An online music education degree is perfect for those who want to share their passion for music. Distance learners in master's in music education online programs gain practical experience developing lesson plans, exploring contemporary teaching methods, and implementing learning tools and techniques. Graduates teach general music classes in elementary, middle, and high schools, offer private lessons, lead music groups, and direct bands, choruses, and orchestras. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of postsecondary teaching will grow 13% over the next seven years, making this a great time to earn a music education degree.

What are the best music education programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
3 Boston University Boston, MA
4 University of Georgia Athens, GA
5 Florida International University Miami, FL
6 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY
7 University of Minnesota Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
8 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
9 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
10 Georgia College and State University Milledgeville, GA

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER'S IN MUSIC EDUCATION PROGRAMS?

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 90%

Established in 1858, UF values research, innovation, and academic excellence. To that end, the university operates over 200 research and service centers. UF also emphasizes student-centered learning and offers programs across many disciplines.

Students with an affinity for teaching and music can pursue UF's online master's degree in music education. The program helps emerging teachers create dynamic lessons. The curriculum requires 33 credits, and students typically graduate in two years. Core courses include historical and philosophical foundations of music education, research in music education, and instructional design in music education.

Over 56% of UF students graduate with no student debt. UF accepts transfer credits on a case-by-case basis. UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

2

University of South Florida

Tampa, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

Based in Tampa, USF offers a diverse college experience, serving over 50,000 students who hail from more than 140 countries. USF also serves working professionals through distance learning.

USF's online master's degree in music education provides ample flexibility through asynchronous coursework. The program's 30-credit curriculum includes coursework in approaches in music education, research design and methods in music education, data analysis and report writing in music education, and literature review in education. Participants also complete a one-week intensive on campus.

Admission requires two years of music teaching experience, recommendation letters, and a minimum 3.0 GPA. However, this program does not require GRE scores for admission. USF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

3

Boston University

Boston, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 88%

BU serves about 35,000 students from over 130 countries. Learners gain access to over 300 programs and a vast alumni network. BU also boasts small class sizes, maintaining a 10-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

BU's College of Fine Arts offers a master's in music education that requires 32 credits, including 12 music education credits, four music theory credits, and 16 elective credits. Students typically earn their degree in 18-24 months. Courses include psychology and sociology in music education, advocacy and policy in arts education, and analytical techniques. Each course lasts seven weeks, and students take one course at a time.

BU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

4

University of Georgia

Athens, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 86%

Founded in 1785, UGA is the Peach State's flagship university. The school values student excellence, rigorous learning environments, and applied experiences. Graduate students can enroll in over 30 master's programs, and UGA also accommodates working professionals through distance learning.

UGA offers an online master's degree in music education that has no in-person requirements. Notable courses within the 33-credit curriculum include pedagogical efficacy, psychology of music, trends and issues in music education, and music theory. Each online course incorporates videos, text, and segmented lessons.

Admission requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited school and an unencumbered music education license. The program accepts up to six transfer credits from accredited institutions. UGA is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

5

Florida International University

Miami, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

FIU serves nearly 54,000 students through approximately 265 programs, and its alumni network contains over 200,000 graduates.

The university offers several online programs that do not have any in-person requirements, including a master's in music education. This program's 30-credit curriculum includes courses such as electronic music lab, directed research, keyboard literature, and graduate music history review. All students must complete a thesis.

Admission requires a bachelor's in music from an accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Distance learners can access one-on-one support from a personal success coach. FIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

6

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 76%

UB is the largest school in the State University of New York system, offering over 420 programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. The university also provides distance learning programs that primarily serve working professionals.

UB offers a 33-credit master's degree in music education that can be completed online. Participants must hold an unencumbered teaching license. Students typically complete the degree in four or five part-time semesters. Courses include musicianship and theory for early childhood, technology in music education, and Laban movement analysis. The curriculum also requires a culminating capstone course.

