Audio Engineering

Audio Engineers work in many different areas including recording and producing music for CDs, radio, television, motion pictures, and video games. They may also set up and run PA systems for concerts, festivals, sporting arenas, conventions, churches, live theater and nightclubs. Audio techs are responsible for recording or reinforcing live sound with all the instruments in proper sonic balance and clarity. In addition to having a "good ear" and an understanding of music, they must have a thorough knowledge of acoustics, microphones, mixing boards, signal processing and digital audio software.

What program does SFCC offer?

SFCC offers an Associate in Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.) and a Professional Certificate in Audio Technology. The program is the only one of its kind currently offered in Eastern Washington. It prepares students for jobs in digital audio production, analog and digital recording, live sound engineering, sound design, and as technicians in the broadcast and audio-visual industries.

Areas of study include: computer-based music technology software; digital and analog recording techniques and procedures; acoustics; microphone design and placement; signal processing and effects; songwriting, arranging, and film scoring; live sound reinforcement, location recording, system set-up and maintenance; music business; basic music theory and piano.

Audio equipment

Audio Engineering Application Process

The Audio Engineering program is now full for 2015-2016. On April 1, 2016, we will begin accepting applications for Fall 2016. All prospective students to the Audio Engineering Program need to follow and complete the steps listed below.

It is essential that you maintain an active email account so that we may provide all information needed in a timely manner.

To be admitted to the program, all applicants must complete and/or submit:

    • Complete an online application. On your application, be sure to indicate Audio Engineering (#212) as your program intent.
    • If you have already submitted a college application, update your program code to indicate Audio Engineering
    • For general information about admissions, contact the Admissions Office at 509.533.3365

  2. PLACEMENT TESTS: Complete placement tests in reading, writing, and math.
    • Visit the Assessment Testing website to schedule an appointment or call 509.533.3401. The reading and writing placement test at SFCC is the COMPASS. The math placement test is My Math.
    • Bring your placement scores to your interview. Applicants who have taken placement exams at another accredited institution of higher education may submit their placement scores from that institution.
    • Applicants who have completed coursework in Math 99 and English 101 or equivalent coursework at SFCC or another institution may bring a hard copy of transcripts to the interview in lieu of placement test scores.

  3. A WRITTEN ESSAY: In a one to two-page essay (typed or neatly hand-written), answer the following questions:
    • What is your personal interest in the Audio Engineering Program at Spokane Falls?
    • What experience do you possess in music and/or audio engineering?
    • What are your future goals?
    • The essay may be submitted by email to audioengineering@sfcc.spokane.edu. Please bring a hard copy to your interview.

    • After April 1, contact us at audioengineering@sfcc.spokane.edu to schedule an interview. Interview dates will be determined at a future date (May and/or June).
    • Include your name, student ID, and telephone number
    • You will be notified by email of your interview date and time. It is essential you maintain an ACTIVE EMAIL ACCOUNT. If for any reason you do not receive interview information within a week of contacting us, please follow up by telephone (509.533.3212). It is important to us that you are not overlooked.
    • Your interview will be 15 minutes in length. Plan to arrive 10 minutes early. Applicants must be on time to be considered for admission.
    • Bring to your interview hard copies of your placement scores and your essay

In review, here are the steps in order:

  1. Complete your college application
  2. Take your placement tests
  3. Schedule your interview
  4. In preparation for your interview, write your essay

Thank you for your interest in Audio Engineering at Spokane Falls. We look forward to meeting you.

Email: audioengineering@sfcc.spokane.edu
Telephone: (509) 533-3212

What Classes Do I Take?

Instructor and Students

During the first year of the program students will learn the basics of studio recording, acoustics, live sound reinforcement, and digital audio workstations (DAW’s), as well as receive instruction in functional piano and music theory. In the recording studio students learn mixing console signal flow, studio procedures, and microphone techniques while they participate in live recording sessions. In the MIDI lab, using the latest DAW software and operating systems, students develop basic mixing, editing and Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) production skills.

The second year of the program provides advanced study and implementation of the aforementioned skills as well as internship opportunities at local recording studios, radio stations, and post production facilities. Second year students further develop skills in music theory and composing/arranging for film and multimedia applications.

The associate’s degree program can also serve as a transfer program in the event that a student wishes to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Music Technology/ Audio Engineering at applicable colleges and universities.

Where can I get a job?

Student using Audio Equipment

There are many pathways to employment in the field of audio engineering including work in recording facilities, postproduction studios and live sound venues. The increasing popularity of video games and multi-media production has led to increased demand in the gaming and web industries for skilled audio technicians well versed in digital and analog technology. The Inland Northwest has seen a steady growth in the entertainment and recording industry. With venues such as the Spokane Arena, Opera House, Spokane Expo Center, Northern Quest Casino, numerous nightclubs, festivals and concert venues, recording studios, live theaters, houses of worship, etc., jobs are increasingly available for trained audio engineers. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) employment predictions, jobs for sound engineering technicians will increase by 9 percent, about as fast as average for all occupations, from 2012-2022. Audio Visual Technicians can expect faster than average job growth at 14 percent.

