Most cantors are employed by one of the four main types of Jewish congregations: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist. Others work for schools or seminaries.
Only ordained or invested cantors can work in this profession. Many newly ordained/invested cantors find jobs through the seminary from which they graduated. Some obtain job leads through contacts they made during internships. Professional membership organizations such as the American Conference of Cantors and the Cantors Assembly provide job placement for cantors.
Cantors advance by receiving higher salaries, becoming more well-known for their work, and by moving to larger, more prestigious synagogues. Others become rabbis or religious teachers at universities. It should be said that most cantors do not enter the field with the goal of making more money or serving at larger synagogues but, rather, to glorify God through their work and serve their congregations.
Tips for Entry
Read the Journal of Synagogue Music and Journal of Jewish Music and Liturgy to learn more about the field.
Talk to cantors about their careers. Ask them for advice on entering the profession.
For information on job placement, visit the following Web sites:
- https://www.cantors.org/welcome-to-placement (Conservative)
- https://www.accantors.org/congregations/placement-congregations (Reform)
Attend the Annual Cantors Assembly International Convention (https://www.cantors.org/conventions-2/) to network and pursue continuing education opportunities.