Music education degrees will set you up to become a music teacher in a school or with advanced education, at a college or university. Some of the types of classes that you will be able to teach as a music teacher include early education, elementary school, and secondary school courses. For many people, pursuing a degree in music education leads to a lifelong career that is both rewarding and creative. Music teachers, unlike science and mathematics teachers, are not in high demand. This is because as money gets cut from the educational system, arts and music programs are usually the first to go. However, it is possible to find employment in this field if you are willing to move or increase your skill set. To become a certificated music teacher, you will need to pass the appropriate tests for the state or country in which you wish to teach. For example, in some US states, you must successfully pass a subject test in music as well as tests that allow you to demonstrate your knowledge of different teaching methodologies and practices. You will also need to complete a number of in-classroom teaching hours.
Music Education Preparation and Training
There are several ways to become a music educator. Music education in schools is important for providing balance in curriculum and instruction. For example, you could achieve a Master’s degree in music and then take the necessary education courses and tests in order to also receive a teaching certification.
Yet another path is to study music at the undergraduate level while you earn a Bachelor’s degree in Education or you could find a school that has a Bachelor’s level course that is in Music Education.
Many colleges do not offer music education degrees. Instead, they require you to do a joint degree or a double major in education and music at the same time. Regardless of which path you choose in order to receive your degree and certification, there are some courses that you will have to take. Courses may include:
- Music Theory
- Music History
- Foundations of Music Education
In order to get your degree, you will need to successfully pass a number of courses that relate to music theory and performance. The performance options will be specific to your chosen instrument. The education courses will pertain to different teaching methodologies and practices. Most education courses also require their students to take courses that deal with diversity in the classroom and strategies for teaching in an urban environment.
Licensure and Certification
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that all states require teachers in public schools to be licensed, or certified. The requirements for certification vary by state but all states require at least a bachelor’s degree. For those who teach in private schools licensure may not be required, but may nonetheless be preferred.
- Each sate may require candidates to pass a teaching certification test, demonstrates their knowledge in the subject they will teach
- Teachers are often required to complete annual professional development classes to maintain their certificates
- Most states require teachers to pass a background check
- Some states require teachers to complete a master degree after receiving certification
- All states offer an alternative route to certification for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree but are missing education courses required for certification
- States also require students in teacher preparation programs to complete supervised experience in teaching earned through student teaching or teaching practicum
- Some states require a minimum grade point average
- With additional education or certification, teachers can work toward becoming school counselors, librarians, instructional coordinators, assistant principals or principals
Music Education Careers
Although the number of teaching jobs available to music teachers is quite small in comparison to other areas, there are additional career options that can be followed with a music teaching degree. For example, if you are quite gifted, you may be able to teach in a music school, rather than a private or public school. You may also be able to earn money as a music tutor. Yet another option is to achieve your Master’s or PhD in Education. This will provide you with the experience needed to occupy higher administrative positions within a school. This also qualifies you to teach education and music courses at the university level. With additional training, some people choose to go into music therapy.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
The current salary range for music teachers within an elementary school runs from $32,000 to $47,000, with new entrants occupying the lower end. High school teachers typically earn between $35,000 and $50,000. The salary you are offered will depend upon where you decide to teach and your level of education in the music education degree. 2010.
- Kindergarten teachers – $48,800
- Elementary school teachers – $51,660
- Middle school teachers – $51,960
- High school teachers – $53,230
- Special education teachers – $53,220
Employment of special kindergarten, elementary, and middle school teachers is expected to grow by 17% from 2010 to 2020. That of high school teachers is expected to grow 7% during the same period.
Teachers with Master’s degrees or PhD typically earn more. Of the millions of people who are employed as teachers, only a small percentage of them teach music. Unfortunately, as a music teacher, your job is always at a higher risk of getting axed when budget cuts must be enforced.
However, you have the option of teaching private lessons or within a university if you achieve the appropriate level of education. Nonetheless, those who earn music education degrees enjoy the interaction they have with their students and they enjoy what they are talented in.
Music Education and Teaching Programs
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Concordia University - Portland offers several fully online 14-month Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs and a fully online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program. You'll learn new strategies and techniques for your classroom while expanding your knowledge and skills as an educator.
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