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Career and Education Opportunities for Sound Engineers in Detroit, Michigan

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for sound engineers in the Detroit, Michigan area. There are currently 280 jobs for sound engineers in Michigan and this is projected to grow 9% to 300 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for sound engineers, which sees this job pool growing by about 6.3% over the next eight years. 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.

Income for sound engineers is about $16 per hour or $33,660 yearly on average in Michigan. Nationally, their income is about $22 per hour or $47,490 annually. Incomes for sound engineers are not quite as good as in the overall category of Media Technical in Michigan, and better than the overall Media Technical category nationally. Jobs in this field include: sound assistant, production director, and sound editor.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Detroit where you can study to be a sound engineer, among seventy-three schools of higher education total in the Detroit area. Sound engineers usually hold a post-secondary certificate, so it will take a short time to learn to be 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 Detroit 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.


Schoolcraft College - Livonia, MI

Schoolcraft College, 18600 Haggerty Road, Livonia, MI 48152-2696. Schoolcraft College is a large college located in Livonia, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,560 students. Schoolcraft College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Recording Arts Technology/Technician which graduated one and ten students respectively in 2008.

Lawrence Technological University - Southfield, MI

Lawrence Technological University, 21000 West Ten Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075-1058. Lawrence Technological University is a small university located in Southfield, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,318 students and an admission rate of 60%. Lawrence Technological University has one to two year, bachelor's degree, and master's degree programs in Communications Technology/Technician which graduated two, zero, and three students respectively in 2008.

Eastern Michigan University - Ypsilanti, MI

Eastern Michigan University, , Ypsilanti, MI 48197. Eastern Michigan University is a large university located in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 22,137 students and an admission rate of 75%. Eastern Michigan University has a bachelor's degree program in Communications Technology/Technician which graduated twelve 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.


Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan photo by Durova

Detroit is located in Wayne County, Michigan. It has a population of over 912,062, which has shrunk by 4.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Detroit, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Detroit are priced at $108,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, eighty-five new homes were built in Detroit, down from one hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Detroit are health care, educational services, and transportation equipment. For men, it is transportation equipment, construction, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 11.0% of Detroit residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Detroit is 27.0%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Detroit residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.7%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Detroit is home to the Memorial Park Marina and the Detroit Golf Club as well as Chene Park and Mallett Playground. Visitors to Detroit can choose from Corktown Inn, Clark's Motel and Days Inn of Downtown Detroit for temporary stays in the area.