Why SAE Institute?

Why SAE Institute?

SAE Institute offers a diverse array of creative media instruction in courses such as audio engineering, digital journalism and music business. SAE has been well established internationally for over 30 years and as the technology has changed, so has SAE Institute. Our buying power enables us to provide you with a selection of industry standard equipment and our limited enrollment guarantees you will have substantial access to it. SAE Institute's accelerated programs enable students to quickly learn the skills necessary to begin a career in various media industries. Our global Alumni network also gives our graduates access to a worldwide community of working professionals.

What does SAE stand for?

SAE stands for the School of Audio Engineering.

Are you a private or public school?

SAE Institute is a private, for profit school.

What kind of accreditation does SAE Institute have?

For this information, please visit our Accreditation & Regulation page.

How can I tour the school?

Simply fill out a Request a Tour form today and an SAE Institute representative will be in touch to schedule a tour of our facilities.

When is the next Open House?

Upcoming Open House details can be found on our Events page.

Study Options

When do classes start?

Certain campuses operate on a semester schedule, while the majority of SAE institute campuses operate on a "lockstep" schedule. Because of this, start dates for our programs will differ across the country depending on the campus. Please see the Key Facts section in the program you are interested in and select your desired campus for the next available program start.

Do you offer distance education?

Due to COVID-19, all our classes are currently held remotely. For more information check our latest updates.

How much practical time will I get?

All courses at SAE Institute have a focus on practical, hands-on delivery. The amount of practical time you experience during your studies does vary, depending on your course. You will also have opportunities to access campus resources and facilities outside of class time, during campus opening hours. 

I have no background in this subject, will I cope?

No prior experience is required as the fundamentals are taught as part of our programs. We carefully design and deliver all our units to help you develop the knowledge you need to be successful in your chosen field of study. Programs and course units at SAE Institute follow best practice teaching and learning.

What is the difference between a Diploma and a Degree?

The degree program is a more intensive course of study that includes a wider range of courses. This better prepares the graduate for success in the field and enhanced employment opportunities.


What is the relationship between the theoretical and practical aspects of my course?

Successful creative media graduates need both practical skills and theoretical knowledge. It is important to know the "how" and the "why" of your industry. Courses at SAE Institute are specifically designed to give you practical expertise and a solid theoretical foundation.

Can I transfer between SAE schools?

Yes, SAE Institute students can transfer between SAE Institute schools, provided the program you are taking is offered at both schools.

How long does each course take to complete?

Diploma programs can be completed in as few as 9 to 12 months depending on your campus, while degree programs can take as few as 12 to 16 months and the duration is also dependent on your campus.

Does SAE accept transfer credits?

Students who formerly attended a post-secondary institution accredited by an agency recognized by the US Department of Education, may be granted transfer credit for equivalent courses taken at the previous institution. Students are responsible for having an official transcript(s) from the previous institution forwarded to the Student Service Coordinator's office at SAE Institute. The official transcript(s) needs to be received as soon as possible after the student has enrolled so the student can receive a correct schedule. Awarding of transfer credit is at the sole discretion of SAE Institute. SAE Institute will determine if the course(s) completed at the previous institution are sufficiently equivalent to the course(s) in the student’s program of student. Only passing grades of “C” or better will be taken into consideration. Factors that will be used to determine transfer of credit include, but are not limited to, the number of course credits earned, objectives and description of previous course, length of time passed since the course was completed, and the level of the previous course. Students may be required to provide a course catalog or syllabus so SAE Institute can provide a fair assessment. Courses that are approved to be awarded transfer of credit will show on the student’s transcript as “TC.”

Students who receive transfer credit will have the program tuition charge prorated based upon the remaining number of credits the student must earn in order to graduate. Students must complete 50% of their coursework at SAE Institute.

What kind of qualification will I recieve?

At all of our US locations we offer Diploma programs and in select locations we offer Associate Degree programs as well. At this point in time we do not offer Bachelor or Masters Degrees.

What programs do you offer?

