You may be in the process of getting an audio engineering degree and preparing yourself to pursue a career in the audio industry. Before you leave school and jump into your job hunt though, have you wondered what working in the audio industry is really like? Careers in the audio industry do not necessarily follow the same schedule or path as other jobs, but it can still be exciting and rewarding! Keep reading to find out what is in store for you in your audio industry career.
Be Prepared for Long & Odd Hours
Working in the audio industry rarely means a regular 9-5 schedule. Recording sessions can take place at any time of the day, and if you are doing the mixing as well, this will add hours to your work day as you spend long hours at the mixing board. It is not uncommon for engineers to stay at the studio until late at night, only to come back again early in the morning for another session with another artist.
If you are freelancing, your hours will vary even more. Some days you may be on location at a session, making for 10-12 hours days, with your hours being dictated by whoever hired you for that project. On days that you are working from home (or wherever you choose to work from) you can set your own hours, but there will be times when you are working all night in order to meet a deadline for a client.
Odd hours like these are why it is important that you love what you do! If you are passionate about the work you are doing, long hours like these will be easier to handle!
How much will I make?
In the audio industry, pay can range widely. If you are freelancing, you will have certain clients who have higher budgets than others, therefore making those jobs more profitable than others. You may also go through periods when you have a lot of projects on the go and are bringing in a lot of income, and other periods when jobs are harder to find. If you are permanently employed at a studio or elsewhere, you income will be steadier, but again will vary depending on the size of the studio, your experience and responsibilities, and other factors.
On average, the starting salary of an audio engineer, for example, is around $20,000 per year, and then as you gain experience and begin to move up in the industry, salaries can increase up to $150,000 per year or more.
Working with People
Throughout your career in the audio industry, you will be required to work with a wide variety of people. You will have to be prepared to work under pressure and meet the demands of all the different people you will be working with. With temperamental artists, demanding corporate clients, producers, and more, you will have to become very good at dealing with people. It is crucial that no matter how easy or difficult each person is to work with, you know how to work with them professionally and diplomatically.
There is no set career path
The audio industry is diverse, and your skills will be applicable to a number of different jobs across different sectors of the industry. This means that your career path will likely not be as straightforward as you are imagining it. At the start of your career you may need to take odd jobs that are not necessarily in the sector you are aiming for in order to gain the experience necessary to move forward in your career. The audio industry can be hard to break into, so take the jobs that you can in order to build your resume.
Who You Know Often Matters More Than What You Know
Unfortunately, success in the audio industry is heavily based on your network and connections. This does not mean that you shouldn’t also focus on building your portfolio and widening your skill set, but as you do so, make sure you are forming positive relationships with each person you work with. You never know who is going to be able to help you in the future or who may be important in helping you reach the next level of your career!
Be Prepared for Lots of Problem Solving
In the audio industry, there will always be problems on a project, and you will have to be able to work through them professionally and efficiently. Also, no matter how long you have been in the industry, there will always be new problems that arise. Because of this, you will not be able to rely on a formula for solving issues, you will need a unique solution for each unique problem. This can seem daunting, but soon you will develop such strong problem solving skills that you will be able to handle any problem that comes at you without any hesitation!