Studio sound engineer

audio engineer recording engineer
Performing arts and media

Career outlook for studio sound engineer

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

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


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.


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





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Creative
  • Innovative
  • Resourceful
  • Problem solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Taking initiative

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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.


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.