Career Attributes

  • $35,830
  • 74,800
  • 4.2
  • 5.7%
  • Certificate or Associate's degree
  • Music
More Attributes


When filling out a job application for a composer position, there is rarely a degree requirement for the job. In fact, there is rarely any application at all. For example, aspiring film score composers usually spend years working a side job while trying to land scores for independent films. Once they have developed a substantial portfolio, an agent may pick them up and begin marketing them for more commercial projects.

While a degree is not required in all cases, it remains a useful tool for composers who want to hone and master their skills before jumping into a highly competitive industry. Many accredited schools have recognized the need and now offer bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees with a major in composition. Students also have the opportunity to pursue an advanced masters or doctoral degree, and certificates or associate's degrees are available for those seeking a less long-term educational commitment.

Still, a degree is no guarantee of a career in composing. The real components of a successful composer are a mixture of raw talent, individual style and unwavering dedication. Once a candidate begins to develop a portfolio, talent and individual style will set him apart from the rest of the potentials. Still, every candidate will face rejection in this highly competitive field, so rock solid determination and the ability to network effectively is essential to success. The qualities most often seen in successful composers are intelligence, competence, trustworthiness, organization, friendliness, professionalism and a genuine passion for the art form.

What are Composers like?


Based on our pool of users, Composers tend to be predominately artistic people. Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.

Composers by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 602 CareerExplorer users

Are Composers happy?


Composers rank among the happiest careers. Overall they rank in the 97th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Composer Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

Education History of Composers

The most common degree held by Composers is Music. 41% of Composers had a degree in Music before becoming Composers. That is over 46 times the average across all careers. Music Production graduates are the second most common among Composers, representing 13% of Composers in the CareerExplorer user base, which is 66.5 times the average.

Composer Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming a Composer, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of Composers % of population Multiple
Music 41.0% 0.9% 45.9×
Music Production 12.7% 0.2% 66.5×
Fine Arts 5.4% 2.2% 2.4×
Film Video And Photographic Arts 4.9% 0.8% 6.5×
English Literature 4.9% 4.9% 1.0×
Sound Design 4.9% 0.1% 81.6×
Philosophy And Religious Studies 3.9% 1.6% 2.5×
Theology And Religious Vocations 3.9% 0.4% 9.4×
Computer Science 3.4% 3.0% 1.1×
Drama 2.9% 1.0% 2.8×
Art And Music Education 2.9% 0.2% 11.8×
Marketing And Marketing Research 2.4% 2.2% 1.1×
Foreign Language Studies 2.4% 1.3% 1.8×
Graphic Design 2.4% 1.4% 1.8×
Visual And Performing Arts 2.0% 0.2% 7.9×
Studio Arts 2.0% 0.5% 3.7×
Business Management And Administration 2.0% 6.6% 0.3×
Communications 2.0% 3.4% 0.6×
Mathematics 2.0% 1.9% 1.0×
Teacher Education 2.0% 0.9% 2.1×
Linguistics 2.0% 0.8% 2.4×
Liberal Arts 2.0% 1.9% 1.0×
Anthropology And Archeology 2.0% 1.2% 1.6×
History 2.0% 2.3% 0.9×
Screenwriting 2.0% 0.1% 15.5×
Biology 1.5% 3.7% 0.4×
Business 1.5% 2.6% 0.6×
Finance 1.5% 2.1% 0.7×
Mechanical Engineering 1.5% 1.7% 0.9×
Geology 1.5% 0.4% 4.2×
Acting 1.5% 0.2% 9.1×
Game Design 1.5% 0.2% 7.9×

Composer Education Levels

38% of Composers have an associate's degree. 23% of Composers have a bachelor's degree.

No education 16%
High school diploma 8%
Associate's degree 38%
Bachelor's degree 23%
Master's degree 15%
Doctorate degree 0%

How to Become a Composer

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Career Attributes

  • $35,830
  • 74,800
  • 4.2
  • 5.7%
  • Certificate or Associate's degree
  • Music
More Attributes