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Career and Education Opportunities for Sound Engineers in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Sound engineers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Grand Rapids, 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 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 about $16 hourly or $33,660 yearly on average in Michigan and about $22 per hour or $47,490 annually on average nationally. 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: disc recordist, mixing engineer, and sound recording technician.

The Grand Rapids area is home to nineteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Grand Rapids where you can get a degree 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 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 Grand Rapids 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.


Kuyper College - Grand Rapids, MI

Kuyper College, 3333 East Beltline N.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49525-9781. Kuyper College is a small college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 322 students and an admission rate of 86%. Kuyper College has a bachelor's degree program in Recording Arts Technology/Technician.


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: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan photo by Grguy2011

Grand Rapids is located in Kent County, Michigan. It has a population of over 193,396, which has shrunk by 2.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Grand Rapids, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Grand Rapids cost $98,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were built in Grand Rapids, down from ninety-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Grand Rapids are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 23.8% of Grand Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Grand Rapids is 15.4%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Grand Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Church of Jesus Christ, Immanuel Church and Trinity Church are among the churches located in Grand Rapids. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America.

Grand Rapids is home to the Kent Country Club and the Walker Juvenile Court as well as Comstock Riverside Park and Richmond Park. Visitors to Grand Rapids can choose from Hampton Inn Grand Rapids, Hampton Inn Grand Rapids/North- Mi and Hampton Inn Fax for temporary stays in the area.