessary, obtaining a master's degree or further education in audio engineering can provide additional expertise and open doors to advanced roles or teaching positions.
  • Professional Memberships: Become a member of industry associations like the Audio Engineering Society (AES) or the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS) to access resources and network with professionals.
  • Build a Professional Reputation: Deliver high-quality work, meet deadlines, and build positive relationships with clients and collaborators. Word-of-mouth recommendations are often crucial in the industry.
  • Freelance or Studio Employment: Decide whether you want to work in a recording studio, as a freelance recording engineer, or a combination of both. Each path offers unique opportunities and challenges.

There are some certifications and educational programs that can enhance a recording engineer's skills and marketability. Here are a few options:

  • Avid Pro Tools Certification: Avid offers certification programs for their Pro Tools software, which is widely used in the audio recording and production industry. Achieving certification demonstrates proficiency in using this industry-standard digital audio workstation.
  • Institute of Audio Research (IAR) Certification: The Institute of Audio Research in New York City offers educational programs in audio engineering and music production. Completing their programs may provide a certification that can be valuable in the industry.
  • Berklee Online Music Production Certificate: Berklee College of Music offers online courses in music production. Completing their certificate program can enhance your skills and provide recognition.
  • Recording Connection Audio Engineering Certification: The Recording Connection offers an externship-based audio engineering program that includes hands-on experience in a real recording studio. Successful completion of the program may result in a certification.
  • SAE Institute Audio Technology Program: SAE Institute offers programs in audio technology and recording. While not a certification in the traditional sense, completing their programs can provide a recognized qualification in audio engineering.
  • AES (Audio Engineering Society) Membership: While not a certification, becoming a member of AES can provide access to resources, networking opportunities, and industry events that contribute to professional development.