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Music Major

Music is a major that typically falls into the Visual & Performing Arts category.

There are 360 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in music, 2,103 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 761 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 242 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Music Degree?

In 2017, roughly 16,200 music majors graduated with a bachelor’s degree. This makes it #30 in popularity of all the majors we track. This major tends to be male dominated. About 56.1% of recent graduates are men.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of music majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 5%
  • Black or African American: 7.1%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 12.1%
  • White: 60%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 7.7%
  • Other Races: 8.2%
Music Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in music. About 7.7% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending music majors to the U.S. are China, South Korea and Taiwan.

What Will You Learn as a Music Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to music to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Music Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Music Majors

Skills for Music Majors

When studying music, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

Important Skills for Music Majors

Abilities for Music Majors

A major in music will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

Important Abilities for music Majors

What Can You Do With a Music Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with music:

Careers Related to Music
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Music Composers and Arrangers



Art, Drama, and Music Professors






Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education



Sound Engineering Technicians



Musicians, Instrumental



Music Directors



Music Major Salary

Average salaries range from $60,000 to $64,000 for careers related to music. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Music Major  ( 60000 to 64000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Music Major Jobs

Some careers associated with music require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for music careers below.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Music
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Music Programs

There are 2,103 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in music, with 22 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Getting your degree online is not easy and includes watching and listening to hours of lectures, participating in group charts, submitting papers by the appropriate deadline and taking tests. Some online programs will also feature internships or in-person clinical hours.

Is a Music Major Worth It?

The median salary for a music grad is $64,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 63% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $492,000 after 20 years!

music salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
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