SAE USA offers programs in Audio, Digital Film, Entertainment Business, and Game Development. Please note that not all programs are available at all locations. Refer to the campus you wish to attend to see which programs are available.

My Application

What are the admission requirements for me to study at SAE?

Please see admissions requirements for this information.

Where can I get an application form and how do I apply?

You can apply for SAE courses online. Visit How to Apply to get started. 

When do applications close for each intake?

Applications will be assessed for eligibility up to the advertised commencement date of the course. Places in the course are capped and filled according to date-received priority. The earlier your application is made, the more likely you are to receive a placement. If you are unable to commence the course on the scheduled date, you may postpone commencement by contacting Student Services at your campus.

Where can I get help with my visa application?

Applying for a student visa can be a complicated process. While you are able to do this yourself, an approved SAE Agent can help you with the process. Agents are trained to assist applicants with their university and visa applications.

How much does my student visa cost?

There is a non-refundable visa charge when you apply for your visa. For more information on visa fees and charges please visit the DIAC website.

Can I work in the US with a student visa?

Currently, international students can study at SAE in the United States under an M-1 visa.  These students may engage in practical training only after they have completed their studies. Additionally, any off-campus employment must be related to their area of study and must be authorized prior to starting any work by the Designated School Official (the person authorized to maintain the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)) and USCIS. For more information please visit ice.gov.

What does the entrance exam consist of?

The purpose of the entrance exam is to provide quantitative insight into how easily individuals can be trained, how well they can adjust to and solve problems in a training program, and how well-satisfied they are likely to be with the demands of a particular program. 

The exam consists of a questionnaire that assesses an individual's "risk" factors and a 12 minute test that gauges the student's cognitive ability on questions regarding basic language and math skills as well as word problem solving. 

What is the application process for an International Student?

Please see How to Apply for this information.

I am a veteran, how do I apply?

Please visit the Veteran's Benefits section for more information on applying as a veteran.

When are the registration deadlines?

There are no strict deadlines for registration. Depending on the program  and campus, SAE has between 3 and 5 intakes per year. All registrations are considered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. As there are a limited number of places available for each intake, it is advisable for you to enroll as soon as you have made the decision to join us.

How do I apply?

Please see How to Apply for this information.

My Enrollment

What do I do if I want to defer or leave?

If you wish to defer or withdraw, you must see the Student Services Coordinator at your campus. 

What happens if I withdraw or I don't complete my studies?

You must withdraw prior to census date in order to be eligible for a refund of tuition fees. If you have not paid your fees and withdraw after the census date, you will incur a debt. Non-completion of studies does not normally entitle a student to any refund.

What is the drop/add period?

Drop/Add is usually the first week of classes.

What is the maximum time I can defer?

The maximum time you are able to defer study is 12 months.

What if I change my mind? Can I pull out of my course once I start?

Financial penalties will apply to students who leave their courses after the allocated census date.

Can I take multiple courses at the same time?

We do not recommend you take multiple courses at the same time due to the demands of the accelerated programs. We advise to take one course at a time.

Fees and Payments

What happens if I withdraw or I don't complete my studies?

Withdrawal from the program must be done through the campus Student Services Coordinator. If a student wishes to withdraw from a program, then he or she is requested to officially withdraw in writing. As stated in the Refund Policy, the Refund Calculation will be completed using the student’s last day of physical attendance.

When do I need to pay my tuition fees?

Your tuition fees are due prior to the first day of class. If you are applying for Financial Aid, you must submit the required application form and supporting documents prior to the start date.

How much does a program at SAE cost?

Please visit the program page you are interested, navigate to the Key Facts section and select the campus you are interested in as each program varies by campus.

What financial assistance is available for your programs?

We offer Financial Aid and Scholarship opportunities to those students who qualify. We also accept the GI Bill/Veteran Benefits/Post-9-11 GI Bill/Military Educational Benefits/VA benefits. For more information visit our Admissions section.

What are my payment options?

You may elect to pay tuition fees using one of the following methods:

  • Check or Money Order 
  • Amex, Discover, Mastercard or Visa
  • Electronic Bank  Transfer

What is your FAFSA school code?

