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
O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to music and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.
Knowledge Areas for Music Majors
According to O*NET survey takers, a major in music should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:
- 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
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:
- 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
Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a music student include the following:
- 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?
Below is a list of occupations associated with music:
|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 Bachelor’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||1,120|
|Hispanic or Latino||1,949|
Students from other countries are interested in Music, too. About 6.0% 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?
Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary
The U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in music made a median starting salary of $22,900 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $19,500 (25th percentile) and $30,900 (75th percentile).
It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in music, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.
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 2018-2019, 1,413 schools offered a music program of some type. 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!
Explore Major by State
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|
*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.
- 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.
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