Online Master’s in Music Education Programs 2021

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Music education builds more than just an appreciation for the arts: Studies show that proper music education can enhance language capabilities, improve memory, and develop better study habits. For music lovers interested in teaching, a music education degree offers the fastest career path for a music teacher or educator in K-12 schools.

Along with rewarding work, music education offers competitive salary levels. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that music directors and composers earn an annual median salary of $51,670, while art, drama, and music teachers earn an annual median wage of $69,530.

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Master's in Music Education: Frequently Asked Questions


  • What can you do with a music education degree?

    A music education degree prepares graduates for careers including middle or high school music teacher, band director, music director, and community college instructor.


  • Is a music education degree worth it?

    A music education degree offers varied career opportunities and enables graduates to earn a living related to music, making the degree a practical choice for many musicians.


  • Are music teachers in demand?

    The BLS projects jobs for middle and high school teachers to increase 4% from 2019-2029, keeping pace with the national average.


  • Can you get a music degree online?

    Many colleges offer online music education degrees. Although, candidates may need to complete teaching and other experiential learning opportunities in person at K-12 schools.


Why Get a Degree in Music Education?



A music education degree helps build advanced knowledge in music pedagogy, preparing graduates to teach music and lead school bands at the K-12 level. While not required to teach at K-12 schools, a master’s degree in music education can help teachers stand out for more competitive jobs with higher salary potential.

Many colleges offer online music education degrees, which give students the flexibility to maintain their current career while pursuing an advanced education. These programs commonly combine online courses with in-person teaching and other experiential learning opportunities. Online programs may also offer more affordable tuition rates.

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How Much Does a Music Education Degree Cost?

As with any graduate program, the cost of a music education degree varies among schools and programs. However, the average U.S. student pays around $30,000-$40,000 for a master’s degree. Tuition rates at private colleges generally run much higher than public colleges, but some schools offer online learners discounted tuition rates. Public schools may also offer a reduced in-state tuition rate to online students regardless of residency.

An online music education degree can help learners avoid common expenses associated with college. Online learners may even eliminate or greatly reduce expenses like relocation, transportation, parking, and childcare. The most flexible online programs also enable students to maintain full-time employment while earning a degree, which greatly affects budgeting for higher education.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree



Our college affordability calculator offers a general tuition estimate and insight on other higher education expenses. Simply enter your income, living expenses, and expected financial aid (including loans, grants, and scholarships) to receive a detailed breakdown of what you can afford to pay for college each month.

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How Much Do Music Education Majors Make?

Music education commonly prepares graduates for careers in K-12 education.The BLS reports that middle school teachers earn a $59,660 annual median salary, while high school teachers earn an annual median salary of $61,660. However, earning a master’s may increase average salary levels, as many schools pay higher wages to teachers with advanced degrees. Teachers can also obtain professional certifications to increase their career prospects and salary potential.

While most music education graduates pursue careers as K-12 teachers or band directors, they may also find work as postsecondary teachers instructing music courses at community colleges. The BLS reports teachers at junior colleges earn an annual median salary between $61,430-$82,850. Other possible career paths include music director, earning an annual median salary of $51,670, and music performer or singer.

Courses in Music Education



A master’s degree in music education emphasizes music history, pedagogical approaches to music education, and the use of research to inform teaching practice. Most music education degrees include a significant experiential component enabling students to apply program learning to teaching practice in a professional education environment. Many programs also include a culminating requirement such as a capstone or thesis, which requires students to research and address an issue in contemporary music education.

This list highlights three common courses found in music education degrees. While exact course titles and content may vary, these topics typically appear in music education curriculum models.


  • History and Philosophy of Music Education

    Music education dates back to ancient Greece, and this course encourages students to examine the historical role and function of music in general education practice. Students receive an overview of the history of music education, exploring the philosophical and pedagogical foundations that inform the field.


  • Music Education Research

    Research plays an important role in the development, practice, and assessment of music education programs. This course introduces students to research methods and strategies for assessing research literature. Students can also explore research design techniques and methods in application to action research studies, capstone projects, or thesis projects.


  • Psychology and Sociology in Music Education

    This course highlights the social and psychological principles of human interactions with music and music education. Students explore various modes of interaction with music, including performance, composition, listening, and teaching. The course may also explore broad psychological and sociological concepts related to classroom teaching, such as group dynamics.


Certifications and Licensure for Music Education



Professional licensure and certifications demonstrate widely applicable proficiencies and competencies in the music education field. Many positions require these credentials, particularly for teaching. Other certifications help music educators pursue more advanced positions or earn higher salary levels. This list highlights two popular certifications along with a certificate for music education professionals.

Music Teachers National Association Certification


Serving music teachers nationwide, MTNA offers certification credentials for teaching performance in areas including piano, violin, flute, and voice. Certification applicants teaching at the K-12 level submit a series of five projects related to their teaching philosophy, education assessment skills, teaching practice, studio ethics, and teaching environment.

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K-12 Music Educator Certification


All U.S states require teachers to hold state certification to teach music at public K-12 schools. Certification requirements vary among states, but all teachers must hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Many states offer a general K-12 music education credential, though some require specific certifications to teach vocal or instrumental music.

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Music Education and Autism


The Boston Conservatory at Berklee offers a specialized graduate certificate in music education and autism, training music teachers to work with special needs students. The certificate focuses on teaching strategies with a background in autism and special needs-related studies.

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Scholarships for Music Education



Scholarships offer financial support for college that never requires repayment, making them one of the most popular financial aid options. Some scholarships serve applicants pursuing a specific career path, while others serve students of specific backgrounds. This list highlights three popular scholarships for online music education degree candidates.

  • Dr. Robert Hawkins Memorial Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The John Philip Sousa Foundation offers this scholarship to students pursuing a degree in instrumental/band music education and planning to become band directors after graduation.

    Amount: $2,000

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  • Great Value Colleges Music Scholarship for Black Students

    Who Can Apply: Great Value Colleges offers this scholarship to Black students pursuing music programs at the undergraduate or graduate level. Applicants must submit a short written or video essay.

    Amount: $5,000

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  • Against the Grain Artistic Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: Against the Grain Productions offers this scholarship to Asian or Pacific Islander students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs in the arts (including music).

    Amount: $1,000

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Online Master’s in Music Education Programs 2021



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