Church music directors lead music worship services, oversee rehearsals of other church musicians, and work with members of the church board to determine appropriate hymns or other music to accompany sermons and the liturgy. They also track all funds and resources related to the service music and lead church musicians through funerals and weddings. The average salary of church music directors may determine whether a musician enters the field.
Average and Range
The salary range for church music directors is between $20,000 and $45,000, according to the PayScale and Jobs-Salary websites. The average salary stands at about $34,000, according to Jobs-Salary. However, the Salary List website indicates that music directors make an average of about $39,500.
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Some church music directors make significantly more than the average salary. For example, Salary List shows some such positions topping $100,000, which is more than twice the highest average. These positions are scarce and are the exception rather than the rule.
If you are looking for a music director position paying better than average, apply to a larger church. Music directors in churches with more than 1,000 members can make up to 77 percent more than those in parishes with 300 or fewer members, according to the Christianity Today website. Salaries exceed the average in large churches because they tend to have more worship services, more church musicians and a greater degree of director responsibility.
Required Education and Experience
To obtain a church music director job paying at least the average salary, you should have a basic formal music education, preferably a degree in music ministry or music education. Degrees in performance and conducting are desirable. Church music directors tend to stay in their positions once they have found a job, so the positions that do open are competitive. You'll need experience in music leadership to get the job. If you're looking for a church position that provides a better than average salary, start in smaller churches to build your resume and experience, and apply for the larger positions once you are established.
Benefits and Other Compensation
The average salary for church music directors can include compensation such as housing. However, churches may not include other benefits such as health insurance. You might find that a church providing excellent benefits, but a less than average salary, actually is reasonably competitive. Likewise, if you find a good salary but the church offers no other benefits, the pay may be lower than average once you've covered expenses out of your own pocket. Smaller parishes may not be able to afford much in benefits if they're already reaching the average salary.