Studio sound engineer

audio engineer recording engineer
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Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Six year jobs forecast

The information is supplied by LMI For All

What's it like?

You would make high quality recordings of music, speech and sound effects.

You would use electronic equipment to record sound for uses such as:

  • Commercial music recordings
  • Radio, TV, film and advertising
  • Corporate videos
  • Websites
  • Computer games and other interactive media

You would:

  • Plan recording sessions with producers and artists
  • Set up microphones and equipment in the studio
  • Make sure the recording levels are set correctly
  • Use recording equipment and add effects
  • Record each instrument or item onto a separate track
  • Mix tracks to produce a final version
  • Log tapes and other details of the session

With experience, you might also act as studio manager.

Working conditions

Hours

You would need to be flexible about your working hours, which could be long and irregular. You may need to work in the evening, at night or at the weekend. This could depend on when artists and producers are available.

Environment

You would mainly work in recording studios. Conditions in studios may vary. Some may be large and air-conditioned and others small and cramped.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working with your hands
  • Using computers
  • Being creative
  • Time management
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no set entry qualifications required to enter this job but qualifications and experience of sound technology and the music industry such as a Higher National Diploma in Sound Production (SCQF level 8) will be of value. 

You can enter some Sound Production National Certificate or National Qualification courses (SCQF 2-6) with no formal qualifications but most courses ask for National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications. 

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) in areas like sound production, music technology or audio engineering usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers or a relevant HNC/HND.

If you choose to study to degree level, then relevant HNC/D qualifications may support entry into second or third year of some degree courses.

To enter a postgraduate course (SCQF level 11) you will usually require an honours degree in a relevant subject.

Another way into this job would be to start as a runner or an assistant in a recording studio and learn on the job.

Useful subjects

Depending on the course, some of these will be required:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Music
  • Music technology
  • Physics
  • Technologies subjects such as ICT or engineering science

You will also need

A good knowledge of music and recording technology.

Helpful to have

It may be useful to understand physics and electronics.