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How to Get Audio Engineering Certification

Are you lost? Looking for direction? Looking for a way into the music industry? Have you been daydreaming of working in music studios and recording music since you were a kid? Well, there’s only one solution: You need to become an audio engineer. 

There are several easy ways to get certified as a recording professional and several places you can get an audio engineering certification. First of all, it’s important to remember that the music industry is a skills-based industry. No one really cares if you have a degree or diploma if you are an amazing producer or engineer.

Can you record well? Do you have the technical stills? Are you amazing at building beats? That’s what matters. Clients will be coming to you for your abilities, not what pieces of paper are on the walls of your studio. “Certification” is not really a requirement to work in recording studios. 

Working in studios is purely based on connections, skills, your reputation.  All a certification does is essentially tell the music industry that you’ve achieved a basic level of training in an area of technical skill. Which, if you’re a skilled enough individual should already be obvious.

Taking a Pro Tools certification class, for example, will give you a certification. How meaningful is that at the end of the day? Well, your mileage may vary. That being said, here are a few ways in which you can receive audio engineering certification:

TAKE A COLLEGE DEGREE PROGRAM

Earning a college degree in audio production is the most comprehensive form of training you can receive. It also includes general education requirements that are unrelated to audio engineering, and can be very expensive (up to $100,000 total, depending on the school). Remember, college degrees are unnecessary to having a successful career in professional audio, so earning a degree is completely optional.

ATTEND A TRADE SCHOOL

Numerous trade schools nowadays focus on audio production as a trade. These courses generally last 6 months to one year, and result in a diploma or certificate. The benefit is that these courses are more intensive and career-focused. The downside is that they can also be pricey: sometimes upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. And they do not actually do much to connect you to the audio industry, which can make it difficult to land a job afterward.

INDIVIDUAL CERTIFICATION

As we discussed earlier, you can take individual short-term courses in various software programs like Pro Tools that will certify you to work with those particular programs. These courses are short and relatively cheap, and can add to your resume. They can add to your provable skillsets in cases where resumes are involved. 

However, a lot of the music industry isn’t based on resumes. It’s based about qualitative evidence of work. If you’re really trying to be an engineer or a producer or a musician the best way to prove that you’re employable is to go out and do the thing you want to get paid to do. If you’re a musician, make music. If you’re a producer, produce. If you’re an engineer find a local indie producer and work pro-bono for them as an engineer in order to build up your portfolio. 

APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS

Attending an audio school that uses the mentor-extern approach is possibly the most cost-effective and efficient way to get certified, because it gives you direct access to the music industry by training you in a real recording studio under the mentoring of a working audio professional. 

This type of course is very affordable (typically under $10,000) and helps connect and establish you in the music industry itself. Mentorship programs pair you with working pros who have their own studios. They will them help you gain experience and learn the ropes of what it takes to succeed within the industry FROM WITHIN the industry.

There’s nothing like seeing the inner workings of how the recording industry works and learning on the job. You’ll be instantly able to see what’s working, what’s not working, and how you can actualize your skillset in order to prove your value to the people around you. 

As you can see, there are numerous ways to receive audio engineering certification. Some might require more time or more money or more self-initiative. You will have to determine which of the options we’ve outlined feels like it’s the best for you. Every individual has different goals and needs.

Some people work best truly independent where they don’t have to work with other people or power structures. Some people work better in a more corporate hierarchy. Please use this information to determine which pathway is right fit for you and your career.


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