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Music Composer Careers

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a music composer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $27.63 an hour? That's $57,472 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 1% and produce 800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Music Composer Do

There are certain skills that many music composers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed leadership, musical talent and promotional skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a music composer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 21.6% of music composers included audio equipment, while 16.4% of resumes included music videos, and 13.6% of resumes included video games. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the music composer job title. But what industry to start with? Most music composers actually find jobs in the education and retail industries.

How To Become a Music Composer

If you're interested in becoming a music composer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 59.5% of music composers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 11.5% of music composers have master's degrees. Even though most music composers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a music composer. When we researched the most common majors for a music composer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on music composer resumes include associate degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a music composer. In fact, many music composer jobs require experience in a role such as internship. Meanwhile, many music composers also have previous career experience in roles such as director of music or music producer.

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Average Salary
$57,472
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
1%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
971
Job Openings

Average Salary for a Music Composer

Music Composers in America make an average salary of $57,472 per year or $28 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $103,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $31,000 per year.
Average Salary
$57,472
Find Your Salary Estimate
How much should you be earning as an Architect? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
New York, NY
Salary Range45k - 90k$64k$64,226
Santa Monica, CA
Salary Range38k - 75k$54k$53,893
Kearney, NE
Salary Range36k - 71k$51k$51,088
Pittsburgh, PA
Salary Range27k - 55k$39k$39,352
Oklahoma City, OK
Salary Range26k - 53k$38k$37,707
Chicago, IL
Salary Range24k - 48k$34k$34,361
$24k
$90k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Music Director and Composer
Music Director and Composer
St. Luke's United Methodist Church
St. Luke's United Methodist Church
03/24/2021
03/24/2021
$47,00803/24/2021
$47,008
Music Composer
Music Composer
Bleeding Fingers Custom Music Shop LLC
Bleeding Fingers Custom Music Shop LLC
04/10/2020
04/10/2020
$57,00004/10/2020
$57,000
Music Director and Composer
Music Director and Composer
St. Luke's United Methodist Church
St. Luke's United Methodist Church
03/30/2020
03/30/2020
$43,51403/30/2020
$43,514
Music Composer
Music Composer
Open Parachute Ltd.
Open Parachute Ltd.
09/26/2019
09/26/2019
$62,50609/26/2019
$62,506
Music Directors and Composers
Music Directors and Composers
Fairmont Schools, Inc.
Fairmont Schools, Inc.
07/15/2019
07/15/2019
$57,32007/15/2019
$57,320
See More Recent Salaries

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Music Composer Demographics

Gender

male

76.6 %

female

13.5 %

unknown

9.9 %

Ethnicity

White

84.2 %

Black or African American

7.4 %

Hispanic or Latino

3.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.6 %

French

15.6 %

German

9.4 %
See More Demographics

Music Composer Education

Degrees

Bachelors

59.5 %

Certificate

13.1 %

Masters

11.5 %

Top Colleges for Music Composers

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

4. Yale University

New Haven, CT • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,430
Enrollment
5,963

5. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

6. Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,453
Enrollment
4,312

7. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

8. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

10. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Music Composer That You May Like

Game Music Composition: Make Music For Games From Scratch
udemy
4.5
(3,423)

Learn to compose music for any and every type of video game, from complete beginner to competent game music composer...

What No One Taught Me as a Film, TV, & Game Music Composer
udemy
4.5
(1,014)

1 Music Composition, Production, Technology, & Business Course from an Award-Winning Composer You've Never Heard Of...

Music Production in Logic Pro X - The Complete Course!
udemy
4.6
(9,138)

Join Successful Music Production + Logic Pro X students in Creating, Recording, Mixing Music + Mastering in Logic Pro X...

See more
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Music Composer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 21.6% of music composers listed audio equipment on their resume, but soft skills such as leadership and musical talent are important as well.

  • Audio Equipment, 21.6%
  • Music Videos, 16.4%
  • Video Games, 13.6%
  • Music Program, 13.6%
  • Sound Design, 9.9%
  • Other Skills, 24.9%
  • See All Music Composer Skills

Best States For a Music Composer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a music composer. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Texas. Music composers make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $66,388. Whereas in Connecticut and Rhode Island, they would average $65,612 and $65,469, respectively. While music composers would only make an average of $64,139 in Texas, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Connecticut

Total Music Composer Jobs:
8
Highest 10% Earn:
$124,000
Location Quotient:
1.25
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New York

Total Music Composer Jobs:
54
Highest 10% Earn:
$120,000
Location Quotient:
2.17
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Texas

Total Music Composer Jobs:
32
Highest 10% Earn:
$120,000
Location Quotient:
0.82
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Music Composer Employers

1. Songtradr
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$54,007
Music Composers Hired: 
2+
2. Microsoft
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$126,370
Music Composers Hired: 
2+
3. New Life
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$45,710
Music Composers Hired: 
2+
4. RH
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$34,405
Music Composers Hired: 
1+
5. Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse
3.7
Avg. Salary: 
$57,785
Music Composers Hired: 
1+
6. University of Pittsburgh
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$54,653
Music Composers Hired: 
1+