Dr. Kimberly H. Councill

Susquehanna University


Given the predicted music teacher shortage and the lack of research which utilizes developmental career theory in seeking out potential music educators, the purpose of this study was to assess and compare pre-college students‚ self-efficacy, social perception, and potential enjoyment of possible careers across numerous disciplines, including four education-related careers. Of specific interest were students‚ perceptions of „music teacher.š Grounded in numerous career development theories stating that many aspects of career choice are decided as early as elementary and middle school, the subjects for this study (N = 265) were 6th – 11th grade music students at public middle and high schools in the Midwest. Subjects were asked to complete a survey for 12 possible careers. A composite perception score for each survey career was calculated, as well as a separate self-efficacy, social perception, and enjoyment score. Because numerous career theories state the importance of career role models, identification with working adults, the observation of work, and positive learning experiences as key influences in the career decision-making process, a questionnaire regarding their opinions about their music teachers, favorite school subjects, and considerations for future careers was also included in this study.


A general linear ANOVA showed significant differences between grade levels only on self-efficacy scores of education-related careers and social perception scores of all survey careers spanning numerous fields. These findings indicate that research supporting the idea that career opinions are formed at an early age is valid. Significant differences between males and females occurred in composite career perception scores of all survey careers and education-related careers, self-efficacy scores of all survey careers and education-related careers, and potential enjoyment scores of all survey careers and education-related careers. Many of the careers listed in this study align with research stating that sex-role stereotypes are prevalent in the career choices made by males and females. „Music teacherš consistently received higher self-efficacy and potential enjoyment scores and lower social perception scores than most other careers across grade levels and gender.


In the questionnaire, the majority of students described their current music teacher as „niceš and „smart.š „Patienceš was used by 20.6% of the sample to describe the most important characteristic/quality for a music teacher to have, although very few music students used this term to describe their current music teacher. Other important characteristics included „be fun,š „be understanding or sympathetic,š and „know how to play music.š


Subjects were also asked to indicate the job they would have if they could have any career and to name the job that they thought they would have, respectively. There was a discrepancy between these two listed careers for 59.6% of the subjects. Math was the favorite subject of 31.5% of the students, followed by language arts and science. Music courses were named as the favorite subject of 10.9% of the students.