Grad School Hub - Most Affordable Online Programs-01
An online Master's in Music Education is an exceptional degree for music teachers and educators who are interested in advancing in their careers. With a graduate degree, these professionals will be in a better position to help their students and clients grow in their music abilities. From learning about music theory and history to building on the instructor skills, this is a fantastic opportunity for educators to improve their own understanding of music education.

But going back to school may not be feasible for all music education professionals. They may work full-time or have other obligations that keep them from being able to attend a traditional program. Online programs are a great alternative; flexible and affordable, these programs provide an excellent education in a format that makes it easy for every professional to consider.

Methodology

This ranking was built using data collected from the National Center for Education Statistics. By combing through the College Navigator database, an initial pool of 25 schools that deliver online Master's in Music Education programs was created. From there, the final 10 were decided upon based on in-state graduation tuition rates. They are listed below from the least to the most affordable program.

Ranking Low-cost Online Music Education Master's

10. Northern State University

Aberdeen, South Dakota

Online Master's of Music Education

Website

Tuition: $7,997

Northern State University confers an online Master's in Music Education that is perfect for teachers who are interested in completing an advanced degree. This is a hybrid program that is accredited by both the National Association of Schools of Music and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Evaluation. Courses are delivered asynchronously and students can choose to enter the program in the fall, spring, or summer terms. Students will be expected to complete a one-week residency every summer for the duration of their degree plan. This course of study is designed to be completed in as little two years with part-time study. Students can expect to complete 32 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include School of Music Administration, Technology for Music Educators, and Foundations of Music Education, History, and Trends.

9. Campbellsville University

Campbellsville, Kentucky

Online Master of Music in Music Education

Website

Tuition: $7,182

A Master's in Music Education online degree is available from Campbellsville University. This 100 percent online program was created to help educators and music instructors offer training in a variety of settings. This program is certified by the National Association of Schools of Music. Students are not required to have a valid teaching license in their state in order to apply for this program; however, they must possess a bachelor's degree in music from an accredited university. Courses are delivered asynchronously and follow the 16-week term schedule format. Students will have a choice for their final project: a thesis or a capstone portfolio. Additionally, students will be expected to complete 32 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written exam; all of the requirements can be met in as little as two years with part-time study. Sample courses include Psychology of Music, Contemporary Issues in Music Education, and Music Teaching and Learning: Global Perspectives.

8. Adams State University

Alamosa, Colorado

Online Master of Arts in Music Education

Website

Tuition: $7,164

Adams State University offers an online master's degree in music education that is designed for musical professionals interested in training other musicians. Students will note this degree is only open to students who hold a bachelor's degree in music or music education from an accredited university. This is a hybrid cohort model that requires a single three-day residency on the school campus; all other courses are delivered asynchronously and on a 16-week term schedule. This program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music and features courses taught by professors with real-world musical training. Cohorts are capped at 25 students, ensuring that each student is offered an intimate and engaging experience while completing the program. Students will be required to complete 30 credit hours of coursework as well as a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Music Education Research, Composition and Arranging, and Music Literature and Pedagogy.

7. Anderson University

Anderson, South Carolina

Online Master of Music in Music Education

Website

Tuition: $6,390

Working professionals will find an excellent music education master's online degree at Anderson University. This school confers it's offering entirely online; students can also opt to attend on-campus workshops should they have an interest in the specialized topics covered. The degree is delivered asynchronously and in a seven-week term schedule. It can be completed in as little as 24 months with part-time study. At this time, only students with a bachelor's degree in music education from an accredited university are eligible to apply. Students will be required to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a research and teaching project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Graduate Music Theory Review, Current Issues in Music Education, and Topics in Music History.

6. University of West Georgia

Carrollton, Georgia

Online Master of Music in Music Education

Website

Tuition: $6,316

The University of West Georgia provides an excellent online Master's in Music Education. This school's 100 percent online program is accredited by both the National Association of Schools of Music and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Courses are offered asynchronously and by an internationally renown faculty known for their experience as both musicians and music educators. This program follows the traditional 16-week term schedule and can be completed in as little as two years. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a thesis, and a comprehensive written oral exam. Sample courses include History and Philosophy of Music Education, Research Methods and Materials, and Music History and Literature.

