Want to start a career in Audio Engineering, but are unsure whether the salary of an audio engineer is worth investing your time and money? Unsure whether the ROI will be worth it, and wondering which city may be the best place to even begin your search in?
There’s a plethora of research and data out there that aims to guide you in the pursuit of your passion, but what information should you search for first? Maybe you’re curious how much an audio engineer salary could be within various industries. Whether it’s a career in live broadcast or a sound designer, we have the information you need to make noticeable changes in pursuing your career.
For you to decide if you even want to entertain the idea of making Audio Engineering a career, you should be wondering what to expect in terms of annual salary. Well, on average, Audio Engineers in the United States make anywhere from $30,000 to $82,000 a year, depending on your years of experience.
The next few questions you should ask are whether or not this career choice is future proof. According to BLS, the national average wages are up 2.1% and are projected to rise, with the industry to grow by 6% well into 2032. With all the different sectors you can work within, you should feel very secure in terms of job growth.
Salaries Flor Different Audio Engineer Roles
Audio Engineering isn’t just one job. There are various positions out there that’ll allow you to branch out into multiple mediums within and outside the music industry. So, let’s look at a few audio engineer salaries:
Responsible for obtaining all of the sound effects for a recorded or live production. Sets up the playback equipment, and makes sure the board operator is trained.
Salary Range: $35k – $94k
The sound recorder while filming; responsible for recording and balancing the audio effects on set.
Salary Range: $34k – $149k
Handles editing, creating, and recording sound
Salary Range: $30k – $82k
Sets up sound and recording equipment, makes adjustments, and tests the equipment while assisting with recordings.
Salary Range: $30k – $72k
Makes the final edits of a product and preps them for manufacturing copies.
Salary Range: $64k – $111k
Sets up client accounts, handles invoicing, installs, operates, and maintains the studio.
Salary Range: $30k – $73k
Radio Broadcast Engineer
Makes sure that programs are broadcasted on time and at the highest quality, while maintaining the systems.
Salary Range: $39k – $97k
Digital Audio Editor
Builds the soundtrack by cutting the picture in order to synchronize the sound elements. They work with dialogue tracks, recordings, and foley.
Salary Range: $36k – $43k
The Types of Industries:
Now that you have the run-down of the various jobs you can hold in the industry, you might be wondering what industries those jobs pertain to. Well, you can get a job within motion pictures, sound recording, radio & television, performing arts, video games, or be an independent contractor. Below you will find the different industries with their respective average salary estimates based on BLS employment data:
- Motion Picture – $80,320
- Sound Recording – $56,680
- Radio and Television – $51,500
- Performing Arts – $57,280
- Independents – 48,290
- Video Games – $35,000
- Music Industry – $56,670
Knowing the different salaries within the various entertainment industries, you should now start to think about where you should begin your career. Where are you going to have your best luck in terms of planting your seed to see your career blossom?
According to BLS, the states with the highest employment rates are California, New Jersey, Georgia, Washington, Tennessee, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Illinois. Let’s dive deeper by including the average pay expected within each state so that you can get a better representation of where you should start your journey.
- Jersey City, NJ – $79,490
- Sandy Springs, GA – $61,790
- Arlington, WA – $55,830
- Murfreesboro, TN – $56,570
- Henderson, NV – $57,790
- Fort Worth, TX – $65,530
- Salt Lake City, UT – $29,170
- Naperville, IL – $61,830
Salary is great, but how future proof is this career path. Well, according to the BLS, it’s estimated to grow 8% from 2018 to 2028. Companies are increasing their audio and video budgets since for streaming media, which will only continue to increase with every network looking to compete in the streaming wars.
If all else fails, the television and motion picture industry will continue to require audio technicians to improve sound quality. However, competition is fierce, and those with hands-on experience working with complex electronics and software will have the best job prospects. That’s why trade schools such as Dark Horse Institute are invaluable.
You’ve got all the necessary information regarding salary, location, and job outlook, but what next? How do you implement this knowledge in the real world, while simultaneously carving out a presence in this highly competitive field? Well, there are three main areas to focus on: accumulating connections, creating an online presence, and targeting your job search.
Leverage your connections
- Look for ways to connect wherever and however you can.
- Use your school mentor or the student services department to figure out a plan.
- Intern at a recording studio or offer to volunteer to gain necessary experience and connections.
- Find someone who can give you that break in the industry. Once you get your foot in the door, there’s no turning back.
- While leveraging your connections, make sure to be proactive and find ways to improve your music further and keep it fresh.
Establish an online presence
- In today’s age setting up a website or developing a presence in social media is necessary to showcase your work.
- Find out which network other engineers are using, which one makes sense for your brand, then push out your content, and again, connect.
- All of this helps you build a catalog of your work, who you’ve worked with, and credentials for potential clients to see.
- While posting make sure that you consistently produce good music with passion every time.
- Invest this time in yourself so that you won’t have to convince companies.
Target your job search
- Focus your job search on the field, industry, and the type of work you are passionate about.
- Look at the locations where those jobs accumulate the most.
- Look on LinkedIn, ask your mentor, or work with student services to find any possible leads within those areas.
All the information you need to begin your career is here. The time to begin is now, and in the end, the only competition you have is yourself. Spend every day working on improving your set of skills and sharpening them every day. Now get out there and begin your wonderful journey in audio engineering.