The future of music

15 Best Audio Engineering Schools in the US

December 29, 2023
Best Audio Engineering Schools in the US

If you’re interested in getting a degree in audio engineering, there are so many places in the US to choose from.

That said, you should do some serious research before making a final decision. 

To make things a bit easier for you, we rounded up the best audio engineering schools in the US.

All of these schools are widely known for their quality programs and world-class facilities, and they are an excellent choice for anyone looking to enter the field.

1. Berklee College of Music

Berklee College of Music, one of the best audio engineering schools in the US.

On the list of the best music schools in the world, Berklee College of Music is always somewhere at the top.

That said, Berklee is arguably one of the best places to study audio engineering.

They offer many music production and audio engineering programs (both majors and minors), including:

  • Bachelor of Music in Independent Recording and Production 
  • Bachelor of Music in Music Production and Engineering
  • Minor in Recording and Production for Musicians
  • Specialization in Audio Post-Production
  • Specialization in Commercial Record Production

As a Berklee student, you would have an opportunity to attend some of the best audio engineering classes in the US and learn and practice in their state-of-the-art facilities.

Berklee is also known for yielding great results with their students – their alumni earned 310 Grammy Awards and other prestigious awards in the industry.

That said, a Berklee degree would definitely give you an edge over competitors.

Berklee also offers online audio engineering programs ideal for those interested in distance learning.

These online programs don’t require an application, see below!

Berklee College of Music Online - Music Production Specialization

Develop your creativity as a music producer. Learn the art and technology of music production to create professional music compositions.

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2. SAE Institute 

SAE Institute, one of the best audio engineering schools in the USA. 

SAE Institute is another great option for people interested in studying audio engineering.

It stands out from other schools because of its numerous locations – it has over 50 campuses in more than 20 countries.

In the US, they have locations in New York City, Miami, Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, and Nashville.

More importantly, the Institute offers well-designed audio engineering courses taught by experienced industry professionals. 

Their programs are focused on practical, immersive training, creative collaboration, and learning in industry-relevant studio environments.

3. Drexel University

Drexel University for audio engineering.

Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Music Industry Studies.

The program is consistently ranked as one of the best music business schools in the country by Billboard Magazine.

It’s a four-year undergraduate program focused on the business, management, and technology of the music industry.

Therefore, it’s ideal for anyone interested in getting a broader knowledge related to the music industry. 

Also, Drexel students have a chance to work at Drexel’s independent record label, Mad Dragon Records. 

4. Middle Tennessee State University

Middle Tennessee State University

Middle Tennessee State University benefits a lot from its location – it’s right next to Nashville, known as the City of Music.

This outstanding audio engineering school provides hands-on learning in world-class facilities. 

And Billboard Magazine keeps listing the program as one of the top 10 U.S. schools for sound engineering and the music industry.

This is also one of the largest audio engineering programs in the country.

They offer a B.S. in Audio Production and a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Recording Arts and Technology.

All things considered, Middle Tennessee State University is definitely an excellent choice. 

5. Belmont University

Belmont University

Belmont University is nationally recognized for innovation and undergraduate teaching.

They offer a B.S. and a B.A. in Audio Engineering Technology, with courses focused on audio engineering, physics, electronic circuitry, and on.

And thanks to its proximity to Nashville, Belmont programs are popular choices for students who want to enter the music industry.

But students interested in studying at Belmont should be aware of their mission and values – they’re advertised as a Christ-centered university. 

6. American University

American University for audio production.

Located in Washington, D.C., American University is one of the top US universities for audio production.

They offer:

Their study programs blend the art and the science of audio with music technology.

And their core courses revolve around topics such as sound synthesis, audio production, electronics, physics, and using digital audio workstations.

Some of the Audio Technology courses include Fundamentals of Audio Technology, Audio Mastering, and Real-time Performance Workshop.

All of their lessons are well-designed and taught by experienced professionals.

Moreover, American University students have access to state-of-the-art technology and facilities.

7. UMass Lowell

UMass Lowell

Located in Lowell, Massachusetts, UMass Lowell is also among the top audio engineering schools in the US. 

Alumni of their Sound Recording Technology program have achieved high levels of success in a variety of industry segments. 

The program combines studies in electrical engineering, physics, computer science, and advanced mathematics, with traditional studies in music and various courses in the art and technology of recording.

They offer undergraduate and master’s degrees, and students can also earn a combined Bachelors’ and Master’s degree in five years.

8. Jacobs School of Music – Indiana University Bloomington

Jacobs School of Music - Indiana University Bloomington

Housed at Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music is another outstanding US music school.

Their Audio Engineering and Sound Production program is designed to prepare students for a variety of technical and creative careers in the entertainment industry.

With their multidisciplinary approach to courses and collaborations with other departments, they allow students to have a versatile studying experience. 

The program also provides hundreds of hours of hands-on experience working in state-of-the-art studios and performance venues.

Their facilities consist of two multitrack recording studios, two 5.1-equipped post-production studios, an electronics lab, and four audio control rooms.

That said, Jacobs School of Music is an excellent choice for anyone seriously interested in audio engineering.

9. NYU Steinhardt


NYU Steinhardt is one of the industry leaders in technology, teaching, and research.

And they have a reputation for being one of the top-performing schools for music production and audio engineering in the US.

They offer a Bachelor of Music (B.M.), Master of Music (M.M.), and Ph.D. in Music Technology. 

And they have a Tonmeister advanced certificate for graduate students. 

Their facilities are really impressive – they have thirteen studios, including the 7,500-square-foot James L. Dolan Music Recording Studio.

NYU Steinhardt is located in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, so students can also benefit from the proximity to famous recording studios, music publishing houses, and jazz clubs. 

