Master in Music Education: Salary & Jobs

Graduates with a background in music education are not only prepared to teach students about music but also ready to use their knowledge in other leadership positions. Find out about a handful of careers that may benefit from a master's degree in music education.

A master's degree program in music education provides students with advanced skills and knowledge in music theory, analytical techniques, research and more that can be applied to careers in music education and other areas of the music industry. Below is a list of some of the related careers that may require or could benefit from a master's degree in music education.

Related Careers for a Master's Degree in Music Education

Job Title Median Salary (2016) Job Growth (2014-2024)
Music Teachers, Postsecondary $68,650 (For all music, art and drama postsecondary teachers) (For all music, art and drama postsecondary teachers)* 11%*
High School Music Teachers $58,030 (for all high school teachers) 6% (for all high school teachers)
Music Directors and Composers $50,110* 3%*
Elementary School Music Teachers $55,800 (for all elementary school teachers) 6% (for all elementary school teachers)
Music Ministry Directors $42,962** 3% (for all music directors and composers)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Career Descriptions

Music Teachers, Postsecondary

Many postsecondary teachers are required to hold a doctorate degree, but some smaller institutions or community colleges may only require teachers to have a master's degree in the area that they teach. Music teachers at this level may teach multiple courses in their areas of expertise, such as music education, choir, orchestra, band, music theory and more. Having a master's degree in music education can prepare graduates in these positions to develop their curriculum, design assessments for their students and even mentor students. Some postsecondary teachers may also need to serve on various committees for their department or institution and/or conduct research in their field.

High School Music Teachers

High school teachers need a bachelor's degree and a certification or license, but some states then require teachers to obtain a master's degree after earning their teaching certification. Music teachers at this level likely specialize in teaching band, orchestra or choir. They may spend much of their class time practicing and rehearsing with students for upcoming performances. In addition to planning lessons and assignments for these courses, high school music teachers may have the additional responsibilities of supervising students during free time or detention and communicating with parents.

Music Directors and Composers

The education requirements for music directors (also known as conductors) and composers vary greatly, but some positions may require a master's degree, especially those dealing with classical music and/or conducting. Although these professionals do not teach professionally, a background in music education may help them better understand how to help their musicians play a piece of music correctly or apply music theories to their compositions. Music directors audition performers for their musical group, lead rehearsals and select music for performances. Composers write original music or rearrange existing music for various musical groups to perform, and may even help write lyrics or offer advice during recording sessions.

Elementary School Music Teachers

Like high school teachers, elementary school teachers are required to have a bachelor's degree and earn state licensure or certification, but some states additionally require a master's degree after certification. Music teachers at this level are responsible for teaching students from kindergarten to fifth or sixth grades in basic musical principles, such as rhythm, melody, harmony and more. These teachers must adapt their lesson plans to meet the learning abilities of the different grades, as well as enforce age-appropriate classroom rules and expectations. Elementary school teachers also communicate with parents about a student's progress and may need to provide additional help to individuals who are overcoming learning challenges.

Music Ministry Directors

This set of music directors often leads the music ministries within a religious organization. Specific job titles can include Music Minister, Music Ministries Director, Children's Choir Director and more, and some of these music directors may hold a master's degree. A background in music education could help these directors teach and lead their groups in their musical performances. They may work with instrumental or vocal performers and select the music for performances. Music directors may hold auditions if necessary and choose soloists.

A degree program in music education provides a well-rounded education in music theory, instruction and technique that can be used in the fields of education and the performing arts. Most of these careers encourage the acquisition of a master's degree and are expected to have positive job growth in the future.

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