Musicians and Singers
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Overview
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Play one or more musical instruments or sing. May perform on stage, for broadcasting, or for sound or video recording.
Titles for this career often contain these words
PlayerMusicianSingerArtistAccompanistChoirChurchOrganistConcertPianistHornPianoPerformerVocalBandpersonBaritoneBassoonistBellRingerBuglerBullFiddleCalliopeCantorCellistMemberChoristerClarinetistCornetistCountryDoubleBassEnglishEntertainerEntertainmentFlutistGospelGuitarGuitaristHarpistInstrumentalistJazzMusicOboistOperaOrchestraPercussionistPiccoloistRapRapperRecordingRockStarSaxophoneSingingTelegramSoloSoloistSongwriterStudioTenorTimpanistTrombonistTrumpetTrumpeterViolinistViolistVocalistWorship
Education
About 56% of musicians and singers have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by musicians and singers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More musicians and singers have bachelor's degrees than 71% of other careeers.
Employment
Workforce size
Musicians and singers, with 187,600 workers, form a larger workforce than 77% of careers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for musicians and singers are expected to grow by 0%, and should have about 22,400 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Musicians and singers are less likely to be automated than 78% of other careers.
Gender
Women account for 23% of musicians and singers -- that's a smaller percentage than 63% of other jobs.
Gender of musicians and singers
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For musicians and singers, the median men's salary was 5% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 19% of musicians and singers are minority, and 14% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of musicians and singers
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (14%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Musicians and Singers per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
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Benefits
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of musicians and singers who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (66%)
SOURCES:
Salary and diversity
What do musicians and singers earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries. This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for musicians and singers (BLS Salary Data)
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for musicians and singers (ACS Salary Data)
$40K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$40K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Musicians, singers, and related workers: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $42KAll jobs' median $45K$41K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire musicians and singers.
Employers of Musicians and Singers (ACS)
Private for-profit (19.0%)
Private not-for-profit (24.0%)
Local government (0.6%)
State government (0.5%)
Federal government (3.5%)
Self-employed incorporated (12.9%)
Self-employed not incorporated (39.5%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of musicians and singers by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$40K$48K$31K$42K$43K$45K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for musicians and singers

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$41K$36K$47K$48K$43K$45K$34K$22K$48K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
02K4K6K8K10K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Musicians and singers and gender

With 23% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 63% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
23%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Musicians and singers
Men (77%)
Women (23%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for musicians and singers, with the median salary for men 5% higher than the median salary for women.

$39K$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Musicians and singers have one of the smaller inequity calculations, with the increase for men's median salary over women's median salary in this job lower than that for 84% of other jobs.

5%0%20%40%60%80%100%

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of musicians and singers

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. The percentage of minority musicians and singers falls in about the middle of all careers' percentages. The percentage of foreign-born workers in this career is near the middle of all careers.

Race/origin of musicians and singers
White (78% )
Black (12% )
Asian (3% )
Other (3% )
Multiracial (3% )
Hispanic (0% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
19%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
14%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for musicians and singers by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$24K$35K$37K$38K$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KOtherAsianMultiracialBlackWhite
Distribution: Salaries for musicians and singers by nativity
$36K$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Musicians and singers and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 55% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 95% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
55%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time musicians and singers is shown following.

$13K$40K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by musicians and singers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), musicians and singers typically hold no formal educational credential.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as musicians and singers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for musicians and singers

There are no postsecondary education requirements for those interested in performing popular music. Many musicians and singers of classical music and opera have a bachelor’s degree in music theory or performance. To be accepted into one of these programs, applicants are typically required to submit recordings or to audition in person and sometimes must do both.

Undergraduate music programs teach students about music history and styles. In addition, they teach methods for improving instrumental and vocal techniques and musical expression. Undergraduate voice programs also teach courses in diction. Such courses help students perform opera in foreign languages.

Some musicians and singers choose to continue their education by pursuing a master’s degree in fine arts or music.

Education attained by musicians and singers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for musicians and singers? Below we see the distribution of musicians and singers salaries based on the education attained.

$36K$34K$42K$50K$49K$48K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KHigh School (14%)Some College (20%)Bachelor's Degree (36%)Master's Degree (16%)Professional Degree (2%)Doctorate (2%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

College majors held by musicians and singers

This table shows the college majors held by people working as musicians and singers.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Degree
Select any title to learn more about that degree
Percentage of Musicians and singers with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
The link between degrees and careers

With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as musicians and singers, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.

What college major is your best entry?

About 56% of people working as musicians and singers have at least a bachelor's degree. Each dot represents a college major leading to these jobs, with the dots to the right representing the majors sending the most of their grads into this career. The dots at the top are the majors who earn the most working in this career.

Darker colors have a larger percentage with graduate degreesOverall median salary0.0%5.0%10.0%15.0%20.0%25.0%30.0%35.0%40.0%45.0%50.0%Percentage with this major$10,000$20,000$30,000$40,000$50,000$60,000$70,000$80,000Median salary with this major
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for musicians and singers

What jobs will most musicians and singers hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of musicians and singers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Musicians, singers, and related workersSpecialized Teachers and InstructorsSpecialized Entertainers, Sports and Related WorkersSpecialized Religious WorkersChief executives and legislators
Lateral job transitions for musicians and singers

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 4 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as musicians and singers as well as 1% of respondents after working as musicians and singers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Prior and next careers for musicians and singers: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as musicians and singers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of musicians and singers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most musicians and singers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as musicians and singers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Musicians and Singers per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.00.20.40.60.81.01.2
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where musicians and singers earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for musicians and singers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for musicians and singers.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Location-adjusted median salary for Musicians and Singers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which musicians and singers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
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$0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?