You can learn from home as there are numerous free online courses you can take. Some of these even offer honorary certificates that can be valuable in your job search. Others simply impart practical wisdom and modern audio engineering techniques to aspiring audio recording engineers. For those coveted positions at television stations, movie sets and studio production facilities you will need to show your papers or prove a decade or so of practical hands on experience in the field. With references no less.
It is possible to land a great audio production position if you have the right connections and proven skills but amateur audiophiles won’t get much further than the local church or sports bar that features an act on Friday nights. Some of the easiest positions I have ever held in the audio production field have paid the most while requiring the least amount of work. Then there are times that I spent 18 hours or more on a project that barely covered the cost of production.
The bottom line comes down to this: You have to decide how far you can and want to go. Sometimes it may require that you take a low position at a studio just to get experience and a few references. If you land the right part time jobs you could establish yourself as a well respected audio engineer for your community and for local concerts or shows. It all depends on how well you know the industry terminology and equipment. Having a solid knowledge of practical studio environments, Digital Audio Workstations and cable types. Having a solid knowledge of microphone types and placement techniques can also be a boon.
Beyond practical knowledge and hands on experience there are courses and electives you can take at your local college. There are also trade schools that only teach audio and video courses and they have affordable payment plans for your education. Some companies even offer job placement services once you graduate so this is definitely a viable option for some students of the craft.