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Overview of Audio Production Degrees

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Sound producers record and manipulate voices and different sound effects in order to create music for movies, video games, television, or albums. They are in charge of setting up and operating a number of different systems. They may also need to possess the skills to troubleshoot and repair equipment. Along with the technical aspects of the job sound producers will also need to possess a high level of creativity in order to excel in their career. During post-production for movies sound producers will need to evaluate how certain sound effects will pair with the visual effects of the film to ensure the final version flows with ease and makes sense to the audience. They can also pair musical instruments with computer programs to create one-of-a kind music and sound effects that can later be used in their projects. Communication is also key in this field as professionals work closely with singers and other entertainment personnel to create content. A high school diploma along with relevant work experience is sufficient for the field, however, it is recommended that aspiring audio producers who wish to work on high-profile projects such as movie or album production seek additional education. 

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Associate Degrees in Audio Production

Earning an associate degree in audio production can aid participants in learning the techniques in recording, mixing, and mastering that are standard in the industry. Students will complete general education requirements as well as major-specific requirements that will build not only knowledge but also creativity. Course examples include music concepts, digital audio specifications, introduction to audio production, audio recording techniques, music design and synthesis, recording on location, mixing and mastering, and surround sound techniques. Students can complete these courses in addition to their general education courses in two years or less. Graduates have the opportunity to work for a variety of production companies as sound designers, radio broadcast producers, music producers, live sound engineers, and sound editors. In order to qualify for admission fto this level of program applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some schools may also require an entrance exam to be taken prior to enrollment. The total cost for an associate degree in audio production may fall somewhere between $25,000 and $33,000.  

Bachelor's Degrees in Audio Production

A bachelor's degree can be completed in 32 to 36 months. This level of degree is a great option for individuals who aspire to conduct business as an independent audio creator. Key courses include audio post-production, advanced mixing techniques, history of recorded music, contemporary production techniques, musical structure and analysis, recording principles, and sequencing technology. To gain hands-on experience students will also create a project portfolio that will be required for turn-in towards the end of their studies. First time freshmen will need to submit their high school transcripts or a GED equivalent. This degree level can be competitive therefore high school students who are looking forward to entering a program for audio production should try to take as many relevant classes in this subject as they can while focusing on earning a solid grade point average. Applicants who have previously earned a bachelor's degree or over 24-credit hours from another institution will also need to submit their college transcripts in which case they will be reviewed for transfer credit. Annual tuition for a bachelor's degree program will generally average around $20,000. 

Master's Degrees in Audio Production

Individuals who are looking to advance their skills and career options will find that earning a graduate degree will aid them in achieving their goals. A master's degree is typically comprised of 30 to 36 credit hours and takes two years to complete. Program coursework includes audio production and post-production, recording systems, acoustics, MIDI techniques, music production, and legal issues. Students will also complete a graduate project that may include a large-scale recording project, live performance, or a musical application for the web. Upon graduation individuals will be ready to move on to work as music professors, recording studio producers, music editors, and music producers for TV, film, and video games. Entrance requirements include the submission of undergraduate transcripts, a letter of intent, and reference letters. The total cost of education will vary depending on the university being attended but it ranges from $30,000 to $120,000 for the full two years. 

Doctorate Degrees in Audio Production

The level of advanced degree is for individuals interested in extensively studying the relation between music and technology. Over the course of five to seven years doctoral students will be involved in researching music theory, artificial intelligence, and computer science to figure out advanced ways to enhance music through the use of technology. Upon graduation a career in research and development, audio computation, multimedia, and teaching at the university level will be available for individuals. Some graduates may even open up their own private recording studios. Students will participate in classes such as specialized research methodology, programming languages, music criticism, advanced computer music composition, audio for games and immersive environments, java music systems, and computer vision. Course work also includes a dissertation. Students will also be required to complete one semester working as a teaching assistant along side a full time faculty member followed by a semester of independent teaching to prepare them for teaching careers in higher education and also to equip them with mentoring skills that will be relevant should they choose to go another route other than teaching. Applicants who are interested in this level of program should hold a master's degree in a related field. It may also be required of them to submit a preliminary research proposal along with two letters of recommendation. Total cost of education averages $76,608.

Accreditation

Aspiring audio production professionals should keep accreditation in mind when choosing a post-secondary program to attend. While there are no programs that specifically accredit audio production programs, students should still seek to attend a school that has received regional accreditation. Regional accreditation is the process through which a school is evaluated by an outside organization in order to see if it meets a certain set of quality standards. This plays an important role in a number of ways, the first being the confidence it gives students that they are earning an education that is going to prepare them for their future career.  Accreditation also makes the transfer process much easier because most institutions only accept transfer credits if they have been earned through an accredited program. Additionally, many graduate programs won't accept students who don't have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. Lastly, federal student financial aid is only available to programs that are accredited so those who think they may need assistance will need to look for accredited programs exclusively. 

References

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