Potential Positions Include: studio recording/mix engineer, editor, live sound engineer, AV technician, Foley artist, and MIDI programmer.

How much can I earn?

Income varies dramatically within the industry. Starting hourly wages can range from $16 to $22 while successful recording studio engineers and producers can make well over $100,000 per year.

What else should I know about the field of audio technology?

Audio Engineers have many and diverse opportunities for employment as stated above. Like the music business as a whole, it is very competitive. Those that have an intense desire to learn the intricacies of sound, the essentials of signal flow, the complexities of digital audio, and develop their understanding of music itself, can look forward to an interesting and rewarding career. Those with compositional skills and an understanding of the music business will have an even greater chance for success.

Gainful Employment Disclosure

Frequently Asked Questions

Students in a recording session

Why is there an application process?

Students are more likely to succeed in our program if they know the program in detail prior to entry. Also, we are better equipped to advise students wisely when we know their knowledge and goals upon entry. Lastly, if Audio Engineering is not a good fit for you, we are available to guide you in the evaluation of other educational opportunities at Spokane Falls.

What happens when more students are interested in Audio Engineering than program capacity allows us to admit?

Audio Engineering is an open access program. As long as there are seats in the program and you have completed the admissions process, you will be admitted. Historically, however, about 120 or more students express interest in and/or apply for the program. Program capacity is 40. When student applications exceed program capacity, a committee evaluates students based upon a holistic scoring process that takes into consideration:

  • Placement scores in reading, writing and math
  • Communication skills (spoken and written)
  • Musical experience/background
  • Audio engineering experience
  • Motivation and goals

These criteria are predictors of student success in the program. For example, in many of the Audio Engineering Program courses, it is beneficial for students to possess some musical background: Music Theory, Piano, Midi Arranging, and Digital Audio I-VI. Similarly, it is beneficial across the curriculum to be a skilled reader (as students must absorb large amounts of complex information through reading). However, no student is excluded from consideration based upon any one criterion. You may not be the strongest reader in the world, but your experience with audio engineering software may more than offset that. We honor the unique strengths of every student and consider their overall preparedness.

What happens if I am not admitted?

SFCC offers students many choices. The most common degree is the Associate of Arts. In addition, we offer an Associate of Science Transfer, an Associate of Fine Arts, a wide range of Associate in Applied Science degrees, and career-technical certificates.

What should I know about the program?

There are several things you should know about Audio Engineering at Spokane Falls.

  1. Audio Engineering is Fall Quarter entry—meaning all students in the program enter in the Fall together and travel through the program together. A motto of Audio Engineering is “La Familia.” We are one family, one cohort, all students together for the full two years. Cohorts are a proven model for academic success, as cohorts nurture student bonds, creating an organic and continuous support network. When you join Audio Engineering, you join a collective dedicated to the success of all.
  2. Our classes go in order, each class preparing you for what is to come. Every class is offered once per year. You must pass your classes to continue forward through the program.

When students drop out of a course or program, it is called “attrition.” On average for the college, attrition is about 30%. In 2009-2010, attrition in Audio Engineering is well below the college average. Our students work extremely hard and receive exceptional academic support. When you make the decision to join us and pursue an education in Audio Engineering, we ask for your dedication. Audio Engineering is an expensive program paid for by the people of Washington State. We provide students an extraordinary instructional team and state-of-the-art equipment; therefore it is incumbent upon every student who accepts a seat in the program to fulfill the hopes and dreams of our state.

Community Colleges of Spokane does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, or age in its programs, activities and employment. Furthermore, Audio Engineering is committed to diversity, cultural awareness, and intercultural fluency. We have zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior and/or language; we maintain – and expect students in the program to maintain – an uncompromised atmosphere of mutual respect.

Contact Information

Students Using Audio Equipment
Address: Professional/Technical Programs
C/O Spokane Falls Community College
Mail Stop #3011
3410 Fort George Wright Drive
Spokane, WA 99224-5288
Phone: (509) 533-3212
Email: AudioEngineering@sfcc.spokane.edu

Contact information is listed below. Select the email link to send an email. For general program information, contact the senior secretary. The globe icon Globe Icon identifies faculty web sites. Click the globe to visit the site.

Contact information is listed below. Select the email link to send an email. For general program information, contact the senior secretary. The globe icon Globe Icon identifies faculty web sites. Click the globe to visit the site.

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