Music Education Advising Guide

Department of Music - Music Education


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What is Music Education?

A degree in music education will certify students to teach music in the public and private schools of Alabama and most other states.


Career Opportunities in Music Education

  • Instrumental Music teacher (private or public schools) – K-12
  • Vocal Music teacher (private or public schools) – K-12
  • General Music teacher (private or public schools) – K-12
  • Independent/private Music teacher – all ages
  • Music coach
  • Substitute teacher
  • Music Therapy (not offered as a separate program at USA, but music education graduates can apply for approved academic and clinical training programs through AMTA; careers in schools, hospitals, day cares, nursing homes, private practice)


Salary Trends in Music Education

  • Instrumental Music teacher (private or public schools) – K-12 ($30,000-$71,181; median $46,135)
  • Vocal Music teacher (private or public schools) – K-12 ($30,000-$71,181; median $46,135)
  • General Music teacher (private or public schools) – K-12 ($30,000-$71,181; median $46,135)
  • Independent/private Music teacher – all ages ($30-60 per hour)
  • Music coach ($300-1000 per session)
  • Substitute teacher ($30-90 per day)
  • Music Therapy – ($20,000-$135,000)

Unlike more vocationally-oriented majors, such as majors in business, engineering, or the health professions, A&S majors tend to study a greater range of topics outside of their immediate major area. This greater breadth provides an interdisciplinary perspective that complements the more linear education in the student’s major area. 

As a result, A&S majors are compatible with a wide-range of career options. A large 2012 survey of employers found that 81% of employers will consider any degree, so most employers do not require a specific degree. So A&S majors typically find post-graduate employment at rates comparable to more vocationally-specific degrees, Furthermore, longitudinal studies which have followed college graduates over time have shown that Arts and Sciences graduates' rates of salary growth often exceed those of more vocationally-specific majors. For example, a 2010 longitudinal survey of college majors after graduation found that:

“Occupationally specific degrees are beneficial at the point of entry into the labor market but have the lowest growth in occupational status over time. Students earning credentials focusing on general skills, in contrast, begin in jobs with low occupational status but subsequently report the greatest growth.

Another longitudinal study concluded that:

"Employment across educational fields is almost identical for individuals aged 35-44, and beyond age 45, humanities graduates actually have higher rates of employment than those in other fields. After age 45, humanities and social science majors’ salaries overtake those of counterparts in other fields."

Finally, A&S majors have on average the highest rates of increase from starting to mid-career salary, with Math, Philosophy, International Studies, Physics, Political Science, Chemistry, and Journalism all scoring in the top 10 among all majors in rate of salary growth to mid-career.


High School Preparation

  • Experience in band, choir, or orchestra
  • Must be able to read music (at least one clef fluently)


How to Major in Music Education

A student must audition on their instrument/voice for admission to the music program.


Special Programs, Internships, and Directed Studies 

All music education students will complete a teaching internship during their final semester. 


Music Education Highlights 

  • Opportunity to participate in a variety of ensembles.
  • Opportunity to participate in various teaching activities on a weekly basis.
  • Certification in Alabama (and reciprocal states) K-12


Study Abroad Opportunities

Studying abroad is an exciting and meaningful experience that will contribute to your academic and personal development.  Participating on a study abroad program can be one of the most profound decisions of your college life, and can lead to many new and interesting opportunities.  It can help develop your critical thinking skills, sense of independence, and confidence.  When you depart on your study abroad program, you will go with excitement, trepidation, and uncertainty about the world and your place in it.  When you return home, your deep connection and affection for your host culture will be overwhelming, and will only be matched by a newfound respect and appreciation for your home.

Study abroad is the opportunity for USA students to spend time in a different country while earning credit towards your degree through taking classes, interning, volunteering, and more.  There are many different types of study abroad available to you at USA. They include faculty-led programs, international exchange programs, and direct-enroll and affiliate programs. 

Students on faculty-led programs will travel as a group led by USA professors and take classes in various locations. All courses taken on these programs are USA courses and offer USA credits that will apply to your degree. International Exchange programs are partnerships with specific universities around the world with which USA has a special, reciprocal relationship. Students enroll directly at the host university, and students from the host university attend USA. USA affiliate programs allow students to enroll at a partner university or program through a third-party provider. GPA requirements vary by program.

You should think of the Study Abroad Office as a one-stop shop for information related to your study abroad experience. The Study Abroad ( team is excited to assist you as you navigate through the process of choosing a program, and will help you from the advising stage until you return from your program.  You can get started by coming to meet with an advisor during Walk-In Advising hours. During an advising session, you can gain general information about the many programs available, how the application process works at USA and general guidance on where to begin.

Be sure to visit the OIE Study Abroad website at to begin your research.  The website contains information on how to get started, financing your program, and a comprehensive list of pre-approved study abroad programs and partners. While researching a passport or visa programs, consider the following: eligibility requirements, location, course offerings, and costs.  You should also meet with your faculty advisor for assistance in selecting a program based on courses related to your degree.

Studying abroad can be one of the highlights of your university career, giving you wonderful and challenging experiences that will allow you to grow both academically and professionally. Where will you study abroad?


Academic Plan

Following an academic plan will help you stay on track to graduate in four years. 

To see sample academic plans for Music Education, please see below. Degree plans provide only a suggested schedule; make sure to meet with your academic advisor to find the actual schedule that is right for you.

For additional degree information for Music Education Instrumental, visit the undergraduate bulletin.

For additional degree information for Music Education Vocal, visit the undergraduate bulletin.


For More Information

For more information on this program, contact the department chair, Dr. Laura Moore, at (251) 460-6136 or 

You can find us on campus at:

Laidlaw Performing Arts Center
5751 USA Drive S., Room 1072
Mobile, AL 36688

Department website