[Diploma in Recording Arts]


At The Recording Arts Center (TRAC), our 12-month Diploma in Recording Arts prepares students for careers in music production, live sound, audio post-production, and other audio-related fields.

Get hands-on experience in our world-class studios, earn industry-recognized certifications, learn what it takes to succeed from our team of working professionals, and join a network of TRAC alumni who have gone on to work for Disney, Sony, Netflix, EastWest Studios, Remote Control Productions, Paramount Studios, United Recording, Ocean Way, and many other top names in the industry.



Our classrooms are designed to comfortably accommodate our maximum class size of 15 and enable instructors and students to seamlessly move between lecture and hands-on exercises. 

Student workstations are equipped with a MacMini, MIDI keyboard, and dual monitor display. Software includes Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, Premiere Pro, and plug-ins from our industry partners such as Izotope, McDSP, and Celemony.


Half of the 948 hours of instruction take place inside our world-class studios, allowing instructors to demonstrate real-world workflows on industry standard equipment.

Students are also able to book studio time outside of class to work on projects and collaborate with their peers. 

We believe that hands-on experience in real studios is an essential part of the practical education that sets our students apart.


Diploma in Recording Arts

The Diploma program provides a firm grounding in recording, mixing, and music production, while also allowing students to explore related industries such as post-production audio, video, and songwriting.

Over the year-long four-quarter program students progress through the 948 clock-hours of curriculum and book studio time with students in their own and other cohorts.

View the curriculum and course descriptions.

Graduates of our diploma program may also be eligible to apply for our Advanced Diploma program in Music Production and/or Post Production.

Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, TRAC offers veterans and their qualified dependents a full range of tuition and benefits.

We’re proud to serve those who have served our country, and our admissions department is ready to help you get the most out of your benefits and get you jump-started down your path in professional audio.

Click here to learn more.


Diploma in Recording Arts (1 year – 4 quarters)

Per Quarter:

  • Tuition: $7,107
  • Books: $250
  • STRF (State Tuition Recovery Fund) Fee: $18


Program Total

  • $29,500

Payment Options:

The Recording Arts Center at Studio West offers several flexible plans for paying tuition.  As a private school, The Recording Arts Center is not currently able to participate in Federal Student Aid programs.
Payment options for our Diploma program.
Our diploma in Recording Arts one-year diploma costs $29,500.
Option 1 is a pay-in-full for which we offer a $1000 discount, bringing the price to $28,500. Payment is preferred by check but Credit/Debit card is also acceptable. Full payment is due on enrollment.
Option 2 is a quarterly payment plan. We require a 25% deposit ($7,375) which is due upon enrollment. The subsequent payments are due at the beginning of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Quarters.
Option 3* would be 25% deposit and a payment plan which is amortized over 3, 4, or 5 years. There is an additional 8% interest added to the payment plan and payments would start in the 2nd quarter. 

* A credit check is required for all individuals interested in this option. Applicants under 21 years of age may be required to provide a co-signer for their application.

Veterans and qualified dependents may also take advantage of applicable benefits. See this page for more information.


Classes are held from 9am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. We break the day into two sessions, 9am to noon and 1pm to 4pm. Some days you will have classes all day; other days in the morning only or the afternoon only; and occasionally you’ll have a full day off. We schedule a ‘catch up’ week every quarter, during which there are no classes and students have the chance to catch up on projects. We also honor all public holidays. The program averages 20 hours per week. Students may book studio time in the evenings, weekends, and weekdays when classes aren’t scheduled.

We start a new Diploma Program every three months. Our next course starts on Monday, 5th August.

We are proud to offer benefits to Veterans and other eligible persons for our year long diploma program. You can find more details here.

Yes! Students in the Diploma Program get to book studio time weekly in our world-class studios throughout the course of the program.

Studios are open for student bookings Mon-Fri 9am-12 midnight, and Sat-Sun 10am-6pm.

Yes, in our 12-month Diploma, Avid certifications are a key element of the curriculum and you will have the opportunity to obtain Pro Tools ‘User’ and ‘Operator’ certifications in both Music and Post-Production over the course of the program.

All classes are held at our Rancho Bernardo location about 25 miles north of downtown San Diego. We have four classrooms with individual computer stations running Pro Tools, Logic, Ableton Live, Premiere Pro, and a wide range of audio plug-ins. Classes are also held in our studios.

Our instructors are industry professionals, many of whom have decades of experience. We’ve put together a team of professionals who have a passion not just for the work itself, but also for sharing their knowledge.

We have a maximum of class size of 15 students. In-studio classes have smaller group sizes to enable students to get hands-on with the gear. 


[We’re really, really proud]


TRAC Diploma graduates enter the world of Professional Audio with the confidence and skills that can only come from an industry-focused hands-on education. Our Alumni have found success across the instrustry, and whether they’re running live sound in major venues or on tour, engineering in some of the best studios in the world, establishing themselves as independent producers, or working on the next big blockbuster film, we couldn’t be prouder of our grads!

Jacob Powell


“I didn’t know anything about audio other than the fact that I wanted to do it as a profession. Even though I learned years worth of knowledge and experience at TRAC, I believe the biggest thing I gained from the program was my network. I got the job at SIR Studios NYC literally because a former classmate vouched for me. I even got recording gigs in Brooklyn with an Australian rapper and a Nepali producer as a result of a recommendation made from a former classmate in California. I also recorded an entire album with an artist I worked with as a student who happened to also live in NYC. I cannot say enough to stress the benefits of my time at TRAC. It has been a life changing and career advancing opportunity that I encourage anyone looking to go into this field to pursue.”

After graduating from The Recording Arts Center in May of 2016, Jacob interned at Studio West and at the La Jolla Music Society Summer Fest before landing a job as an audio engineer at SIR Studios in New York City.

Sam McCormick


“A lot of what we learned at TRAC is stuff that I do every day. I’m editing audio using techniques we learned, and the way we learned to do VO and Post sessions is exactly how we do it here. The classes in Studio A were probably the most profound experience I had in the program. The foundation in analog signal flow that we learned is essential to understanding the business. You can walk into any studio and that stuff is transferable.”

Sam graduated from The Recording Arts Center in January 2016, and interned first with Studio West, then with Hans Zimmer Studios, where he was quickly hired to assist with music for numerous television pilots. Currently Sam is working as an engineer and audio editor for Sony’s Playstation Studios.

Jordan Cantor


“It was always a dream of mine to work (at EastWest Studios.)You can feel the history here, it’s in the walls. A ton of what I learned at TRAC is stuff that I do every day now. Whether it’s setting up to track drums, knowing my way around Pro Tools, or knowing all of the mics and outboard gear. There’s a certain handfull of stuff that’s in every studio, and when I get an email from an engineer with their room setup, I’m able to know exactly what everything is and exactly how to set it up.”

Jordan graduated from the Diploma Program in 2021, and was immediately brought on as a runner at Larrabee Studios in LA, working under famed mixing engineer Manny Marroquin. She soon moved on to EastWest Studios where she currently works as Assistant Engineer for some of the world’s best engineers and producers.

Steven Groot


In October of 2016, Steven graduated from TRAC. A few days later he saw a posting for a Sound Mixer and Editor job at Turning Point, a non-profit Christian organization in Lakeside. The job required 5 years of experience. Without this experience, Steven applied anyway. After a lengthy interview process that required four meetings, he was the top candidate and was offered the full time position of Sound Mixer/Editor. Steven works collaboratively with members of the television, radio, and digital media teams to provide audio mixes.

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