10. Frost School of Music

Frost School of Music

Housed at the University of Miami, Frost School of Music offers undergraduate programs, graduate degrees and certificates, online programs, and community and summer programs.

Developed in 1977, their Music Engineering Technology program is the first program of its kind.

Frost undergraduate students are focused on traditional music studies and performance, history, and theory while learning about mixing, signal processing, and recording.

And they have an opportunity to learn in a world-class educational environment.

The school houses concert and recital halls, world-class recording studios and labs, a technology center, and a premier music library.

11. USC Thornton School of Music

USC/Thornton School of Music

Thornton School of Music is another top US audio engineering school.

It’s a conservatory-style music school housed at the University of Southern California.

Their Music Technology programs are ideal for students interested in integrating digital music production with other industry disciplines such as composition, performing, and live recording of acoustic instruments.

The school blends art and technology really well and offers its students the opportunity to learn with world-class faculty.

And since it’s located in the heart of Los Angeles, it provides close proximity to the world’s best entertainment centers, studios, and companies. 

12. Full Sail University

Full Sail University

Full Sail started out in 1979 as a recording school offering courses in audio engineering. 

Over time, the school has evolved into one of the best universities for studying sound engineering. 

Their programs include associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, as well as single courses and course stacks.

Full Sail University’s music and recording programs include:

  • Audio Production Bachelor’s
  • Music Production Bachelor’s
  • Recording Arts Bachelor’s
  • Show Production Bachelor’s

If you’re interested in a shorter program, you can check out their five-month Audio Arts Certificate program. 

Online audio engineering degree programs are also available at Full Sail. 

13. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University offers an excellent Music and Technology Bachelor of Science program.

The program is created as a joint project between the School of Music, the School of Computer Science, and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. 

Courses cover many relevant audio and music-related topics, including recording technology, audio engineering, computer music, music composition, music performance, music theory, and Pro-Tools.

Carnegie Mellon University also offers a Master of Science in music and technology focused on composition or performance, computer music systems, and instrument design. 

14. Musicians Institute

Musicians Institute

Located in Hollywood, Musicians Institute keeps its students close to top recording studios, entertainment centers, and clubs.

They offer a variety of campus and online programs with curriculums based on both traditional and popular techniques.

Some of the fields their studies cover include audio engineering, electronic music production, music composition, and studio recording.

Musicians Institute also offers an Independent Artist Program that provides students with the technical knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the music industry.

15. Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C)

Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) for studying audio engineering.

If you want to study audio engineering, you can also consider community colleges – they are much less expensive and usually take less time to complete.

Located in Cleveland, Ohio, Cuyahoga Community College is one of the best-rated community colleges in the US. 

They offer the Recording Arts and Technology program that leads to a Certificate or an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science in Recording Arts and Technology.

The program includes broad-based training in recording and music production, on-location recording, live sound, and event production, and music business and audio electronics courses. 

And most of the classes are held in the Gill and Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts, a world-class facility jointly managed with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

How to Choose an Audio Engineering School

As you can see, there are many great options for aspiring audio engineers out there.

Before sending an application, it’s important for you to do thorough research.

You can also visit a university you’re interested in if possible, especially if they have open days – that’s arguably the best way to get all the information you need.

Either way, you should choose a program that fits your goals, abilities, and needs.

So, consider the cost of the program, its location, and its requirements, and make a shortlist based on these factors and your priorities.

Once you have a shortlist, check their application requirements one more time to make sure you prepare everything.

Applying for college can be a long process, so make sure you start preparing on time – you don’t want to miss a deadline.

Also, it would be best to have several different options on your list.

Apart from the top audio engineering schools we mentioned today, there are many great universities and community colleges in the US worth checking out.

What Do Audio Engineers Do? 

Getting comprehensive audio engineering training started to be a requirement to enter the profession. 

The thing is, music production and audio engineering are highly competitive sectors in the industry, and career qualifications and requirements for audio engineers became more demanding.

That said, getting an audio engineering degree or certificate will undoubtedly help you improve your career prospects and give you an edge over competitors.

More importantly, an audio engineering study program will provide you with valuable experience and equip you with all the necessary skills to enter the field.

And professional audio engineers need to possess a special set of skills.

Audio engineer working at a theatre.

Audio engineering is a profession that involves the scientific, aesthetic, and technological aspects of producing audio.

So, audio engineers are usually responsible for recording, mixing, or reproducing sound, and they do so by utilizing special equipment and digital tools. 

Some of the techniques audio engineers use include:

  • Recording
  • Editing
  • Mixing
  • Mastering

Now, music producers use these techniques too, but they are also the managers and supervisors of the whole music production process.

On the other hand, audio engineers are technicians, and they are focused solely on the technical needs of the record. 

That said, audio engineers tend to work under the creative direction of the producer and the artist.

They often work in recording studios, venues, and theaters, but they can also work in film production, broadcasting, and at any events that use live sound and music.

Audio engineering is a very diverse field, and each job has its own set of responsibilities.

And that’s why most audio engineering schools have well-rounded curriculums that equip students with versatile skills and prepare them for different roles and tasks they might encounter in the future. 

Best Audio Engineering Schools – Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking about enrolling in an audio engineering study program, all of the universities we mentioned today are worthy of consideration.

They are regarded as the best audio engineering schools in the US for a good reason.

Most of them provide a well-rounded curriculum, hands-on learning, and the opportunity to study in world-class facilities.

But there are also many other good audio engineering programs out there, including community colleges, short courses, online programs, and so on. 

The important thing is to apply for a learning program that fully meets your needs.

You may also like: Best Music Technology Schools

Berklee College of Music Online - Music Production Specialization

Develop your creativity as a music producer. Learn the art and technology of music production to create professional music compositions.

We are a professional review website that may receive compensation for the products we review.

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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