Which are the most affordable online master’s in music education in the US? We help you find the best master’s degree program at a price you can afford.
Music is a universal language. It crosses decades and cultural barriers, bringing people together and fostering a unique connection. Dancing to music lifts our spirits, improves our attitude, and dispels our concerns.
For this reason, you’ll encounter music educators who are members of the Music Teachers National Association, as well as music therapy and music technology professionals from various backgrounds, professions, and cultures.
Online master in music education degrees do more than just give you access to higher pay! Many professionals pursue a Master’s in music program to learn the best methods for engaging their students with their love for music.
If you intend to turn your passion for music into a financially viable career, one of the best ways to advance your career is by enrolling in a master’s in music education program. Here is a list of the most affordable music education master’s degree programs online.
Average Total Cost (In-state): $14,000
Least Expensive Affordable Online College in Our Ranking: University of North Carolina at Greensboro $3,206
Most Expensive Affordable Online College in Our Ranking: Illinois State University $15,483
There are a number of top-ranked music education programs at the master’s level online. In this ranking, we have included the ten best online master’s in music education that also offer the most affordable tuition rates.
Tuition + fees
University of South Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Location: Tampa, Florida
In-State Tuition Cost: $7,840
Out-of-State Tuition Cost: $15,868
The MA in Music Education degree at USF is a 30-credit hour degree program accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). Twenty-one credit hours are dedicated to online courses, while nine are for electives. The program’s core courses include Learner-Centered Approaches in Music Education I and II, Research Report Writing in Music Education, and Literature Review in Music Education, among others.
Online students must attend a one-week, intensive summer experience on campus.
The USF MA program is designed for working music department personnel who want to understand informal learning and learner-centered pedagogies better. Music education students in this graduate degree program are equipped to do their own music teaching research and critically evaluate it. Major research areas of the program include:
Tuition + fees
Ohio University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Location: Athens, Ohio
In-State Tuition Cost: $13,352
Out-of-State Tuition Cost: $23,720
Ohio University’s online master’s in music education degree program has gained full accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). The program has two tracks for students seeking a specialization: the Instrumental Emphasis and the Choral Emphasis. Both degrees require students to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours. The Choral Emphasis, however, requires students to supplement Independent Study, which is a 2-semester hour course.
The program is ideal for practicing teachers, thanks to its 100% online coursework. This online program will prepare students for permanent certification and doctoral studies. Students should expect to spend equal amounts of time in music (including conducting), jazz studies, music theory, music history, and music instruction.
Tuition + fees
Florida International University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Location: Miami, Florida
In-State Tuition Cost: $4,101
Out-of-State Tuition Cost: $9,015
FIU’s Herbert and Nicole Wertheim School of Music & Performing Arts ranks highly for the most popular place to study music. The online MS in music education is a 30-credit hour program designed to help students pursue advanced coursework and improve their knowledge of music education research, curricular theories, philosophy, psychology, policy, and other areas.
Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, the MS in music education online is a research-focused course of study created for working music teachers. Students can extend their program by 2–6 credits to satisfy the requirements of a master’s thesis after graduation or a 3-credit capstone-directed research project.
Tuition + fees
Bowling Green State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Location: Bowling Green, Ohio
In-State Tuition Cost: $5,532.96
Out-of-State Tuition Cost: $5,664.96
Online music education at Bowling Green State University is a 100% online degree that focuses on the needs of working adult students. With its good standing and accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music, the Teaching Artistry degree can be completed in an accelerated format.
Students who enroll in an accelerated format can complete the program in 15 months, lowering education costs. Online students complete classes that last eight weeks and are entirely online.
The same world class faculty that teach in-person classes are available to online students. Every student who enrolls in the master’s program in music education focusing on teaching artistry receives a personal teaching mentor as well.
Tuition + fees
Illinois State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Location: Normal, Illinois
In-State Tuition Cost: $15,483
Out-of-State Tuition Cost: $27,007
Illinois State University allows students pursuing a master’s degree in music education to complete coursework fully or partially online. The program is in good standing and fully accredited by the National Association of Music Schools.
