You can get a Pro Tools certification any way you would like because regardless of where it’s from, they all hold the same weight. But if all certifications are created equal, all Experts are not.
Whether you’re a seasoned audio engineer or a hobbyist, Pro Tools certification allows you to stand out from the rest, and like the Master’s degree in audio engineering, it will make you more money. There are 3 types of PT certifications you can get, and each corresponds to a career path, user level, and hirability. Of those 3 types, User, Operator, and Expert, a User certification is more than enough to open some door.
Quicklook at the Best Schools for Pro Tools Certification
Best Pro Tools Certification Schools
- Full Sail: The full Pro Tools Certification Package
- Berklee Online: Pro Tools 101 & 110 Certifications
- AVID Education
- LA Film School’s LA Recording School: Pro Tools Certifications in LA
- Pro Media Training: Beginner Courses and Online Certification
1. Full Sail: The full Pro Tools Certification Package
As previously mentioned in my article Finding Full Sail, I got Pro Tools certifications in my first year at Full Sail, and though I went to Full Sail for an entire 2-year course set, certain courses can be parsed off, and the same rules still apply. With its “once you’re here, you’re family” approach, Full Sail is ideal for anyone who may see engineering as a secondary career, or loves a good refresher and always wants to be up on the latest certification without costing you an arm and a leg.
Your instructors at Full Sail for your Pro Tools certification can range anywhere from Grammy-winners to people who worked on the albums you grew up listening to and know Pro Tools like no one you have ever met before. With multiple buildings fully-equipped with sets of mixing, mastering, audio-post, live sound stages and recording studios Full Sail has the most versatile learning environment for every type of Pro Tools certification.
- Access: Full Sail offers the best in the world of entertainment technology. Whether you want to work in a post-house, on live television, in a concert hall or just mix from the comfort of your home, every one of these possibilities fully realized at Full Sail with the world’s latest tools and greatest legacies.
- The Faculty: You will never meet a person who knows more about Full Sail than walking into the Mix Palace or speaking to the Sessions teachers. Their knowledge is invaluable and spans pretty much any situation you could ever run into.
- The Environment: Full Sail is full of young hopefuls, and people who have waited their entire lives to realize their dreams, there’s something infectious to learning in that environment.
- Every Certification: Because of the access provided by Full Sail’s campus, it is one of the only schools on the list that you can receive every Pro Tool Certification available with an expert professional from the very field you may be trying to enter.
- Free Updates: Full Sail is pricey, but that price pays for forever, which means you can get recertified anytime you need to for a nominal administrative fee.
- It’s Orlando, Florida: Yes, Florida is as fun as it looks in pictures, but Florida is also as sketchy as the insane news stories that surface each year. Have you ever had the urge to throw an alligator through a drive-through window? Me either.
- Long Nights, Early Mornings: Full Sail is a 24-hour school, and I mean that in the literal sense. I loved it, but if you love sleep, you’re going to learn to love coffee more.
- It’s Pricey: Sure you can parse off the courses you need for a Pro Tools Certification, and it will probably be on par with some of its other competitors, but those numbers will add up, and unless you’re sitting on a lump sum of cash, you may need to because you probably won’t be able to work while at Full Sail.
2. Berklee Online: Pro Tools 101 & 110 Certifications
The premier school for musicians that want to work in the music industry, Berklee is a name that most music schools wish they could match. Their students are elite, and their musical prowess is infectious. Even though Berklee is not thought of as a music technology school, Berklee is a technical music school with a heavy emphasis on the arts in entertainment, so it comes as no surprise that Berklee officers Pro Tools certifications and they are as fully capable as any of their competitors, with a staff to match.
What sets Berklee apart from its competitors other than its name and status is that Berklee is the first school to offer a different sort of Pro Tools certification backed by Avid on its Berklee Online platform. Berklee’s Pro Tools certification includes cornerstone fundamentals like Pro Tools 101 and 110, but it mainly focuses on mixing and mastering from novice to expert level techniques. At 12 weeks a course, with 4 total courses for Berklee Online’s Pro Tool’s certification, you should be sure that you’re ready for online learning.
- It’s Online: You can do it on schedule. As opposed to the breakneck pace of Full Sail, Berklee Online treats each course as a 12-week intensive that generally not all that intense with a workload of no more than 10 hours a week.
- It’s Accredited: You can use the credits to transfer back to Berklee School of Music, or other accredited music schools if you would actually like to attend a semester while actually wearing pants.
- You’re not in Boston: Boston is a fun city, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to live there. Some who are editing this piece may disagree.
- Time Consuming: This course is 48 weeks, with a nearly 6k price tag, though in the grand scheme of things that number may be nominal and it can be paid over a period of time, you will never get back that year, and in that year, the certification that you receive could be for an older version of Pro Tools.
