Go To School

diplomaWhen AVNation began, one of the constant topics of conversation was the lack of an audio-visual “degree”. You know, a BS in Audio-Visual Design or AV Implementation. All apologies to John Huntington who does a great job with City Tech in New York, there hasn’t been an degree where an institution focuses on the InfoComm line of educating AV professionals. Enter in Joshua Stackhouse.

Here’s a Navy vet with IT credentials (sound familiar to anyone) who was looking for something more in the line of AV. Madison Media Institute has a program for an Associates of Applied Science in Electronic and AV Systems. If you check out the link it has a video that could be on most integrators job sites. Listed on this program’s site is what an AV professional can do. (Actually, THE AV Professional is an accomplished rap artist and kick butt guy. Just didn’t want to confuse the two.) It lists smart home installer, system design/engineer, and live sound reinforcement. Throw in technology manager and they might as well have lifted this from my resume, or yours.

What has me so jazzed about Joshua and his cohorts is the piece of paper that MI hands out. Not that you need a degree to get a job in AV, but here is what this, and any degree, will do. It is an instant introduction. When you are introduced to someone who is a doctor or lawyer immediately there is imparted to your conscious all the education and areas of expertise this person should possess. There are a block of assumptions society has placed on someone who has gone through the schooling required to become one of these professionals. The same is true here.

In the past, employers relied on certifications, resumes, and references to evaluate whether an applicant would fit into their company. This degree should give those achieving it another mark in their favor. I have no connection to this school, don’t know anyone in it other than Joshua. However, they are striving out and marking an area we all in the industry will benefit from. In the past you could pass the bar exam by getting a four year degree and then read and study for a few years. These were called country lawyers and more than one President got into law this way. There is an odd correlation between reading law and reading specs. You get a degree, cert, or have experience in IT, live sound, or software programming. You want to do something different, more exciting so you answer an ad. A few years later, after several trips to Texas, New Jersey, or other locals, you have a bunch of letters after your name and you are referred to as being an AV professional. What degrees like the on in Madison and CUNY will give us is another level of authenticity and credibility; and that’s never a bad thing.

To hear Joshua Stackhouse on AVWeek Ep. 82, go here.

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