Music Teacher Degree and Certification Program Information

Nov 29, 2019

How to Become a Music Teacher

Music teachers educate students on a range of aspects of the art form, such as playing an instrument and understanding theory. To become one, you typically need a bachelor's or master's degree in music education and successful completion of a teacher preparation program as part of the degree. The table below highlights the education and certification requirements of a music teacher and other information such as the length of the degree and projected job growth.

Education Requirements An educator preparation program as part of an undergraduate or graduate music education degree
License Requirements The above degree and state-specific examinations
Degree Length 4 years for a Bachelor of Music in Music Education; 2-3 years for a Master of Music Education
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 3% (kindergarten and elementary school teachers), 3% (middle school teachers), 4% (high school teachers)
Average Salary (2018)* $57,980 (kindergarten and elementary school teachers), $58,600 (middle school teachers), $60,320 (high school teachers)

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Music Teacher Education Requirements

Music Teacher Degree: Bachelor of Music in Music Education

Successful completion of a four-year bachelor's degree in music education that includes a teacher preparation program fulfills the requirements for teaching music in elementary school, middle school or high school. Credit requirements can exceed 180 hours with coursework covering topics such as music theory, history, performance, conducting, and ensemble. Other courses place an emphasis on teaching, such as classroom management and evaluation and music for children. A minimum grade point average (GPA) in the coursework is often needed for graduation. To apply for this program, an audition is mandatory, and schools also generally seek a minimum score on the SAT or ACT exam, a music aptitude test, and a recommendation letter.

Music Teacher Degree: Master of Music Education

A Master of Music Education program that leads to teacher certification is typically 2-3 years in length with credit requirements around 30 hours. Coursework covers music and general education topics, such as history and philosophy of music education and the psychology of music, and may include internships and a capstone thesis. Some programs provide teaching certification upon completion, while others offer continuing education to individuals who are already licensed. Admission to the certification program typically requires an undergraduate degree with a major in music, official transcripts of undergraduate schools, graduate record examination (GRE) scores, minimum GPA, and letters of recommendation. Continuing education programs commonly require a music teaching license with prior experience of teaching in public schools.

Music Teacher Certification Program

To be certified as a music teacher in the U.S., prospective candidates must complete an educator preparation program as part of a college degree in music education. Other requirements, tests or otherwise, are state-specific. For instance, music teacher certification in Maryland requires the candidate to pass the basic skills test and the Praxis Subject Area Assessment in Music: Content and Instruction, whereas Texas music teacher candidates must pass the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC-12 and TExES Music EC-12. The length of the validity of the initial license also varies. For example, the music teacher certificate is valid for five years in Ohio and three in Oregon.

These programs are an amalgamation of pedagogy and a strong base in music, which helps prepare the prospective educator to teach students in the best and most effective manner possible. Schools generally offer a choice of tracks with these degrees, such as instrument or vocal performance.

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