Acoustical engineers work with architects and engineers to ensure that
a building has good acoustics. That is, they make sure it sounds good.
Their work is especially important in performance spaces such as concert
halls. But these engineers work on everything from office buildings to college
They might ensure that factory machinery noise doesn't disturb workers
in a nearby office. Or they might design the perfect recording studio.
According to the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), acoustical engineers
can work in architectural settings or in musical acoustics. Some work in engineering
settings -- some machinery, including medical equipment, uses sound.
Acoustical engineer Kurt Milligan says that there is even a specialized
group that deals with highway noise.
"There's the whole other flavor of acoustical engineers that do highway
noise barriers. They look at, for instance, the truck traffic on a given road
and they look at the number of houses along that road. They figure out where
is [the] most economical place to put a barrier on this roadside."
Others work in noise control or in physical acoustics, which deals with
the way sound moves through the ground or water.
Acoustical engineers are likely to work for a firm of consulting engineers.
They usually work standard workweeks and days, but may occasionally work odd
Dana Hougland says that you may find yourself "taking measurements in the
middle of the night. You often have to go out when the background is extremely
Acoustical engineers can expect to travel often. That's because most large
North American firms pursue contracts worldwide.
Acoustical engineers must understand music, architecture, engineering and
physics. They also need to be able to work as part of a team. They work closely
with architects, construction engineers and others.