What Can I Do With a Major in Music?

If one thing is true of every music major I’ve ever met, it’s that they’re tired of being asked what they’re going to do after college. In most cases, they are pursuing their passion, not a payday. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as we believe that doing what you love is the absolute best way to live a happy life. However, it’s still best to make an educated decision about how your degree could impact your earning potential and career options.

Approximately forty-five percent of music majors end up working in an occupation that is closely related to their major. The majority of these are employed as music teachers, at the elementary, high school, and college level. Many music teachers are also self-employed, offering lessons to students either in their home or their place of business. Additional occupations that are closely related to the major include composers and entertainers. These positions are normally extremely competitive, though, and often require a significant amount of experience and networking to obtain.

The majority of music majors find work in areas that are not directly related to their major. Many work in occupations related to sales, administration, management, and training.

Music majors earn a median salary of $45,000 per year, which is significantly lower than the median salary for all college graduates combined. Don’t put too much stock in these numbers, however, as they are brought down significantly by the large percentage of music majors who enter teaching occupations. Earnings are higher for those who enter positions in other types of occupations.

Career Options for Music Majors

Below is a list of some of the most common career choices for music majors. This is not a comprehensive list, but it should give you a good idea of what types of work would be most available to you with a degree in music.

Occupation Median Salary Median Hourly Current jobs Outlook Required Education
College Professor $62,050 $29.83 1,756,000 Good Graduate Degree
Elementary School Teacher $51,660 $24.84 1,549,520 Good Bachelor’s Degree
High School Teacher $53,230 $25.59 1,109,500 Good Bachelor’s Degree
Kindergarten Teacher $48,800 $23.46 179,520 Normal Bachelor’s Degree
Middle School Teacher $51,960 $24.98 659,460 Good Bachelor’s Degree
Music Composer $45,970 $22.10 53,640 Normal Bachelor’s Degree
Musician / Singer $46,571 $22.39 176,200 Good Varies
Updated: 09/03/2017

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