How can I use my Music degree to help others, specifically as a Teacher or a Therapist?

Without a doubt, the most fulfilling career one can have includes opportunities that enable you to help others. Two careers come to mind when considering this option. Perhaps becoming a teacher with the ability to help others learn about music is your interest or if you also are interested in the healthcare field, you might consider using your music degree to become a music therapist.

Teachers, of any kind, are important to every child’s future, however, music teachers can change the course of a child’s life forever. If you have the drive to help children, or adults, becoming a teacher may be for you. Music has been linked to many desirable results including higher SAT scores, good emotional health, higher GPAs and an overall better financial success as an adult.

The educational requirements for a music teacher require an online bachelor’s degree in music with coursework to include many music related classes, in addition to, basic educational classes on classroom management and childhood development. Students will be required to complete observation teaching and student teaching. Each potential teacher will be required, per their state’s requirements, to pass a certification test to begin their teaching career.

Music teachers, depending on grade level, most often have different skills and responsibilities. The elementary teacher is interested in promoting music appreciation and introducing the student to basic music concepts. The middle school teacher builds upon existing knowledge by delving into more extensive music theory, composition, fundamentals and the student begins to play an instrument. The high school teacher is sometimes referred to as the band leader or the choir director. They should also have an extensive knowledge of how to play several instruments, as well as teach students how to play them.

Teacher’s salaries range from between $54,890 – $65,340 annually, although sometimes more, depending on location, experience and grade level being taught.

A career as a music therapist offers a professional position incorporating what you love the most, music. Coupled with the added position as a therapist, you will enter a rewarding, yet challenging, career. As a music therapist, you will combine music with its therapeutic advantages to address psychological, physical, social and cognitive needs for all types of individuals.

If you have a sincere interest in helping people and wish to pursue your online bachelor’s degree in music then the curriculum may include coursework in music therapy, biology, social and behavior science, psychology and, of course, music related classes. As a potential therapist, you will attend classes related to disabilities, assessing the needs of clients, evaluating clinical changes and developing and implementing treatment plans.

Upon completion of your online bachelor’s degree in music, a student is then ready to sit for the national certification exam to obtain their certification of Music Therapist–Board Certified (MT-BC) which is required to be a professional music therapist.

The music therapist has many choices of opportunities in which their service can be useful, such as, general and psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation centers, daycare facilities, private practices, community mental health agencies, and nursing homes. Music therapists provide services for children and adults with psychiatric disorders, those with developmental disabilities and neurological impairments, just to name a few. This service can be life changing for many people.

The salary of a music therapist averages approximately $45,000 – $50,808 annually with some salaries reaching upwards of $188,000 per year, depending on location, educational level and experience.

If you’d like to see a comprehensive list of OSC’s picks for the top music degree programs in America, please follow this link!