Types of Degrees Music Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many music graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Music Majors Need to Know
In an O*NET survey, music majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.
Knowledge Areas for Music Majors
Music majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:
- Fine Arts - Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Skills for Music Majors
music majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Abilities for Music Majors
As you progress with your music degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
What Can You Do With a Music Major?
People with a music degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Art, Drama, and Music Professors||12.0%||$69,960|
|Music Composers and Arrangers||5.7%||$49,630|
|Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||7.5%||$60,320|
|Sound Engineering Technicians||6.5%||$52,390|
Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Music?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of music majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||210|
|Hispanic or Latino||429|
Music appeals to people across the globe. About 25.2% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- South Korea
How Much Do Music Majors Make?
Master’s Degree Starting Salary
Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that music students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $24,400 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $20,700 (25th percentile) and $28,000 (75th percentile).
It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to music.
Salaries According to BLS
Average salaries range from $59,790 to $64,340 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to music. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Music
Some careers associated with music require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
Find out what the typical degree level is for music careers below.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Less than a High School Diploma||4.8%|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||8.8%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||3.7%|
|Some College Courses||7.5%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||5.5%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||3.0%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||2.4%|
|First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession.||0.4%|
Online Music Programs
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 1,413 schools offered some type of music program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||102||3|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||67||3|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||48||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||225||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||9||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||12||0|
Is a Degree in Music Worth It?
The median salary for a music grad is $63,500 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 59% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $472,000 after 20 years!
Majors Related to Music
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to music.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Fine & Studio Arts||40,751|
|Design & Applied Arts||36,179|
|Drama & Theater Arts||17,726|
|Film, Video & Photographic Arts||16,756|
|General Visual & Performing Arts||5,720|
|Arts & Media Management||4,766|
|Other Visual Art||1,071|
|Crafts, Folk Art & Artisanry||124|
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
More about our data sources and methodologies.