5. University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida

Online Master of Arts in Music Education

Website

Tuition: $6,311

The University of South Florida offers professionals a great opportunity to learn about advanced concepts in music education. This school's online Master's in Music Education was created specifically for music educators who hold a valid teaching license in their state and have at least two years of classroom experience as a music educator. This hybrid program is research-based, meaning students should expect to complete a research project as part of their graduation requirements. Courses are taught in both asynchronous and synchronous formats. There is a one-week intensive on campus that must be completed prior to starting on the plan of study. It is possible to complete this degree in one year with full-time study; part-time students can complete the requirements in two years. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, a research project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include History of Blues and Rock, Learner-Centered Approaches in Music Education, and Research Data Analysis and Report Writing in Music Education.

4. Georgia College

Milledgeville, Georgia

Online Master of Education in Music Education

Website

Tuition: $5,870

There is a great online music education master's degree available from Georgia College. This 100 percent online degree offers students a research-based education on music and was designed specifically for working music teachers; students who do not hold a bachelor's degree in music education from an accredited university are not eligible to apply. Similarly, this school requires at least two years of experience as a music teacher and a valid teaching license in the student's home state. Courses are asynchronous and are taught by in-service professionals and instructors. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include American Music and Politics, Research and Music Education, and Community and Philosophical Music Perspectives.

3. Tarleton State University

Stephenville, Texas

Online Master of Music in Music Education

Website

Tuition: $5,848

Tarleton State University confers an online Master's in Music Education that was built for in-service music teachers. This 100 percent online program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Students will be given the choice of three tracks: a non-thesis, non-project track, a thesis track, and a curriculum project track. Courses are delivered asynchronously in an eight-week format and are offered consecutively; this means a professional can complete this degree in as little as two years just by taking one course at a time. Students will find that they have the ability to tailor their curriculum towards their specialized interests, even though emphases are not available from this school. This degree requires a total of 36 credit hours of coursework and projects as well as a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Ethnomusicology, Psychology in Music, and Technology in the Music Classroom.

2. University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Greensboro, North Carolina

Online Master of Music in Music Education

Website

Tuition: $5,014

Professionals interested in an online Master's in Music Education will find the offering from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to be a great choice. This degree can be taken as a 100 percent online or hybrid program; the curriculum and instructors remain the same, regardless of what format they choose; hybrid students will be invited to take part in the department's optional summer institute, which focuses on a new specialized topic every year. Students will be required to provide evidence that they have earned a bachelor's degree in music education from an accredited university. This program holds accreditation from both the National Association of Schools of Music and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Evaluation. Courses are delivered asynchronously and on a 16-week term schedule. Students will be required to complete 34 credit hours of coursework, a portfolio project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Music Education Research, History of Music in the United States, and Technology in the Music Classroom.

1. East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina

Online Master of Music in Music Education

Website

Tuition: $4,487

East Carolina University confers a cheap music education master's that is perfect for music educators and instructors interested in an advanced degree. This program offers seven emphasis areas, including Music Therapy, Pedagogical Studies, and Music Theory and Composition. It is possible to earn advanced teaching licensure with this degree; however, this option is only open to North Carolina residents who already have a Class A teaching license that is in good standing. This is a 100 percent online program that is taught asynchronously and on the traditional academic term schedule. Students can expect to complete 48 credit hours of coursework, a thesis or a final project, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include History and Philosophy of Music Education, Research for Practitioners in Music Education, and Foundations, Leadership, and Communication in Music Education.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are My Career Options for an Online Master's in Music Education Degree?

An online Master's in Music Education is generally thought of as the logical next step for a music teacher who would like to advance their career. This could be as a professor at a community college or university or even moving to a conservatory or academy to teach talented young musicians.

But it is not the only career option. There are several other pathways that professionals may be interested in learning more about. Here is a short list to help begin the research process in what careers might be right for music educators:

  • Worship Pastor
  • Choral Director
  • Band Director
  • Non-Profit Music Program Director
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Music Director
  • Director of Teaching and Learning
  • Musician
  • Music Therapist
  • Instructional Designer

Several of these career paths will take additional education, most often in the form of postgraduate certificates that can be earned online from a university. Some may also require credentials; students should research the career path to ensure they understand what will be required for finding employment.

