How to Become a Music Teacher in Massachusetts: Certification & Requirements

Music teachers in Massachusetts work at all levels, from preschool to high school. Read on to learn about the requirements to obtain a license to teach music in Massachusetts. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Music Teacher Career Information

Music teachers show students of all ages how to understand and appreciate music. Aspiring music teachers in Massachusetts must first apply for a Massachusetts Initial Educator License in Music: All Levels (PreK-12) before they can teach. Continue reading to find out more about the specific requirements, such as education and exams.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree in music; teacher preparation program approved by the state
Exams Required MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills; MTEL Music
License Validity Period Initial license good for five years; can be extended once for an additional five years if needed
Advancement Requirements Three-years of experience, 50 hours with a mentor, completion of a graduate or other program to advance to professional license
Mean Salary (2018) $39,180 (preschool); $75,510 (kindergarten); $82,600 (elementary school); $79,030 (middle school); $80,020 (high school)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026, nationwide) 10% (preschool); 7% (kindergarten and elementary school); 8% (middle and high school)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Job Description

A music teacher is responsible for educating students about all aspects of music. Topics of instruction can include general music theory, music history, how to read music, and how to sing. Music teachers may also teach students how to play an instrument, either individually or in a group. They develop lesson plans and, during the school year, they may organize concerts, conduct choirs, and establish orchestras.

Music teachers can be found in both public and private schools. They generally work during the regular school year.

Education and Training Requirements

All prospective teachers must have a bachelor's degree before applying for an initial license. Those interested in teaching music should major in music or music education. A typical degree program includes coursework in music history, music theory, voice technique, instrumental technique, and education methods. Students can also focus on a specific performance medium, such as string instruments or voice.

Prospective teachers also must complete a teacher preparation program that has been approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Students may complete this curriculum as part of their bachelor's degree or as an additional program, such as a graduate certificate. These programs generally include advanced coursework in music education methods, plus fieldwork as a student teacher in a local school. The fieldwork component gives prospective teachers experience putting their coursework to practice in a real-world setting.

Exam Requirements

Prospective music teachers must successfully pass the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) in Communication and Literacy Skills as well as the MTEL Music subject test to become licensed in the state. Both tests are computer-based. The Communication and Literacy MTEL includes a reading and writing subtest with multiple-choice questions, short answer corrections, and open response questions. A minimum of 240 on each subtest is needed to pass this exam.

The MTEL Music subject test includes 100 multiple-choice questions and two open response assignments covering topics such as music education and music theory. It includes a listening section. The minimum passing score for the MTEL Music exam is 240.

Renewal Requirements

Once all requirements are complete, prospective music teachers can apply for their initial license. This license is valid for five years. After five years, teachers should apply to advance to the professional license. To obtain a professional license, teachers must have a valid initial license, have three full years of teaching experience, and complete a one-year induction program that includes 50 hours with a mentor. They should also complete a graduate-level or professional program, such as a master's degree. Teachers should check with the department of education for a full list of approved programs.

Teachers who have not completed all requirements for the professional license can apply for a one-time extension of the initial license, which is good for another five years. To apply for an extension, teachers must reapply for the initial license and pay the fee. They must also show proof that they are employed by a school and that they plan to complete the requirements needed to advance to a professional license.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado State University Global

    Colorado State University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Concordia University Portland

    Concordia University Portland responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Concordia University Portland:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • CDI College

    CDI College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at CDI College:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Anywhere: Anjou, Burnaby, Edmonton, Laval, Longueuil, Montreal, Point Claire, Richmond, Surrey
  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »