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Career profile: Sound engineer

sound engineer gigWant to get into the music industry or TV but think it’s too competitive? You could get through the back(stage) door by becoming a sound technician. Read on to find out how.

A what?

Sound engineers work across different media from music to video games. They are responsible for recording speech, sound effects and music.

On the job

Sound engineers normally work in recording studios. They use advanced electronic equipment to capture sounds clearly. They could work for record companies, producing music cds or working on music videos, or they might be hired by radio or TV broadcasters.

Part of the job involves working closely with the artist and producer so they can agree on the effect they want to make. The sound is often recorded onto a computer, where it can be played with to get the right impact. Then it can be transferred onto a cd, dvd or whatever format is needed.

Sound engineers often work quite flexible hours. They tend to be busy during the recording stage when the artists are in the studio but things can become quieter when they are working on different stages of the project.

Future prospects

All aspects of the music industry are quite hard to get into, but if you’re talented and get a good reputation you should be able to find interesting and steady work.

Pay varies according to experience and employers but it can be anywhere between £12,000 to over £40,000 a year.

How to get involved

There are a variety of courses that can take you into sound engineering. NVQs, HNDs, National Certificated, diplomas, foundation degrees and degrees in music production, music technology, audio technology, media and sound technology, sound engineering or electronics would all take you in the right direction.

The minimum requirements for a degree course are five GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) with two A-levels/three H grades, or equivalent qualifications. For HNDs, the minimum requirements are four GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) with one A-level/two H grades, or equivalent qualifications.

Check course details for specific subject requirements, but it’s likely that you will need maths, physics and music.

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