This degree is designed for certified music educators. It allows students to research current concerns in the field. Students explore courses in Evaluation, Curriculum, Psychology of Music, Research, and Foundations of Music Education.
In addition to low tuition costs, ISU is known for offering various financial aid for online students, such as Graduate Assistantships—moreover, the School of Music at ISU awards Graduate Tuition Waivers to its outstanding applicants. The School of Music may also grant Graduate Tuition Waivers to existing students who have contributed favorably to the school and who have demonstrated growth and promise for success.
Tuition + fees
East Carolina University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Location: Greenville, North Carolina
In-State Tuition Cost: $3,731.45
Out-of-State Tuition Cost: $10,305.95
East Carolina University’s online Master of Music offers a music education concentration that equips students with the necessary skills and knowledge for the North Carolina graduate teacher license. ECU’s master’s in music education emphasizes pedagogical studies and can be completed 100% online. Students in the music education curriculum can choose between two tracks: non-license preparation or teacher education.
Tuition + fees
University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Location: Greensboro, North Carolina
In-State Tuition Cost: $3,206
Out-of-State Tuition Cost: $5,893-$10,271
The MM in Music Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is home to one of the cheapest NASM-accredited music degree programs online for out-of-state students. The online curriculum is identical to its on-campus program, requiring students to complete 32 credit hours and a capstone project during the final semester of the MM program to demonstrate their advanced competencies.
Coursework is divided into music research, music studies, and professional music education core courses, electives, and a portfolio/capstone.
The summer program is created to suit the demands of working public school teachers who want to continue their education without altering their current schedules. Students can finish the curriculum in three summer sessions corresponding to the regular academic year. Graduates become qualified to sit for the North Carolina Advanced Teaching Licensure (M) in Music.
Tuition + fees
University of Southern Mississippi’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi
In-State Tuition Cost: $4,850
Out-of-State Tuition Cost: $4,850
The University of Southern Mississippi offers a flat rate tuition fee. The online Music Education MME at USM is a 30-credit hour degree program accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. This degree is designed for professionals in the music industry. It allows graduate students to address relevant topics in the modern music industry.
In addition to being affordable and flexible, online students can expect to receive several scholarship opportunities. First-time, totally online students can receive $500 toward their first semester thanks to the university’s online student scholarship. Additionally, online students can apply to find more external and internal financial aid opportunities with the help of financial aid advisors.
Tuition + fees
University of Northern Colorado’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Location: Greeley, Colorado
In-State Tuition Cost: $5,814
Out-of-State Tuition Cost: $10,881
The University of Northern Colorado is one of the best universities for music educators. The school offers a Master of Music with a Music Education Concentration. This is an online program, but does require three-week intensive sessions each summer in mid-to-late June.
The program is taught by faculty and guest instructors, all leaders in music education. This online master’s in music education can be tailored to fit each student’s interests and career goals.
Tuition + fees
Location: Carrollton, Georgia
In-State Tuition Cost: $3,804.00
Out-of-State Tuition Cost: $3,804.00
With cheap tuition fees, the University of West Georgia is among the most affordable online master’s in music education online programs. Accredited by the NASM, the school’s music education degree offers a curriculum designed to help students improve their ability to deliver quality music education. Furthermore, the program allows students to show their abilities to translate concepts from the conceptual framework(s) into real-world applications in classrooms and educational settings.
In addition to offering cheap tuition rates, UWG also offers various financial aid options for online students, such as scholarships.
To become a music teacher, you must obtain a professional license to prove your knowledge and skills as a music instructor. Other credentials enable music educators to apply for more senior positions or receive higher pay. Here are two of the most well-known credentials for experts in music instruction.
The MTNA provides accreditation credentials for teaching performance in piano, violin, flute, and voice to music teachers nationwide. K–12 certification candidates must complete five projects relevant to their teaching environment, teaching practice, studio ethics, and teaching philosophy.
To teach music in public K–12 schools, all US states require teachers to be certified by their respective states. States have different standards for certification, but all teachers must have an undergraduate degree or above. Although some states demand particular qualifications to teach vocal or instrumental music, many offer a broad K–12 music education degree.