Our school codes are listed below:


ATLANTA: 042066

CHICAGO: 038303 

MIAMI: 042079


NEW YORK: 039883



Please note: Chicago/Nashville do share the same code.


Do you accept the GI Bill/Veteran Benefits/Post-9-11 GI Bill/Military Educational Benefits/VA benefits?

Yes, we do. For more information, please visit this page.

What credit cards are accepted?

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and Discover. 

Can I pay by cash/check/money order? If so, how?

Yes, see the Student Accounts Representative. 

What company name will appear on my credit card bill?

School of Audio Engineering 

Do you offer payment plans?

Yes we do, but each campus offers a different type of plan.  Please contact the campus directly for specifics on the plans available. 

Student Services

What support networks do you have in place for people with a disability or special learning needs?

SAE is committed to providing equal opportunities for students with disabilities or special learning needs. For more information visit Student Services

Student Life

Can I come in and work on projects on the weekend?

Yes, Lab hours vary from campus to campus. Please contact your Student Services Coordinator or teacher for more information.

How do I get a new email password?

You can have your email password reset by emailing the request through to servicedesk@navitas.com

What is Alumni?

SAE Alumni is a network of SAE graduates. When you graduate, you will have the opportunity to join the global Alumni Association as well as the USA Alumni Association. 

How much time will I need to dedicate to the program?

Students carrying a full time course load should expect to devote at least 25-34 hours per week to their program of study. In addition to workshops and regular classes, students are expected to complete 2 hours of outside class preparation per class per week. All program core curriculum courses require 3 hours of supervised project/lab work per class per week in addition to the 2 hours of outside class preparation per class per week.

Can I receive a: Certificate? Diploma? Degree? Masters?

At our US locations: we offer Certificate, Diploma, Associate , Bachelor's Degree programs. 

How does career services assistance work?

The primary objective of SAE's Career Services team is to assist students and graduates in securing career-related employment by developing industry relationships, communicating opportunities, and providing guidance and resources. From day one, Career Services is available to assist you with your career goals. SAE offers a range of career-related services to assist students in developing the necessary skills and tools that will enhance their job search upon graduation.  SAE Career Services Advisors are regularly developing relationships with potential employers and seeking out employment opportunities to support graduates and alumni.   In a student’s last module/semester, a one-on-one Career Planning Session is scheduled to finalize and launch the job search campaign. Learn more about Career Services

What is the SAE Alumni Association?

The SAE Alumni Association has been set up as a way to keep graduates in touch. As an Alumni member you can search for and find other alumni or just look for special offers from various manufacturers and SAE partners around the globe. There is also an active online job terminal where you can search for job opportunities that await you and a yearly Alumni conference.

Approximately how many students are in a class?

This can vary depending on the campus and course.  In most cases, class sizes average  15 - 30 students.

Can I work while studying?

Students who are well organized find casual or part-time work most manageable.

Facilities and Equipment

What equipment do I need for my program?

All students enrolling in diploma and degree programs will receive an Audio Technology gear kit (included in the course fees) a few weeks into the program. The contents of the bundle may differ depending on campus and program and are subject to change without notice.

Audio Technology Bundle

Do you have housing on campus/Can you tell me about local accommodations?

We currently do not provide on campus housing. For information on all other accommodation options visit your campus page

Is your equipment industry standard?

Yes! We consult with industry on a regular basis and update our resources as required.

What are the campus operating hours?

Administrative offices are generally open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Studio and lab hours vary from campus to campus but studios and labs are open in the evenings and on weekends. For more information contact your campus.

Is there parking on campus?

For information regarding parking at your campus, click the Transport tab on your campus page

What software will I be using?

You will use a variety of industry standard and specialized software applications relevant to your study. 

What hours are the studios available?

Studio operating hours are different for each campus. Please contact your campus directly for more information on operating hours and studio availability.

Do we need to purchase our own books?

Books are included in the "materials fee" payment.  The school provides you with all necessary books.