- It’s Online: While learning Pro Tools can be done within the comfort of your home, without the hands-on experience of being able to work with certain control surfaces and environments in a “lab” learning environment makes you completely reliant on the access that you already have.
- Missing Certifications: The certification course only goes through PT 101 and PT 110. Meaning, there is no real chance of moving into Operator or Expert certifications within the same school.
- Isolation: Working in the music industry is about making connections, so unless this is something that you plan on doing already years into your career, you need to have a strong network if you’re willing to do something like this without a tangible community of like-minded (and stressed out) individuals.
Bonus: Take a look at this fancy certificate you would receive upon completion
3. AVID Education
Directly from the source of Pro Tools, AVID Education provides a comprehensive list of curriculum for both broad and specific audio certification.
- Join Their Certified Professional Databased: Completion of certification allows for your listing to be made available in their directory of trusted professionals. Something that can be used as credibility as well as another way to simply be found.
- Learning From The Source: Pro Tools is an AVID product. Being entrenched in that community and knowledgebase has a number of residual benefits including authenticity.
- Course Inconsistency: The network of courses from sources around the country can include everything from this to that. Depending on where you are physically located, you can more than likely expect something different, including the first step of signing up.
4. LA Film School’s LA Recording School: Pro Tools Certifications in LA
Full Sail’s not-so-well-known sister school, LA Film School partnered with the Orlando giant in order to diversify its educational offerings. The partnership which began in 2003, moved LA Film School into the world of audio engineering in 2004 with Full Sail helping the West Coast institution with staffing, operations, and even building studios.
Though, not nearly the behemoth that Full Sail has become, LA Recording School offers the same quality of the environment with an array of professional instructors to match, especially with the faculty being able to choose if they would rather be posted in LA rather than Orlando. So if you prefer to be in the current entertainment capital of the county and maybe run into a movie star LA Recording School is a great west coast alternative to Full Sail with the tools to match.
- It’s LA: In America, LA is probably the second most-employment heavy place for audio engineers behind Nashville and on-par with New York. Aside from the employment opportunities, LA is beautiful and basically seasonless with the exception of its endless summer.
- The Power of Full Sail without the Price Tag: A similar program to Full Sail’s original Recording Arts associate program, LA Recording School’s Recording Arts program has the former’s price tag, nearly a decade later. Though course parsing is still unknown, the access that LA Film School’s Recording School allows is nearly on par with its sister school.
- It’s Accredited: This is simply always going to be a bonus in the case you want to take your music-centered career in a different direction.
- It’s LA: For everything good that can be said of LA, it takes a certain type of person to live there, because, in a city where everyone is chasing a dream, you have a lot of competitions which means traffic.
- Full Sail-lite: Like the early days of Full Sail, LA Recording School’s Recording Art’s offerings are still in their infancy stages, and that “once you’re here, you’re family” mentality doesn’t apply with being able to come back to the school in the future to re-up your knowledge for free. That being said, their studios are not lacking.
5. ProMedia Training: Beginner Courses and Online Certification
ProMedia Training was the first Pro Tools Certification Training Center to open in the United States in 2002. Their Avid Master Level instructors (higher than Expert) even authored the official Avid Pro Tools Certification Textbooks and educational curriculum for 15 years. ProMedia also trains many professors who then go on to teach at their respective Universities.
1. Hands-On Pro Tools Certification is offered in Los Angeles and Miami. Courses are 32-56 hrs for User and Operator Certification, conducted over 2-4 weeks; students can attend free monthly refresher classes for up to 6 months in their live-online program.
2. Live-Online, Instructor-Led: ProMedia Training is using a new technology which allows the courses to be instructor-led, without the visual limitations of consumer platforms like Zoom and shared screens. The classes are fully interactive in small groups. Courses are 24-48 hrs in length over 2-4 weeks with free refresher classes for 12 months.
3. Private Certification– One-on-one Pro Tools Certification is available for both in-person and remote and may be scheduled on your own time frame.
4. Corporate On-Site– ProMedia Training comes to your corporate location or studio. There is an abundance of references from the professional community including “The Voice,” multiple University Professors, Studios, Grammy winning producers, engineers, etc.
1. In-person training is limited to only a few locations right now, but there are plans to add additional cities.
2. There is no financing for classes, but the price point of the programs is considerably less expensive.
3. You must have your own Pro Tools software on your computer to attend.
Sean serves as our industry expert for music production. He holds a BS in Music Business and Marketing from Full Sail University and works as a Producer in New York City. You will find him writing amazingly detailed gear reviews, interviewing artists, and providing invaluable insight for our Audio Engineering learners.