Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.

Career and Education Opportunities for Sound Engineers in Columbia, Maryland

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for sound engineers in the Columbia, Maryland area. About 370 people are currently employed as sound engineers in Maryland. By 2016, this is expected to grow 19% to about 440 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for sound engineers are expected to grow by about 6.3%. Sound engineers generally operate machines and equipment to record, synchronize, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects in sporting arenas, theater productions, or movie and video productions.

Sound engineers earn approximately $19 hourly or $39,740 per year on average in Maryland. Nationally they average about $22 hourly or $47,490 annually. Earnings for sound engineers are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Media Technical in Maryland and better than general Media Technical category earnings nationally. People working as sound engineers can fill a number of jobs, such as: film sound coordinator, musical engineer, and mechanical sound technician.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can study to be a sound engineer, among 109 schools of higher education total in the Columbia area. Given that the most common education level for sound engineers is a post-secondary certificate, you can expect to spend a short time training to become a sound engineer if you already have a high school diploma.


Sound Engineer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, sound engineers operate machines and equipment to record, synchronize, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects in sporting arenas, theater productions, or movie and video productions.

Sound engineers report equipment problems and insure that required repairs are made. They also assemble and adjust recording equipment for recording sessions and live performances; tear down equipment after event completion. Equally important, sound engineers have to record speech and other sounds on recording media, using recording equipment. They are often called upon to regulate volume level and sound quality during recording sessions, using control consoles. They are expected to mix and edit voices, music, and taped sound effects for live performances and for prerecorded events, using sound mixing boards. Finally, sound engineers get ready for recording sessions by performing efforts such as selecting and setting up microphones.

Every day, sound engineers are expected to be able to note differences between sounds as they change tone and volume. They need to focus on a single sound in a noisy environment. It is also important that they understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for sound engineers to talk with producers and others to establish and achieve the desired sound for a production, such as a musical recording or a film. They are often called upon to reproduce and duplicate sound recordings from original recording media, using sound editing and duplication equipment. They also synchronize and equalize prerecorded dialogue and sound effects with visual action of motion pictures or television productions, using control consoles. Somewhat less frequently, sound engineers are also expected to keep logs of recordings.

Sound engineers sometimes are asked to separate instruments and other sounds, and combine sounds later during the mixing or postproduction stage. They also have to be able to develop musical instrument digital interface programs for music projects or film postproduction and keep logs of recordings. And finally, they sometimes have to regulate volume level and sound quality during recording sessions, using control consoles.

Like many other jobs, sound engineers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Audio Visual Technician. Set up or set up and operate audio and video equipment including microphones, sound speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, recording equipment, connecting wires and cables, sound and mixing boards, and related electronic equipment for concerts, sports events, meetings and conventions, presentations, and news conferences. May also set up and operate associated spotlights and other custom lighting systems.
  • Broadcast Technician. Set up, operate, and maintain the electronic equipment used to transmit radio and television programs. Control audio equipment to regulate volume level and quality of sound during radio and television broadcasts. Operate radio transmitter to broadcast radio and television programs.
  • Camera Operator. Operate television, video, or motion picture camera to photograph images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.
  • Film or Videotape Editor. Edit motion picture soundtracks, film, and video.
  • Photographer. Photograph persons, subjects, or other commercial products. May develop negatives and produce finished prints.
  • Technical Director. Coordinate activities of technical departments, such as taping, editing, and maintenance, to produce radio or television programs.


Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N Charles St, Mason Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218-2688. Johns Hopkins University is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,049 students and an admission rate of 26%. Johns Hopkins University has a bachelor's degree program in Recording Arts Technology/Technician which graduated four students in 2008.

Strayer University - Washington, DC

Strayer University, 1133 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005. Strayer University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 41,565 students. Strayer University has a master's degree program in Communications Technology/Technician which graduated thirty-three students in 2008.


Certified Technology Specialist-Installation: A Certified Technology Specialist Installation (CTS-I) installs and maintains audiovisual systems by following specifications,.

For more information, see the InfoComm International website.

Audio Systems: This certification program is for engineering technicians engaged in the layout, installation, and maintenance of audio systems for commercial, industrial, and large space applications.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Certified Broadcast Networking Technologist: This certification is designed for persons who wish to demonstrate a basic familiarity with networking hardware as utilized in business and audio/video applications in broadcast facilities.

For more information, see the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc. website.

Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer : The candidate for Certified Broadcast Radio Engineer must have five (5) years of suitable experience in broadcast engineering or related technology and must achieve a passing grade on the proficiency examination.

For more information, see the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc. website.

Certifed AM Directional Specialist: The SBE Program of Certification designed the AM Directional Specialist Certification to help evaluate an individual's ability to perform the necessary tasks to keep facilities operating properly.

For more information, see the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc. website.


Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.