How to become an audio engineer: Tommy's story

"Despite the challenges that come with being self-employed in the creative industry, I really love what I do."

  • Tommy was interested in music from the age of 12, when he started guitar lessons, and he studied Music at GCSE

  • He initially intended to study Politics at university, but he deferred (delayed starting his course) and volunteered with a local community organisation where he taught music to young people, which led him back down a musical career path

  • He changed his degree course to Music and, whilst at university, formed an alt-rock band, New Luna

  • After completing an internship at a music studio after university, he started to work freelance as an audio engineer, recording music. He is now able to produce his own band's music. Whilst self-employment is challenging, it is also really exciting and he feels his band is heading in the right direction.

What to expect if you want to be an audio engineer

  • Audio engineer salary: Variable ranging from £15,000 to £40,000 per year
  • Audio engineer working hours: 39 to 41 hours per week

What qualifications do you need to be an audio engineer?

  • Typical entry requirements:
    • You can get into this job through a university course, a college course, an apprenticeship or specialist courses run by private training providers.
    • You could do a foundation degree or degree in Sound Engineering and Production, Audio Engineering or Music Production.
    • You'll usually need at least one A-level (or equivalent) for a foundation degree and two to three A-levels (or equivalent) for a degree. You could take a college course like Level 3 Diploma in Sound Production or Level 3 Diploma in Music Technology.
    • You could complete a creative venue technician or technical theatre advanced apprenticeship, which have options in sound.
    • You could start as a runner or an assistant in a recording studio and work your way up by learning basic tasks and making contacts.
    • You can also work on community music events, DJ projects, hospital or community radio, or mix and record music in a home studio and post your work online.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

How I turned my hobby into a career
Six myths about freelancing: Busted!
Grace: composer