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Recording School: Is College Worth It?

There’s no doubt about it: making a decision about attending college can be a real conundrum. On one hand, there’s a lot of pressure because many people assume college is the only way to get a good job. On the other hand, it’s gotten so expensive that it’s easy to wonder whether college is really worth it. Will it really benefit you all that much to spend $100,000 or more to get a college degree?  Or would it be better to get some career training by another way?

It really depends on the student and the profession. There are obviously some professions that still require a college education, and if you choose a career that pays well, you may be able to justify the high cost over time. If you’re planning on a career in something like audio engineering or music production (which is probably why you’re on this site!), that’s another story. A college degree is not necessary for these types of careers, and given the high cost of college, a good recording school might be a better answer for you.


While a well-rounded liberal arts education will benefit almost everyone, the cost of that education held against making you employable in your chosen career is another matter. For careers in recording, audio, production, broadcasting, culinary arts, film and other trades, college degrees don’t carry much weight, and the isolated classroom environment actually doesn’t do a good job in preparing students for what happens on-the-job in these professions. When you take into account the high cost for that unnecessary degree, it hardly seems worth the time and money spent. There are simply faster, smarter and cheaper ways to break into these types of professions.

Specifically, if you’re considering a career in audio and music production, here are the reasons why college might not be worth it:

  • Exorbitant cost (leading to lots of debt)
  • Degree means little or nothing to potential employers
  • Little or no work experience (recording studios want people with experience)
  • Few connections, if any (connections are essential to finding work in the music industry)

Simply put, for music industry careers, college might give you a good basic education, but it won’t give you enough of what you need to help you launch a career.  For that matter, while audio trade schools are slightly less expensive and take less time to complete, they, too, offer little in the way or real-world experience and connections. In fact, a degree or diploma from college or trade school usually tells the recording studios that you don’t have any experience, which is what they’re really looking for.


Yes—for some people, college may still be worth the cost. It comes down to what you need. College may be right for you if:

  • Need one or more degrees to qualify for your chosen career (e.g., law, medicine, academia);
  • Simply want a good liberal arts education; and/or
  • Can afford the high cost without getting buried in debt.

On the other hand, if you’re more interested in launching a career in the music industry for as little money as possible, college is probably not worth it to you, and you are more likely to get what you need just by getting into recording studios and learning directly from the pros. This is where the Recording Connection’s mentor-apprentice (extern) approach can really help. For more information, click here.