Elementary Music Teacher Salary: A National Overview

image elementary music teacher salary

Are you considering becoming an elementary music teacher but you want to know how much they make? 

Do you already work as one but wonder how your school compares to other areas? 

While money usually isn’t a top priority when becoming a teacher, you still want to make sure you can afford to feed your family and have the life you want. 

So you’ll want to know an elementary music teacher’s salary. 

Elementary music teacher salary varies greatly depending on state, private or public school, level of education, and amount of experience. In general, you can expect to be paid anywhere from $30,000 to $72,000 in a public school in America. 

Read on for more details. 

How Much Do School Music Teachers Make?

According to Glassdoor’s elementary music teacher salary data, the average music teacher makes $46,744. This data is based on 1,397 anonymously submitted salaries to the site from across the nation. 

Overall range of payment is form $30K to $72K. The range is dependent on state, level of education, and years of experience. The more you’ve worked and the more experience you have, the higher you generally get paid. 

Music teachers (as long as they’re full-time) will get paid based on the same salary schedule as a general classroom teacher. Knowing this, we can look at the average pay for an elementary music teacher by state. 

Note: Data on starting salary averages from the NEA Starting Teacher Salary study. Data on the average salary is from the Ranking Of The States 2018 also by the NEA. 

Teacher Salaries By State.xlsx

StateStarting Salary (17-18)Average Salary (17-18)
Alabama3849150568
Alaska4695469682
Arizona3447348723
Arkansas3332350544
California4699280680
Colorado3348352701
Connecticut4592274517
Delaware4163961795
Florida3763648168
Georgia3547456329
Hawaii4679057866
Idaho3480149225
Illinois3923665721
Indiana3594350614
Iowa3704857018
Kansas3576949754
Kentucky3675252952
Louisiana4030350359
Maine3478853815
Maryland4514769627
Massachusetts4549880357
Michigan3659961911
Minnesota3852957782
Mississippi3478444926
Missouri3222649304
Montana3141852766
Nebraska3446554213
Nevada3905454280
New Hampshire3739557833
New Jersey5144369917
New Mexico3640547152
New York4558984227
North Carolina3763151231
North Dakota3861152850
Ohio3592358000
Oklahoma3201046300
Oregon3631963061
Pennsylvania4464767535
Rhode Island4168966758
South Carolina3314850182
South Dakota3809847631
Tennessee3730550900
Texas4148153334
Utah3849949655
Vermont3849960556
Virginia4045351994
Washington4224055693
West Virginia3371545642
Wisconsin3818151469
Wyoming4524158352

How Much Money Does Elementary Music Teacher Make Per Hour? 

Using some simple math, we can easily determine how much the average elementary music salary in per hour form. 

First, we’ll take the average pay, $46,744, and divide it by the average hours worked per year, 1,983.4 hours according to the Brookings Institution, to get a total of $23.57 per hour.  

Note: This data from the Brookings Institution doesn’t specify any extra time spent with after-school groups or preparing for concerts outside the school day.

What Are The Requirements To Become An Elementary Music Teacher? 

There are three main ways to meet the requirements for becoming a music teacher. This section briefly goes over these methods. 

Note: Each state has different requirements. Be sure to visit a state’s department of education for teacher requirements. 

#1 Collegiate Program

Earning an Undergraduate or Graduate degree in Music Education is the most common way of meeting the requirements for becoming a music teacher. 

As part of this program, you’ll develop both teaching and music skills through classes, lessons, and internships (commonly called student teaching). 

At the end, you may have to also take a state certification test. 

You may need to declare a specialty depending on the state. Some give certifications for music K-12 in band, orchestra, choir, and general music while others split these up into different certifications. 

#2 Specialty Test/ Program

For those who already have a teaching degree/certification, a whole new degree isn’t required to become an elementary music teacher. 

Many states will allow you to take a special state test to become certified. Some states may require a certain number of college credits in the subject area while others will just allow you to take the test. 

Visit a state’s department of education to see their specific requirements. 

#3 Loophole/ Experience

In some cases, the state’s language allows for any certified teacher to fill in as a music teacher. Most states strongly encourage the music teacher to have a music-specific certification, but most of these also allow for emergencies. 

There are times when a school will hire someone they know for a music position despite their lack of specialized certification. While this is disappointing, it does allow for the teacher to gain certification through years of experience or by taking a special test (as mentioned previously). 

Conclusion

Now you know a little about the elementary music teacher salary. $46,744 may seem like a lot (or not) depending on how much time you’re willing to put in, but it’s hard to put a price on the impact you can have. 

(Does music make students get better grades? You bet it does!)

What do you think about the salary figures? How does yours line up? 

Comment below and let’s have a conversation.

Zach VanderGraaff

Zach VanderGraaff is a K-5 music teacher with Bay City Public Schools in Michigan. He's a Past-President of the Michigan Kodaly Educators and Executive Secretary of the Midwest Kodaly Music Educators Association.

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