Acoustics engineers are experts on how to control noise and vibrations. For example they might work on how to reduce the noise and vibrations experienced by people inside a building, or when using tools like hairdryers or heavy machinery.
This blog is based on a profile in Unifrog's Careers library, a tool where students can learn about hundreds of careers, and how they fit into the world of work. The above video is sponsored by the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology. We chatted to Sophie Bloodworth, Acoustics and Vibration Engineer at Dyson, about her experience of working in this role.
What you'll do as an acoustics engineer
Your day-to-day duties could include carrying out noise assessments on buildings to make sure they meet building regulations, exploring how sound vibrations affect machinery and structures, and finding ways to make noisy products like hair dryers and building machinery quieter.
You could also spend time advising architects and civil engineers, or giving specialist advice in legal cases.
“Most days you'll find me working through test data to steer product development. To do this, I usually write code in a programming language called MATLAB to plot graphs and analyse data.”
Working hours and environment
You’ll work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, or on a shift system, depending on the job. Some projects may include unsocial hours or overnight stays away from home.
Your time would be split between the office, the lab, and on site.
Career path and progression
With experience and further training, you could gain chartered status with an organisation like the IOA (UK), or Board Certification with INCE (USA). You could then progress to a more experienced role, like senior acoustics engineer or senior acoustician.
You may also choose to further your knowledge through a master's degree or PhD.
You’ll need a creative and practical approach to solving problems, and the ability to explain design plans clearly. You’ll also need excellent IT, project management, and organisational skills.
"I particularly enjoy the practical application of problem solving. In my team there is a clear link between theory and practice and it’s really rewarding to see physical tests matching a simulated or theoretical solution. I also love seeing products that we have worked on being launched to market, especially when an acoustics claim is a selling point!
You’ll usually need a degree in a relevant subject, like acoustics, maths, physics, or engineering.
If you've got a degree in environmental science or music technology, you’ll need an additional qualification in acoustics to give you the skills needed by the industry, like an MSc in acoustics.
You could start work as an assistant or trainee technician and, with further training, qualify as an engineer or consultant.
Employers may also consider alternative qualifications, like an acoustic technician apprenticeship, or relevant work experience.
"My first job was here at Dyson as an Undergraduate Engineer. After finding out about the opportunity in a news article, I applied alongside a few other degree apprenticeships as well as traditional UCAS options. After attending the onsite assessment day, I was really excited by the opportunity here at Dyson."
Labour Market Information (LMI)
Here’s some data on acoustics engineer jobs in the UK and USA as of 2023. On the actual Careers library profile there is lots more LMI.
UK (for engineering professionals)
USA (for drywall and ceiling tile installers)
Average yearly salary
9.1% more jobs (2017-2027)
4.9% more jobs (2020-2030)
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