Millions of people enroll in higher education programs each year, whether that be through traditional education like universities or community colleges, or through career training programs or vocational schools. And when it comes to those looking to enter or grow in the audio engineering field, there’s no shortage of choices along any of these paths. If you’re thinking this career might be the right one for you, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing a school that fits your needs and sets you on your preferred trajectory — whether that be through a longer-term degree program or a shorter-term certificate program. So how do you know what’s the best audio engineering school for you? We’ve put together a guide to help you know what to look for!
Compare program costs
The cost of audio engineering programs can vary widely, based on several factors like location, specialization, whether it’s degree-granting or certificate-granting, and more. Though it could be in your best interest to pay more money for the right school, you might also be better served to opt for a less expensive one; at the end of the day, you’ll want to examine how much you’re willing to invest in your training and what you think each individual program can offer you.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to look into financial aid options such as scholarships, grants, payment plans, or loans to help ease the burden of any cost. Make sure to check school websites for what they offer!
Consider the location
Where you currently are (and where you’d eventually like to go) could also be an important factor in your decision. Should you travel to the other side of the country, or would you prefer to attend a program that’s 10 minutes from your home? The Bureau of Labor Statistics has location-based data for several specializations within the audio and video production industry. For example, the states with the highest employment of sound engineering technicians are California, New York, Texas, Tennessee, and Florida, respectively — on the other hand, the locations with the highest annual mean wage for this career are New York ($93,470), New Jersey ($90,720), Georgia ($81,370), Washington DC ($81,100), and Massachusetts ($79,360).
Are the cost, program value, and proximity to potential employers worth a move? Before choosing a campus, you might be well-served to take into account where you want to end up and any factors which might make you want to stay where you are now.
Get to know the teachers
Learning from the right instructor can have a huge impact on someone’s success, so we suggest learning all you can about who will be leading your potential courses. See if they’ve produced any work that you can find, looking for any articles or think pieces they’ve written about the field, and check out what past students have said about them on review sites.
By researching who’ll be running the programs, you’ll have a better idea of who has the right level of experience, whose teaching style will fit your learning style, and which one is the best audio engineering school for you.
Read course reviews
Another helpful method of finding out if a program and its instructors are right for you is reading online reviews. Whether by searching online lists of top programs, or reading through reviews by graduates on sites like Yelp or Quora, you can check to see if a school is likely to deliver on what it’s promising.
Both official rankings, like those on GradReports.com, or user assessments like the ones written in Google reviews will give you a good picture of the value of each program.
Visit the campus, if possible
And finally, if you’re able, you might also want to visit the school in person before committing. Both school administrators and former students emphasize the importance of seeing the classrooms and meeting the staff face-to-face before you enroll. Be on the lookout for any events or open houses being hosted by the school, or simply visit on your own to take a look at where you’ll be learning.
In actually seeing where the program will take place, you can gain personal insights you might otherwise miss online and from secondhand information.