Do you want to work as an animal sound recordist?

  • Read about the most important info you need to decide on following this career.
  • ​Follow the 7 points below and search for a tertiary institution near you for future studies. If you already are graduated, you may also search through our list of Jobs in the main menu.
  • If you want to PLAN the way you need to prepare, then join our community in step 8 where you will learn everything, while chatting with other potential recordists and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!


Mentor Avatar
Position Vacant

UPDATED: 12 October 2020

1. What is an animal sound recordist?

In general a sound recordist is a person that is skilled in recording sounds, such as during the filming of movies, or interviews by journalists, to be edited and used later during production.

An animal sound recordist is an individual who uses these skills and special sound recording equipment to capture or record the natural sounds made by animals, whether in captivity or out in nature. The recordings can then be used for different purposes.

Also known as:

  • Field Recordist
  • Production Sound Mixer
  • Nature Sound Recordist
  • Nature Sound Operator


Some of the earliest recordings were by Ludwig Koch in 1889 when he was just 8 years old


is the process by which a numbers of microphones are used to create a realistic atmospheric recording

2. What do they do?


Category: Media / Business / Wildlife Conservation / Marine Conservation / Zoos, Aquariums, Theme Parks & Museums


The primary focus of animal sound recordists is to capture the sounds made by the animals, so that the recordings might be used in either entertainment (used in films etc) or scientific research by biologists and ecologists.

Daily Tasks:

  • Discuss brief with clients
  • Maintain sound equipment
  • Set up vantage point from where sounds will be recorded
  • Record several takes of the sounds, and edit for clarity
  • Present work to clients
  • Administration and filing

Where they work:


Animal sound recordists will spend the majority of their time outdoors. Editing and administrative duties are performed indoors in an office setting.

Places of Employment –

Most animal sound recordists work freelance, or under contract. There are those who are permanently employed by film, TV, documentary producers, and research organizations, such as universities and ecological surveyors.

Average Salary:

As most animal sound recordists are self employed, their income is based on obtaining contracts. On average the income per year is around $45,000. This will differ from country to country.


The most difficult part of this career is the rugged terrain in which they sometimes work. Some of the recordings might need to be done in rural areas where there are greater risks of injury. They might also work tight deadlines and budgets. Frequent travel can interfere with family life.

​Future growth and Possibilities:

The field is highly competitive, and grows slightly by about 2% per year. One of the newest forms of promoting and selling recordings is through online libraries of stock field recordings.

3. Which Skills are required?

The skills required for a career as an animal sound recordist can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills:

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship

Career Skills:

  • ​Good business knowledge
  • Good handling and understanding of sound equipment
  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Excellent computer literacy (audio software)
Life Skills
Career Skills

4. Which Subjects must I have at School?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

5. What will I need to Study?

Minimum Requirements:

The minimum requirement to enter this career would be a College diploma 


Major –

It is advised to major in a course that focuses on Audio Recording or a related field.

Short Courses –

Even though your studies at College will prepare you for the equipment that you will use, additional short courses in audio mixing and editing equipment would be worth while in securing the best work. If you do want to work with animals specifically, then courses in a zoological field will be required.


The duration of College Diplomas and Bachelor’s Degrees can be up to 3 or 4 years. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

Possible Career Preparation Paths:

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Possible Combined Career Paths:

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):

Stepping Stone Career:

Being an animal sound recordist can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the other career is too difficult to reach (sometimes due to things like high fees etc).

You can begin as an intern after basic short courses and expert guidance (maybe working under a mentor). The money made can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience helps in gaining knowledge. One paying to help get to the other.

Some of the possible paths:

Training and apprenticeship:

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need as a cartoonist will be acquired through practice. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

In some cases entry level positions require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.

Apprenticeship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior recordist or sound engineer.

Join the Animal Sound Recordists Group in STEP 8 to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of all the people who enter the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

6. Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.

Although not required by law, certifications may help workers establish their credentials and enhance their skills.

Learn more about requirements by joining OZT in STEP 8.

Professional Associations:

7. Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards sound recording.

Animal Sound Recordist Career_opt

8. Join the OZT community

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming an Animal Sound Recordist.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being an Animal Sound Recordist, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu, and search for something different.

Other interesting Careers

Career Profiles and Resources

Career Mentors are Members who assist by volunteering to keep each Career Page factual and current, while mentoring Students in the related Career Group.

Learn More …

Contributions by expert members are always appreciated to allow the Students to make informed decisions. Please add your contribution through the attached Form:

Contribution Form

List of Career Mentors/Educators who have contributed to this Career info:


One Zoo Tree

A few pictures about the Career:

Some of the best websites to help you decide on the Career:

We believe in feedback from our users. Please rate the career info, or leave us a comment on how we can improve on it

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x