How To Become an Acoustic Engineer in 6 Steps

Acoustical Engineering is a sub-section of engineering, a science of designing and building structures and machinery – but this area deals specifically with sound and noise vibration.

You can become an acoustic engineer by following these general steps:
  1. Earn your bachelor’s degree. …
  2. Take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. …
  3. Gain experience. …
  4. Earn a postgraduate degree. …
  5. Take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. …
  6. Get your license.

How to become an Acoustic Engineer (HARMAN)

What does an acoustic engineer do?

An acoustic engineer could have many duties based on the industry in which they work. Here are some of their duties:

Manage noise control

Construction companies hire acoustic engineers to help design and create spaces that enhance the quality of sound, like music venues or sports stadiums. They also work with sound outside of buildings so that they comply with local noise ordinances.

They also consult on projects when noise may disrupt an environment, like a new highway or industrial or commercial zone. They are responsible for measuring, monitoring and mitigating noise pollution.

Help design interiors

Acoustic engineers help design interiors that minimize sound traveling within buildings, like between apartments or office spaces. It is the engineers job to consult on architectural plans, layouts and building materials to ensure cost-effective noise control.

The entertainment industry also has a growing demand for acoustic engineers. In this industry, acoustic engineers use their knowledge of sound and vibrations to help design and build recording studios that improve the quality of sound.

Consult on equipment

Acoustic engineers can have vital roles in creating equipment for entertainment and healthcare. Some acoustic engineers work in audio engineering, designing sound systems in the entertainment industry. They can also help develop technology for improving sound, such as hearing aids, or technology that uses vibrations, such as ultrasounds.

What is an acoustic engineer?

An acoustics engineer is responsible for designing, analyzing and controlling vibrations and sounds for various purposes. They generally consult on the effects of vibrations and sound that are present or expected in a particular environment. Acoustics engineers often work in teams with other engineers and architects in order to collaborate on efficient building plans or equipment.

How to become an acoustic engineer

You can become an acoustic engineer by following these general steps:

1. Earn your bachelors degree

Most acoustic engineering jobs require a bachelors degree from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Some schools offer bachelors degrees in acoustic engineering specifically. However, you can pursue an acoustic engineering career with a more general degree in a relevant area of study like engineering, math, physics, electrical engineering or music. Its important that you take coursework that can demonstrate a strong understanding of mathematics and physics.

2. Take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam

The Fundamentals of Engineering exam is referred to as the Engineering in Training exam (the EIT) in some states. This exam is open to anyone who has a bachelors degree or is in their final year of earning a bachelors degree in engineering or a related field. This test is the first of two tests that you must take to become fully licensed as a professional engineer.

3. Gain experience

Many people gain experience while still earning their bachelors degrees through work placements or summer internships. That experience can help you be a more attractive candidate for jobs.

If you dont have experience, you can find an entry-level job as an assistant. During this time, you may work with more experienced or senior-level engineers who train you in company policies and practices, as well as more specific acoustic engineering techniques and updated machinery.

Job experience is often the best way to understand the basics of the field. This experience is important to the success and growth of your career in acoustic engineering. As you work in your field to gain experience and knowledge, you may gain access to more responsibilities and opportunities.

4. Earn a postgraduate degree

Many employers require a masters degree, especially to work in specialized fields or earn more responsibilities and higher pay. A masters degree in acoustic engineering may require you to pick a specialization, such as:

If you are interested in an academic career in acoustic engineering, like becoming a professor or conducting academic research, consider pursuing a doctorate in your chosen specialization.

5. Take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam

The Principles and Practice of Engineering exam, or PE, is the second exam you must take to become a fully licensed professional engineer. You have the option to take this exam as soon as you are FE certified. However, the knowledge you gain from your work experience and masters degree studies may be useful. Consider waiting to take the test until you have completed your studies and gained some experience.

6. Get your license

If you are interested in working on projects for public structures, like highways or government buildings, every state and the District of Columbia requires licensing of some kind. To become licensed as a professional engineer (P.Eng.), you need the following:

Individual states may have additional licensing requirements. Do some research into the requirements of your state or region so that you can be sure you have everything you need to get your license.

What additional skills does an acoustic engineer need?

Besides technical knowledge, acoustic engineers can benefit from having the following skills:

Teamwork skills

Whether they are working in construction or building sound equipment, acoustic engineers are usually working within groups of people who all have different responsibilities. A successful acoustic engineer can work well with others and collaborate when necessary.

Written and verbal communication skills

Writing reports and communicating complex ideas with clients and team members can be a large part of the job. Strong written and verbal communication skills can help an acoustic engineer be more productive when speaking in meetings and collaborating on reports with their team.

Problem-solving skills

Acoustic engineers rely on their ability to recognize and manipulate how sound moves. A successful acoustic engineer uses this ability to solve client problems with noise control or sound quality. No matter what industry they are working in, creative problem-solving can be an asset to an acoustic engineer.

FAQ

How long does it take to become an acoustical engineer?

Employers typically require acoustic engineers to have at least a 4-year degree in electrical engineering or a similar field. Some engineering programs allow students to focus on specific areas of acoustic engineering, such as sound system engineering or vibrations.

What does it take to become an acoustic engineer?

Typically, you’ll be qualified for a job as an acoustical engineer after completing a bachelor’s degree. Acoustical engineering programs may not be available at the undergraduate level, but relevant majors can include physics, mechanical engineering, mathematics or electrical engineering.

Are acoustic engineers in demand?

Acoustical engineers are in demand, mostly in the environmental sector, and over the next 5 years considerable growth is expected. Some figures project an increased demand for Acoustical Engineers at around 10% – higher than standard engineering jobs.

What does a acoustical engineer do?

An acoustical engineer is an engineer who specializes in the science of sound and vibration (physics). Their primary function is the control of noise or vibration that can affect individuals, and the improvement of the sound environment for the population.

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