Admission requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. UB is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

7

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

UMN values diversity, inclusion, and civic engagement. To that end, the university's roughly 47,000 students represent over 130 nations. UMN also serves working professionals by offering several programs online.

The university's online master's degree in music education prepares graduates to create differentiated lessons to accommodate various learning needs. Small class sizes allow students in the program to develop meaningful relationships with their instructors. The curriculum includes a pedagogical track and a research track. Courses are delivered synchronously and cover topics like theory and analysis of popular music, topics in tonal analysis, topics in 20th-century analysis, and directed research. This program also requires a thesis.

Distance learners access coursework through the Canvas learning management system. The program prefers applicants with music teaching experience in K-12 environments. UMN is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

8

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

Established in 1925 in Lubbock, TTU values diversity. To that end, Hispanic students represent more than a quarter of the student population, and enrollment by African-American learners has increased by almost a third in recent years. TTU also prioritizes accessibility by offering over 40 online graduate programs.

TTU's online master's in music education offers a 30-credit thesis track and a 36-credit non-thesis track. Courses include Kodály pedagogy, choral conducting methods, styles in wind literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, and music for students with exceptionalities. Students who choose the thesis track must give an oral defense of their thesis.

Admission requires a personal interview or audition, although the program does not require GRE scores. TTU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

9

San Jose State University

San Jose, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 65%

SJSU provides rigorous programs and student-centered learning. The university offers over 250 degrees to nearly 36,000 learners. SJSU's students also benefit from a vast alumni network that includes over 270,000 members.

SJSU's 30-credit master's in music education can be completed in three summer semesters. While students access most coursework online, they must also complete a two-week residency in person. Required courses include research in music education, instrumental conducting and rehearsal techniques, and string pedagogy.

Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree in music with a minimum 3.0 GPA and have some teaching experience. However, the program does not require GRE scores. Prospective students must also submit a portfolio, complete an interview, or prepare an audition. SJSU is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

10

Georgia College and State University

Milledgeville, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

Georgia College is a public liberal arts university that values transformative leadership, engaged learning experiences, ethical principles, and inclusion. The school's small graduate class sizes allow students to build meaningful relationships with instructors.

Online learners at Georgia College can earn a master's in music education that does not include residency requirements. The 30-credit curriculum includes courses in American music and politics, curriculum development, community and philosophical music perspectives, and wind band literature. Students also take a capstone course and a comprehensive exam.

Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA to apply. Students must also submit GRE scores, letters of recommendation, a professional resume, and an applicant statement. Georgia College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

What Else can I Expect from an Online Master's in Music Education Program?

Students pursuing a master's in music education online expand their musical knowledge and gain teaching skills. All online master's in music education programs include classes in music theory, history, and curriculum design, but some programs may emphasize areas such as Kodaly methods, choral music, or instrumental music.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Music Education

Specific coursework required for an online music education degree varies by program, but below are a few sample courses to expect:

  • Historical and philosophical foundations of music education: This course explores the foundations of music, back to ancient Greece. Students examine the purpose of music education in an historical and contemporary context to define the reasoning behind instructional and curricular decisions.
  • Research in music education: This course explores research proposals, criteria evaluation, data collection and interpretation, analysis presentation, and the application of findings to teaching practices. Students conduct interviews, develop scholarly writing skills, and examine literature, resources, and materials.
  • Pedagogy and instructional design in music education: Students learn to develop, plan, design, implement, and evaluate music lessons and curricula. Coursework explores conceptual frameworks, learning theories, pedagogical approaches, learning tools, and assessment techniques.
  • Psychology of music: Students explore the acoustics of music, human responses, hearing, and perception to understand how humans interact with music. This study of psychological principles and theories prepares graduates to meet the needs of individual students.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Online Master's In Music Education?

