Why This Matters

  • WORK WITH PEOPLE IN MULTIPLE SETTINGS

    A master’s in music education prepares you to work in several settings. Teach at a public or private school, or give private individual lessons. Some music teachers start their own music education programs.

  • COLLEGE PROFESSORS MAKE $80,000+ YEARLY

    The mean annual wage of postsecondary art, drama, and music teachers is $83,220. The top fourth of college music professors make six figures.

  • EARN ANOTHER $50+ PER HOUR TEACHING PRIVATELY

    Private music teachers earn an average hourly rate of $51.41 according to Payscale. You can work as much or as little as you want on the side.

Our Research

We reviewed many master’s in music education programs, including Master of Music Education (MEd) and Master of Music (MM) degrees. The two degrees have different emphases, but each can prepare you for a career teaching others about music.

The list includes online, on-campus, and hybrid programs to make it easy for many people to find a suitable option. Online programs may have a brief in-person component.

Every program listed maintains regional accreditation with an appropriate body, and most also are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). Accreditation ensures the quality of a program and the widespread acceptance of the program’s degrees.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 50 hours to write this article
  • 191 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 285 education programs we compared

The Top 49 Master’s in Music Education Degree Programs

Best Master's in Music Education Degree Programs
01
Intelligent Pick
Anderson University
01
Best for Musicology
University of Hawaii
01
Best Christian Institution
North Greenville University
01
Best Certification Track
Florida International University
01
Best for Composition
Adams State University
01
Best in the Southeast
University of South Florida
01
Best HBCU
Alabama State University
01
Best Fellowships
University at Buffalo
01
Best in the West
Colorado State University
01
Best Guest Artists
State University Of New York, Fredonia
01
Best Workshops
Ithaca College
01
Best Assistantships
Ohio University
01
Best for Piano Pedagogy
The State University of New York at Potsdam
01
Best Thesis Option
University of Michigan
01
Best for Current Teachers
UNC Greensboro
01
Best Public Research School
University of Southern Mississippi
01
Best in the Midwest
University of Wisconsin-Madison
01
Best for International Students
Arkansas State University
01
Best in the Southwest
Arizona State University
01
Best for Interdisciplinary Approach
Auburn University
01
Best for Community Involvement
Belmont University
01
Best for Career Opportunities
Boston Conservatory at Berklee
01
Most Flexible Curriculum
University of Bridgeport
01
Best Private Institution
Butler University
01
Best Financial Aid Options
Case Western Reserve University
01
Best for Choral Specialization
Central Michigan University
01
Best for Early Childhood Music Education
Columbia University
01
Best for State-of-the-Art Technology
Eastern Illinois University
01
Best Scholarships
Five Towns College
01
Most Flexible Admissions
Illinois State University
01
Most Rigorous Curriculum
James Madison University
01
Best for Secondary School Music Education
Jackson State University
01
Best for Market-driven Coursework
Liberty University
01
Best One-year Program
Longy School of Music of Bard College

What You Should Know About This Degree

Most entry-level music education jobs require only a bachelor’s degree, although educators who want to teach in a public school also need a state-issued teaching license or certification. State requirements for teaching licenses vary.

A master’s in music education usually is necessary only if you want to teach at a postsecondary school, teach at a public school in a state that requires a master’s, or attain an administrative position. If you’re pursuing a master’s degree to meet a teaching license requirement, make sure the program you enroll in meets your state’s licensing prerequisites. Some of these master’s programs are designed for people who already have teaching licenses, and not all programs will be accepted by every state.

The coursework for online programs can largely be completed remotely, but many programs also have an experiential component that must be done in-person. It may be possible to do this component near you, but you’ll want to make sure that any in-person experiential portion is compatible with your schedule.

Music teachers who give private music lessons don’t have to meet any specific licensing requirements. You can begin offering private lessons while pursuing a master’s degree if you intend to pursue private lessons as a side gig or primary income stream.

What’s Next?

Consider these questions as you evaluate master’s in music education programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Many master’s in music education degrees are intended for students who have completed a bachelor’s degree, and some require a teaching license or teaching experience. Confirm that your educational and professional experience meets a program’s minimum requirements before applying.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Program courses may be offered either through traditional classes (synchronously) or through work that’s completed on your own schedule (asynchronously). Many programs use a combination of synchronous and asynchronous coursework.

When you identify a degree program that seems promising, research the required application materials and deadlines. This information is available on a program’s website or from admissions officers.

Also think about how you’ll pay for a degree program. Ask about scholarships, grants, and other types of financial aid. If you’re employed, check to see whether your employer offers tuition reimbursement.