[Practical education]


At The Recording Arts Center (TRAC), our 12-month Diploma in Recording Arts prepares students for careers in areas like music production, game audio, live sound, audio post-production, and video production. 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.

We’re all about results. That’s why our diploma program offers so much more than a piece of paper with a GPA. TRAC graduates launch their careers with the confidence that comes from doing real work in real studios.

We also offer software certification courses, evening classes for adults, and after-school and summer programs for youth.




Our classrooms are designed to comfortably accommodate our maximum class size of 14 and enable instructors and students to seamlessly move between lecture and hands-on exercises. 

Student workstations are equipped with a Mac mini, 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 takes place inside of our world-class studios, allowing instructors to demonstrate real-world workflows on industry standard equipment. Students are encouraged to book studio time outside of class to work on projects and collaborate with their peers. Some of our most successful students book well over 300 extra studio hours over the course of the program. We believe that hands-on experience in real studios is an essential part of the practical education that sets our students apart.

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.

Quarterly Breakdown

  • Digital Audio Workstations I

(DAW100 – 30 hours)

  • Computer Systems and Software

(CSS100 – 9 hours)

  • Principles of Studio Design

(PSD100 – 9 hours)

  • Introduction to Logic

(ILG100 – 30 hours)

  • Audio System Maintenance

(ASM100 – 15 hours)

  • Music History and Theory

(MHT100 – 66 hours)

  • Audio Recording Techniques I

    (ART100 – 42 hours)

  • Practicum I

(SWS101 – 6 hours + 30 hours studio time)

  • Digital Audio Workstations II

(DAW110 – 30 hours)

  • Mixing I

(MIX100 – 45 hours)

  • Business of Music 

(BOM100 – 30 hours)

  • Songwriting and Composition

(SNC100 – 36 hours)

  • Sequencing and MIDI Fundamentals

    (SMF100 – 30 hours)

  • Audio Recording Techniques II

(ART110 – 30 hours)

  • Practicum II

(SWS102 – 6 hours + 30 hours studio time)

  • Digital Audio Workstations III

(DAW200 – 30 hours)

  • Digital Video I

(DIV100 – 51 hours)

  • Audio Recording Techniques for Music

(ART100M – 30 hours)

  • Production and Arranging

(PNA100 – 24 hours)

  • Genre Specific Mixing

(GSM100 – 30 hours)

  • Live Sound Reinforcement

(LSR100 – 30 hours)

  • Portfolio Development I

(SWS103 – 6 hours + 30 hours studio time)

  • Digital Audio Workstations IV

    (DAW210 – 60 hours)

  • Digital Video II

    (DIV110 – 52 hours)

  • Audio Recording Techniques for Post Production

    (ART100P – 30 hours)

  • Career Planning and Development

    (CPD100 – 30 hours)

  • Audio Distribution Technologies

    (ADT100 – 12 hours)

  • Psychoacoustics

    (PSY100 – 9 hours)

  • Portfolio Development II

    (SWS104 – 6 hours + 39 studio hours)

For more detailed information on our curriculum, take a look at course descriptions by quarter. You can also check out our catalog or contact our admissions department for more information.


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.

Visit the GI Bill® Comparison Tool and search for “The Recording Arts Center” to learn more and calculate your benefits.

Chapter 35/Survivors & Dependents Assistance
Chapter 33/The Post 9/11 GI Bill®
Chapter 33/TEB/The Post 9/11 GI Bill® for Eligible Dependents
Chapter 31/Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
Marine Gunnery Sergeant John D. Fry Scholarship
Chapter 1606/Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve
Chapter 1607/Reserve Education Assistance Program


Per Quarter:

  • Tuition: $6,625
  • Books: $250
  • SRTF Fee: [included]

Program Total

  • $27,500
Payment Options:
The Recording Arts Center at Studio West offers several flexible plans for paying tuition. An Enrollment Deposit equal to the first quarter of tuition is enough to secure a space in an upcoming program.  For the remainder of the program, quarterly tuition payments are due at the start of each academic quarter.
If a student needs longer to pay their tuition, The Recording Arts Center offers monthly payment plans for up to 5 years at a competitive interest rate to qualified applicants through our partners at TFC Tuition Financing.
As a private school, The Recording Arts Center is not currently able to participate in Federal Student Aid programs.

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. Contact our admissions department for the next start date.

We are proud to offer benefits to Veterans and other eligible persons for our year long diploma program. Please contact us for further details on eligibility and benefits.

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 10am-10pm and Sat-Sun 10am-6pm.

Yes, 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.