A typical online master's in music education requires 30 to 36 credits, which full-time students typically complete in 18 to 24 months. Completion time depends on the school and whether the student transfers in credits. Most programs allow students to apply some previously earned credits toward their degree, but some schools are stricter than others. Generally, students may bring up to six credits from previous studies, but some schools allow 10, 12, or even more credits. Some courses run for eight-week quarter sessions, while others last full semesters. Cohort-based programs require students to take coursework in a strict sequence, as each class builds on the previous one. Individually paced programs, however, offer customizable curricula and personalized scheduling.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Music Education Degrees

Accreditation shows that a school is committed to academic excellence through a comprehensive review process. Online music education degree programs may be regionally and/or institutionally accredited. Six U.S. agencies award regional accreditation to schools that meet rigorous standards. On the other hand, institutional accreditation applies to a department or program, and institutional accrediting bodies focus on a particular area of study. Music majors should look for accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). Established in 1924, NASM comprises more than 600 accredited conservatories, schools, universities, and colleges.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) establishes federal financial aid policies, conducts research on schools, identifies and addresses education-related issues, and ensures equal access to education. While ED does not accredit educational institutions or programs, the department recognizes and approves accrediting agencies. ED promotes the accreditation of institutions and ensures steady improvement of academic quality. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation is a leading advocacy membership organization made of up more than 3,000 colleges, universities, and accrediting agencies. ED and CHEA each maintain a list of recognized accrediting agencies.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Music Education Graduates

Graduates with an online music education master's degree pursue careers in academic leadership, curriculum design and research, and teaching. Graduates share their passion for music by directing bands, choruses, and orchestras, leading community outreach groups, and conducting private lessons. Some music professionals teach university classes, lead professional workshops and conferences, and publish research.

Music directors and conductors

Music directors lead music groups such as orchestras, bands, and choirs. Thy balance the music's melody, timing, volume, and rhythm by providing feedback to musicians. They also select compositions and arrangements for performances.

Median Annual Salary: $50,110
Projected Growth Rate: 3%

Elementary school music teachers

Elementary school music teachers share musical knowledge with young children. They create lesson plans, develop classroom rules, communicate with parents, and observe and assess the musical abilities of their students.

Median Annual Salary: $55,490
Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Middle and high school music teachers

Middle and high school music teachers build on the foundational musical knowledge students learned in elementary school, while high school teachers prepare students for life after high school.

Median Annual Salary: $57,375
Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Postsecondary music faculty or professors

Postsecondary music faculty may work as adjunct or full-time professors at colleges or universities. They create instructional plans, advise students, conduct research, and sometimes serve on academic or administrative committees.

Median Annual Salary: $75,430
Projected Growth Rate: 13%

Professional musicians

Musicians perform for live audiences and participate in musical recordings with bands, orchestras, or other music groups. Many professional musicians give private lessons to adults and children.

Median Annual Salary: $48,131
Projected Growth Rate: 3%

Master's In Music Education Salary

In addition to career and workplace, professional experience impacts annual earnings for music education professionals. The expected salaries of elementary, middle, and high school teachers increase with experience. On the other hand, online music education degree holders who become music directors typically receive a relatively consistent income throughout their careers. The following table shows median salaries for popular positions for graduates of master's in music education online programs.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Median Salary for Mid-Career Median Salary for Late-Career
Music director $40,990 $36,000 $41,000 $41,000
Elementary school music teacher $44,017 $39,000 $44,000 $57,000
High school teacher $48,363 $41,000 $47,000 $60,000
Postsecondary music faculty $45,325 $44,000 $52,000 $66,000
Musician $40,656 $44,000 $49,000 $62,000

Financing Your Online Master's in Music Education Program

After enrolling in a master's in music education online program, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine which federal aid you are eligible for. Find out what opportunities your school offers, such as loans, grants, work-study programs, and need-based scholarships. Music-related merit-based scholarships are available through professional music organizations such as NAfME, ASCAP Foundation, and National Federation of Music Clubs.


AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.