Accreditation & Licensing Note: You may need to take additional exams for teacher licensure or even additional courses to work in another state if you did not attend school there.
At the least, you must submit an application for reciprocity, which is the process by which one state formally recognizes training and/or teaching experience from another state.
Reciprocity is not always comprehensive and automatic; thus, even in jurisdictions that do reciprocate, music education professionals may occasionally need to pass a comprehensive exam or satisfy different criteria to become qualified music professors. It is advised that prospective music instructors familiarize themselves with the exact eligibility requirements on the websites of individual states’ education departments before submitting their applications.
The California credential is very demanding. In most states, it is acceptable. However, some states have a very competitive culture, meaning that you should be aware of what the expectations and requirements are for the state you wish to teach in.
Others may have more openings for exceptional musicians who can teach across school levels or specializations. Some may expect one to specialize. To learn more about a state’s musical culture, it’s crucial to contact its education department and conduct extensive online research.
Learn more about the Teaching License Reciprocity Guidelines by State.Back to Top
While a bachelor’s degree qualifies undergraduates to help break into the music industry, musicians and music educators may have more professional flexibility if they get a master’s degree in music education. Graduate programs are excellent options for working professionals in the music industry who want to teach music or enhance their musical skills.
An online music master’s degree gives teachers the musical knowledge and abilities to be more effective in their classrooms. Furthermore, a master’s in music education may satisfy state-mandated degree requirements for music teachers in a K–12 public school.
Average Annual Salary: $54,006
Becoming a music director/composer is a popular non-teaching career path for music education graduates. It is highly beneficial for directors and composers to develop their teaching and personal creativity through a program that blends music and music education.
Average Annual Salary: $49,130
An advanced degree in music education aids private music teachers in marketing their services and setting themselves apart from the competition. The possibility of student retention is increased by programs emphasizing diversity and technology. These programs train instructors to guide students from different backgrounds and to apply cutting-edge technology to their teaching methods.
Average Annual Salary: $57,388
Depending on the state, a master’s degree in music education can certify teachers to work at the college or university level, much like it does for K–12 employment. A master’s degree can prepare teachers to work as researchers or on department committees.
A master’s degree is an excellent educator preparation program that advances research skills and scholarly writing.
Average Annual Salary: $93,440
Scholarships are one of the best ways to reduce educational costs without requiring payments. Here are some popular scholarships for music education majors.
This award is available to Asian or Pacific Islander students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate music or art programs through Against the Grain Productions.
Students seeking a degree in instrumental/band music education and planning to work as band directors after graduation are eligible for this John Philip Sousa Foundation scholarship.
This aid is for Black students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate music programs. Each applicant must provide either a 1500-2000 word essay or a 5-10 minute video.
Taxpayer monies fund public and state universities. As a result, in-state residents usually pay a cheaper tuition rate since their taxes pay for schools. Furthermore, states assume that in-state students have higher chances to contribute to their GDP after graduation.
On the other hand, out-of-state students are considered less likely to help increase the GDP of a state where they have no roots because they do not pay taxes to support the universities.
However, regardless of residency, tuition is the same for private universities.
The differences between in-state and out-of-state tuition aren’t particularly significant in the case of affordable institutions. However, paying for an institution’s out-of-state tuition and other associated costs might still be difficult for some students.
Transfer credits are one of the best strategies to lower future education expenses. A generous transfer policy primarily benefits adult learners with years of prior educational and professional work experience.
Find colleges and universities with a generous transfer credit policy since the more credits you can transfer, the quicker you can finish your degree and the less you’ll have to pay in tuition.
Accelerated courses and degree programs allow students to complete their degrees faster. As a result, you can advance more swiftly toward your field or the position you’ve been dreaming of at your current job. It also strengthens your resume if you seek a new job in a competitive industry.
Many companies are willing to offer tuition reimbursement in exchange for a contract for a number of years of service. Employers view tuition aid programs as a viable solution for bridging the skills gap in their workforce and enhancing employee retention. Meanwhile, it can be a great way for qualified workers to obtain a degree and be at least partially reimbursed for the tuition cost.
Visit the Federal Student Aid website to find out if you qualify for grants or student loans.