Skip to Main Content

Home Explore Careers

Composers and Arrangers

Overview
Composer—Career Q&A: Professional Advice and Insight

Join Vault Gold to watch these Q&A videos

Composers create much of the music heard every day on radio and television, in theaters and concert halls, in the movie industry, on recordings and in advertising, and through any other medium of musical presentation. Composers write symphonies, concertos, and operas; scores for theater, television, and cinema; and music for musical theater, recording artists, and commercial advertising. They may combine elements of classical music with elements of popular musical styles such as rock, jazz, reggae, folk, and others. Arrangers take composers’ musical compositions and transcribe them for other instruments or voices; work them into scores for film, theater, or television; or adapt them to styles that are different from the one in which the music was written. Approximately 21,540 composers and music directors are employed in the United States, and more are self-employed or work on a freelance basis.

Salary Range

Below $25,000 to $100,000+

Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma

Certification/License

None

Outlook

Little Change or More Slowly than the Average
Personality Traits

Artistic

Creative

Outgoing

Career Ladder
Composer/Arranger for High-Profile Projects

Composer/Arranger

Musician