Why This Matters


    A master’s degree in music education trains individuals in the advanced skills and knowledge needed to take on leadership roles as music professors, program administrators, and band, orchestra, and choir directors.


    As college enrollment rises, so too does the need for instructors in many areas, including music. Generally, a master’s degree is required for individuals seeking teaching positions at the collegiate level.


    Postsecondary music teachers, who must have a master’s, earn an average annual wage of $69,960. Comparatively, the average annual salary for music teachers in elementary, middle, and high school settings is $59,290.

Our Research

This list consists of master’s in music education programs. The most common graduate degrees in music education are a Master of Education (M.Ed) or a Master of Music (MM). Each degree has a different theoretical approach, but both prepare students for advancement in music education.

The programs we reviewed are primarily delivered online. Some programs are also offered on-campus, and students may have the option to complete their degrees with a combination of in-person and online courses.

All of the programs are offered by regionally accredited institutions, confirming that they meet high standards of education. The majority of programs also have accreditation through the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), a national organization recognizing quality in music-related degree programs.

We reviewed each program based on its outcomes, faculty, flexibility, reputation, and cost. Then we assigned each program an Intelligent Score on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 56 hours to write this article
  • 164 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 422 education programs we compared

The Top 40 Online Master’s in Music Education Programs

Best Online Master's in Music Education Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

Music education is a bachelor’s-level entry field, meaning most individuals can obtain jobs with an undergraduate degree in music education. Like other teachers, music educators in public school settings must have a state-issued teaching license or certification. These regulations vary by state, and states may or may not recognize licenses awarded in other states.

Many master’s in music education programs are designed for individuals who already have teaching certification and therefore do not lead to certification for those who complete the degree. If you are pursuing a master’s in music education as a way to become a music instructor in a public school setting, be sure to select a program that meets your state’s requirements for licensure.

Salary ranges for music educators vary depending on the type of school setting, the geographic location, and other factors. These factors may affect a music educator’s salary more than their level of education, as indicated by reports from Payscale.com on salaries for music educators with a bachelor’s degree and those with a master’s degree. Individuals should take these factors into consideration when evaluating their return on investment in a master’s in music education degree.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Master’s in Music Education programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Many music education master’s programs are designed for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree, teaching certification, and teaching experience. Consider your educational and professional background when researching programs, and select a program that matches your qualifications and career goals.
  • Are there any in-person requirements for this program? Most education programs, even those delivered online, require in-person teaching experience. For individuals who are currently working in school settings, you may be able to complete these requirements at your current job. Other programs may require on-campus attendance for special seminars or residencies. Look carefully at programs’ plans of study to identify any in-person requirements so that you can plan on accommodating them in your schedule and budget.

At this point, you should also be organizing your application materials and planning out how you will finance your graduate degree. Information about admissions requirements and funding resources are typically available on the school’s website, or you can contact their admissions and financial aid offices. If you are currently employed, find out if your employer offers any tuition assistance benefits.