Online Colleges with Music Certificate Programs: How to Choose

Online music certificates are not widely available, but students may be interested in either music industry or music technology certificates, which can be found in online and hybrid formats. A number of schools offer such programs, some of which are specifically intended to supplement the knowledge of professional musicians.

How to Select an Online Music Certificate School

Online music performance or composition certificates are not typically available; however, online certificates in other areas of music, such as the music industry or music education, are offered by some institutions. Musician, producer, manager and publisher are common job titles of the target audience of such music-related programs.

Career Goals

Prospective students considering an online music-related program may wish to look for a school that offers an online program that matches their career goals. For example, graduates of music industry programs often begin a business-related job, such as publicist, agent or producer, while music technology programs prepare individuals for careers in recording arts or digital audio production.

Program Format

Online music-related certificate programs are often designed for students who have full-time jobs or other time commitments that prevent them from attending classes at particular times. These programs operate in a flexible format with flexible assignment due dates. Online students often participate in class discussions via forums, interactive tutorials or message boards and communicate with the professor via e-mail, instant messaging or Web chats.

Some online music certificate programs have in-person requirements, where students must appear on campus for a skills lab or hands-on learning with digital music equipment. Prospective music certificate students may want to look at the in-person requirements for any programs under consideration. Some students may have no trouble attending campus for short sessions, while others prefer a fully online program that they can complete at their own pace.

Online Music Certificate Options

Online Music Industry Certificate

Students enrolled in online music industry certificate programs are often entrepreneurs who wish to start their own business, musicians who wish to learn about the business side of the industry and prospective music producers. Normally, online courses in such a program include creative musical content, music business operations, career development and commercialization of music. Class topics in this fully online program may also include:

  • Fundamentals of music business
  • Music marketing
  • Emerging issues
  • Music contracts

Online Music Technology Certificate

A music technology certificate program may be focused on a number of different subjects. This program is available in fully online and partially online formats, depending on the schools. Areas of study may include:

  • Recording studio basics
  • Online music delivery
  • Digital audio intro
  • Pro tools and virtual instruments

Online Digital Music Education Graduate Certificate

Graduate certificate programs in digital music education are normally intended for music teachers who wish to explore alternative fields of education for their students. This is a fully online program that often covers topics such as:

  • Multimedia methods
  • Computer applications and technology
  • Musical education research
  • Historical development of music learning theory

Schools With Online Music Certificate Programs

Minnesota State University Mankato offers a music industry certificate program that is only available to online students. It covers topics such as music publishing, marketing, contract law and other relevant issues within the music business.

Another option that can be completed both online and in a hybrid format is the music technology certificate program offered by Foothill College. This program is designed to give students an introduction to many different roles within the music industry, offering both business, recording and post-production education in the field.

Students interested in earning an online music certificate need to first determine what part of the music business they are interested in working in. They must also establish what level of study they are looking for, as music certificate programs can be aimed at giving students basic skills to work within the industry or they can be specifically designed for people with previous musical experience

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