How to Become an Acoustics Engineer
Acoustics Engineer Careers & Degrees

Acoustics Engineering is a specific type of Engineering having to do with acoustics, sounds and vibrations.

These professionals are specialized in controlling and manipulating noise in order to create superior sounds in places such as auditoriums or concert venues.

When people talk about having gone to a concert and discuss whether the acoustics were on target or phenomenal, an Acoustics Engineer was probably involved in creating that desired result.

Acoustics Engineers are also mainly interested in eliminating any unnecessary noise which is referred to as noise control.

They follow noise ordinances in order to control the sound emanating from a rowdy concert in order for it to not become a public concern for neighbors in surrounding areas.

They also work with building codes using the structures unique design in order to implement sound control.

People who are interested and planning to become an Acoustics Engineer will need to have an interest in manipulating sound as well as have a strong background in Mathematics and Science.

Education Requirements to Become an Acoustics Engineer

In order to become an Acoustics Engineer, a person has to attend a four year institution and acquire a Bachelor’s Degree.

There isn’t a specific Engineering degree a candidate has to follow, however, following an Architecture or Architectural Engineering path will help strengthen a candidate’s background and specialize their skills in working with the layout of a building.

The following are other degrees people can focus on in order to become an Acoustics Engineer.

  • Science
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Physics
  • Architecture
  • Music
  • Math

In addition, some universities and colleges offer a Master’s Degree in Acoustical Engineering or Electro-Acoustic Engineering.

These programs use a handful of disciplines such as mathematics and science in order to teach students how to eliminate unwanted noises and control superior sounds.

Depending on the program they join, students will learn about sound and vibrations by taking courses such as:

  • Ultrasonic Noise reduction
  • Theories on Acoustics
  • Nonlinear Acoustics

Acoustics Engineer Job Description

Acoustics Engineers have a few goals in mind when they are performing their duties.

They are responsible for not only creating a venue which will produce superior sound for the desired acoustics; they also have a goal to keep the unwanted noises to a minimum in order to protect an audience’s health and the noise level within the facility.

Acoustics Engineers work in conjunction with other professionals such as Architects, Audio-Visual Engineers, Noise Isolation Engineers and Environmental Noise Engineers in order to create the perfect surrounding for optimum sounds and noise control.

Acoustics Engineers will take the information regarding a building and its structure in order to determine the effects the environment outside the building has inside the venue.

In addition, they take the information regarding the venue in order to control noise that can be emitted outside in order to satisfy noise ordinances.

Some typical job duties for Acoustics Engineers include:

  • Review building Architectural plans and layout
  • Review Engineering plans
  • Discuss space design, material selection and mechanical systems with team
  • Measure and analyze noise and vibrations made from outside the building and their impact on the inside of the building
  • Measure and analyze noise and vibrations from within facility and observe their impact on the outside

Acoustics Engineers must work as a team with other professionals in order to help produce the best acoustic environment for a venue.

Acoustics Engineer Salary and Career Path

According to BLS.gov, the average salary for an Acoustics/Sound Engineer is approximately $48,000 per year.

The salary range for these professionals is approximately: $35,000 to $100,000 per year.

Salary does depend on experience with someone with at least five years of experience in the field making about $50,000 to $60,000 annually.

Job openings for this industry are expected to grow steadily throughout the decade.

Candidates just getting started in the field should expect more competition from other qualified candidates.

However, the demand for such positions is expected to be higher in smaller cities.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$89,560
$48K
$62K
$89K
$105K
$137K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$88,560
Alaska$92,420
Arizona$88,520
Arkansas$70,470
California$98,050
Colorado$75,040
Connecticut$87,560
Delaware$86,760
District of Columbia$105,380
Florida$77,550
Georgia$104,470
Hawaii$83,430
Idaho$65,140
Illinois$84,430
Indiana$73,760
Iowa$81,370
Kansas$75,090
Kentucky$73,360
Louisiana$78,720
Maine$72,740
Maryland$92,190
Massachusetts$102,320
Michigan$81,870
Minnesota$99,870
Mississippi$66,110
Missouri$78,070
Montana- NA -
Nebraska$88,970
Nevada$78,320
New Hampshire$88,230
New Jersey$85,620
New Mexico$75,450
New York$106,910
North Carolina$82,010
North Dakota$72,990
Ohio$87,340
Oklahoma$73,660
Oregon$84,590
Pennsylvania$81,480
Rhode Island$79,210
South Carolina$85,510
South Dakota$79,400
Tennessee$79,040
Texas$94,030
Utah$74,240
Vermont$80,620
Virginia$86,180
Washington$83,480
West Virginia$75,830
Wisconsin$79,070
Wyoming$84,680
Guam$96,790
Puerto Rico$50,500

The top earning state in the field is New York, where the average salary is $106,910.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New York - $106,910
District of Columbia - $105,380
Georgia - $104,470
Massachusetts - $102,320
Minnesota - $99,870
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Architects, Except Landscape and Naval, OCC Code 17-1011, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat is an acoustics engineer?

Acoustics engineers, also known as acoustical engineers or sound engineers are engineers specialized in the field of sound and vibration.

Acoustics engineers usually focus on a specific field such as environmental acoustics, industrial acoustics, architectural acoustics or media and entertainment industry.

Those who specialize in environmental acoustics verify that factories are noise compliant; acoustics engineers who work in the industry sector try to find ways of reducing noise for workers.

Those employed in the entertainment industry work mostly on spaces, such as concert halls, auditoriums or theatres to ensure that the audience has a good acoustic experience.

Acoustics engineers may work with architects to help design buildings that have good acoustics.

An acoustic engineer’s work consists of maximizing the clarity of the sound while limiting unwanted sounds or noises.

If you want to become an acoustics engineer, you will need a strong background in mathematics and science.

QuestionHow much does an acoustics engineer make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for sound engineering technicians was $52,390 in May 2019.

The salary does depend on the employer, the level of experience, and the region; technicians who work in major cities usually earn more than those who work in small cities.

An engineer with several years of experience in the field can earn more than $70,000 a year.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become an acoustics engineer?

Acoustics engineers usually need a degree in physics or a related engineering field.

The cost of a bachelor’s degree in physics is around $47,000 a year.

In order to make sure that you receive the best possible education, you should enroll at a school that is accredited by government institutes.

Some colleges and universities also offer master’s degree programs in acoustical engineering.

QuestionWhat is the demand for acoustics engineers?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for broadcast and sound engineering technicians is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028.

The number of job opportunities available depends on the region and the local economy.

In order to have the best job prospects, you should hold a degree from a reputable school and also have a few years of experience in the field.

A master’s degree in acoustic engineering may also give you an advantage over the other competitors on the job market.

QuestionHow long does it take to become an acoustics engineer?

Getting the education needed to begin a career as an acoustics engineer will take you between 4-6 years.

The first step is to obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.

An undergraduate program in acoustics engineering may not be available in your area, however, a bachelor’s degree in physics or a related engineering field, such as mechanical or electrical engineering will help you start a career as a sound engineer.

A bachelor’s degree in physics can be obtained in approximately 4 years.

If you want to have better job prospects, you should consider applying to a graduate program.

Some colleges and universities also offer master’s degree programs in acoustical engineering, which are usually 2 years long.

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