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Career and Education Opportunities for Sound Engineers in Boston, Massachusetts

For those living in the Boston, Massachusetts area, there are many career and education opportunities for sound engineers. The national trend for sound engineers sees this job pool growing by about 6.3% over the next eight years. 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 earn approximately $16 hourly or $33,490 yearly on average in Massachusetts. Nationally they average about $22 hourly or $47,490 annually. Sound engineers earn less than people working in the category of Media Technical generally in Massachusetts and more than people in the Media Technical category nationally. Sound engineers work in a variety of jobs, including: broadcast engineer, sound mixer, and sound technician.

There are 151 schools of higher education in the Boston area, including four within twenty-five miles of Boston where you can get a degree to start your career as a sound engineer. Given that the most common education level for sound engineers is a post-secondary certificate, you can expect to spend a short time studying to be a sound engineer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Sound Engineer

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 Boston 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Sound Engineer Training

The New England Institute of Art - Brookline, MA

The New England Institute of Art, 10 Brookline Place West, Brookline, MA 02445-7295. The New England Institute of Art is a small school located in Brookline, Massachusetts. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,647 students and an admission rate of 45%. The New England Institute of Art has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Recording Arts Technology/Technician which graduated eighty-six and sixty-two students respectively in 2008.

Berklee College of Music - Boston, MA

Berklee College of Music, 1140 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215. Berklee College of Music is a small college located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,112 students and an admission rate of 44%. Berklee College of Music has a two to four year and a bachelor's degree program in Recording Arts Technology/Technician which graduated sixteen and twenty students respectively in 2008.

Suffolk University - Boston, MA

Suffolk University, 8 Ashburton Pl Beacon Hill, Boston, MA 02108-2770. Suffolk University is a medium sized university located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,783 students and an admission rate of 82%. Suffolk University has a bachelor's degree program in Communications Technology/Technician.

Nashua Community College - Nashua, NH

Nashua Community College, 505 Amherst St, Nashua, NH 03063-1026. Nashua Community College is a small college located in Nashua, New Hampshire. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,925 students. Nashua Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Communications Technology/Technician which graduated six and fifteen students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts photo by Ahonc

Boston is situated in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. It has a population of over 609,023, which has grown by 3.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Boston, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Boston are valued at $216,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were constructed in Boston, down from forty-eight the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Boston are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 35.6% of Boston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Boston is 8.2%, which is less than Massachusetts's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Boston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Brighton Congregational Church, Leslie Lindsay Chapel and Universalist Meeting House are some of the churches located in Boston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Episcopal Church.

Boston is home to the Metropolitan Water Works Pumping Stations and the Mystic Pier 1 as well as Schoolboy Stadium and Liberty Square. Shopping centers in the area include Legion Shopping Center, Longwood Galleria Shopping Center and Neponset Circle Shopping Center. Visitors to Boston can choose from Federalist Restaurant, Eco-Logical Solutions and Omni Parker Hotel for temporary stays in the area.