How Much Can You Earn in This Field?

The average salary range for this field is $34,000 to $110,000. This includes the various career opportunities available in music education, from music director to creative director of a record label. It also is the median salary range, meaning that students should expect their starting salaries to be a bit lower unless they have substantial work experience.

Professionals should note that the higher a salary for a position, the more work experience is required. In some cases, advanced licensure or credentials will need to be in good standing in order for applicants to be considered for a position. Many positions also want to see personal creative projects from applicants, meaning that professionals should consider continuing their own musical creative projects.

What are the Various Disciplines of Music Education?

Music education is a discipline made up of music and education. While this may seem straightforward enough, there are a variety of other disciplines that inform the field. It's important to keep these in mind as in-service professionals understand the impact of the following disciplines:

  • Psychology
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Administration
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Math
  • Art
  • Economics
  • Technology
  • Science

These may seem like disparate disciplines to pre-service professionals. The reality, however, is that all of these disciplines play a major role in the field of music education. Music is a creative art, working with history, sound, and instruments to create a specific voice to a certain point in time or for a culture. It is also a science, one that has increasingly used technology as a way to advance the craft. And music education is just as influenced by economics and administration as it is by science and math.

Is Specialized Accreditation Necessary for This Degree?

Specialized accreditation for music education programs are necessary for professionals who wish to be certified or licensed as an instructor or teacher in the field. While it is possible to find work as a private tutor without specialized accreditation, it is not possible to find work at a conservatory, academy, or school.

The National Association for Schools of Music is the country's largest and only accrediting body for music education. It was established in 1924 to help schools build standards for music educators and currently represents 651 accredited institution members, including conservatories and universities.

It is also the most prestigious accreditation that a university or college can receive. This bodes well for students who are interested in earning credentials as a music educator, as the NASM is the only body in America that provides credentials for this profession.

Students will do well to find a school with this accreditation. Most of the online programs on this ranking are accredited by the NASM, so it's a great place to start. For students who are interested in learning more about credentials, including learning what the requirements are, please visit the NASM website.

What are Some of the Requirements for Applying to an Online Master's in Music Education?

Music education is an incredibly specialized field; for that reason, the following requirements are standard practice for all graduate programs in this area. While some programs may make exceptions for applicants, the vast majority require them in order to keep their academic standards high. Students are advised to still check the requirements for the program they are interested in before moving on to applying for placement.

The first major requirement is a bachelor's degree in music, specifically music education, from an accredited university. As this is an advanced degree, programs assume that many professionals will have already earned this degree. It is still stated in requirements for admission to deter students who may not have a degree in music education or music specifically.

Students with a degree in music but who did not specialize in music education may be given special consideration. This is only possible if they have received a specialized credential in music education. Because states vary the requirements for these types of credentials, it is up to the student to research the certifications and licensures in their state.

The second major requirement is that of work experience. Most programs require two years of work experience as a music instructor; the most popular is that of a music teacher. This is because the program is most often designed for in-service teachers, making it possible for these professionals to complete the degree without having to do a field placement.

The third and final requirement is that of a personal essay. While personal essays are normal for every university application, it differs for music education programs in that it requires a student to demonstrate advanced knowledge of music. This includes composition, music theory, music history, and more.

There are some rare schools that will accept a student who does not meet these requirements; however, it is important to note that those programs are not accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music and do not lead to advanced teaching licensures in any state. These programs are generally reserved for musicians who are interested in moving into an instructor role at a music academy or for private tutoring.

Music education is a passion; it is a field that focuses a professional on not just their love of music, but also their enthusiasm for passing their musical knowledge to their pupils. Now music educators don't have to take time off to earn a graduate degree in their field. They only need to choose one of the top ten online Master's in Music Education programs above in order to make their career goals a reality.

GSH Staff
July 2018

This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Most Affordable Master's in Music Education Online for 2018.