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Online Music Instructor: Career Information and Requirements

Online music instructors require a moderate amount of formal education. Learn about the education and job duties to see if this is the right career for you.

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Online music instructors instruct students through extensive vocal training and instrument instruction via online courses either through one-on-one Skype meetings or digitally recorded lessons. Depending on the level of education they wish to teach, those interested will need a bachelor's degree to teach secondary school and a master's or doctorate to teach university level. Those entering this field however should be very experienced in both music and education and must be prepared to work as even independent and private teachers.

Essential Information

Online music instructors teach students music in an online setting. They may teach at colleges and universities or in primary and secondary school systems. Online music instructors may also work as independent, private music teachers. Specific education requirements may vary by employer, but secondary school employers require teachers to possess bachelor's degrees and teaching certificates, while postsecondary instructors must have earned at least their master's degree.

Career Postsecondary Online Music Instructor Secondary School Online Music Instructor
Education Requirements Master's degree; a doctorate is recommended Bachelor's degree in education or music
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 11% (art, drama, and music teachers, postsecondary) 6% (high school teachers)
Median Salary (2015)* $65,340 (art, drama, and music teachers, postsecondary) $57,200 (secondary school teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for Online Music Instructors

Online music instructors largely fall into one of three categories: instructors who teach online courses through a college or university for postsecondary music education, those who teach courses affiliated with primary and secondary school systems and private instructors who conduct online lessons for children and adults. Responsibilities of any online music instructor include developing a curriculum, communicating with students (and their parents if applicable), evaluating assignments and coordinating recitals, but the context and methods for these activities depends on the specific type of instructor job. Music classes may be instructional or technical and cover music history, composition, instruments or vocals.

Postsecondary instructors may teach music courses as part of an undergraduate or graduate program. They may be either part-time instructors who teach only online classes, or they may be full-time faculty who teach online classes as part of their course load.

Private instructors may work independently or for companies that offer several types of online lessons. Generally, private instructors will use Skype or specialized webcam software to conduct one-on-one lessons with students.

Other instructors may teach in a virtual classroom environment as part of a primary or secondary school system. Their duties may include creating and posting assignments, monitoring online discussions, grading work and recording webinars.

Requirements to Become an Online Music Instructor

Online music instructors typically need extensive instruction and experience with music; however, specific educational requirements depend on the type of online instruction. Postsecondary institutions require different levels of education depending on the institution and type of courses taught. For example, most 2-year undergraduate schools require instructors to hold a master's degree in a relevant field, while 4-year undergraduate institutions and graduate institutions often require teaching applicants to hold a doctorate for consideration for a full-time position.

Secondary school-affiliated online instruction positions often require instructors to have a teaching certificate from the state in which the course is offered, as well as demonstrable formal training in music. Freelance online instructors have no set requirements, but a bachelor's degree or equivalent training prepares instructors with the necessary knowledge base to instruct students, as well as serve as tangible proof of expertise to attract clients.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), teachers of art, drama, and music at the postsecondary level, including those who teach on campus and online, should see a faster-than-average increase in employment of 11% over the 2014-2024 decade. Positions as high school teachers are projected 6% during the same period, which is considered an average pace. The BLS reported that the median annual salary for postsecondary music, art and drama teachers was $65,340 in 2015. High school teachers earned median annual salaries of $57,200 that same year.

Online music instructors teach students vocal and instrumental performance through digital, often private instruction. They may be part-time teachers who only teach online or even full-time faculty with a university who offer online courses as part of their course load. The postsecondary career path is growing more quickly than those teaching at a high school level.

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