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Music Major

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Music

15,746 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
6,038 Master's Degrees Annually
#34 in Popularity
$63,500 Median Salary

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
Bachelor’s Degree 15,747
Master’s Degree 6,038
Associate’s Degree 2,436
Doctor’s Degree 1,402
Graduate Certificate 572
Basic Certificate 441
Undergraduate Certificate 332

What Music Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to music were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

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:

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  • 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

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to music:

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  • 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

Music majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • 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
Music Directors 5.7% $49,630
Musicians, Instrumental 6.0% NA
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 7.5% $60,320
Singers 6.0% NA
Sound Engineering Technicians 6.5% $52,390

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Music?

15,747 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
45% Percent Women
30% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
Music runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #34 out of all the undergraduate majors we track. In 2019, about 15,746 graduates completed their bachelor’s degree in this field. Roughly 45% of the graduates are women, and 55% are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Music Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 881
Black or African American 1,120
Hispanic or Latino 1,949
White 9,612
International Students 944
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,241

Geographic Diversity

Music appeals to people across the globe. About 6.0% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Canada
  • Brazil

How Much Do Music Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of music students with a bachelor’s degree is $22,900 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $19,500 (25th percentile) and $30,900 (75th percentile).

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One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to music.

Salaries According to BLS

Music majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $59,790 to $64,340 (25th to 75th percentile). 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, 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.

Median Salary for a Music Major  ( 59790 to 64340 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with music may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. 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.

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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%
Bachelor’s Degree 27.1%
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%
Master’s Degree 22.7%
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%
Doctoral Degree 13.9%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.8%

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
Associate’s Degree 377 16
Bachelor’s Degree 163 3
Post-Baccalaureate 102 3
Master’s Degree 749 26
Post-Master’s 59 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!

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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
Dance 3,234
Other Visual Art 1,071
Crafts, Folk Art & Artisanry 124

References

*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.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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