The purpose of this study was to examine positive influences and barriers associated with entering and completing a music teacher education doctoral program. Subjects (N = 73), recent doctoral graduates in music education (RDG), were asked to rate 48 positive influence items and 54 barrier items. The highest ranked positive influence item was opportunity to teach at the college level in a tenure-track position. The highest ranked barrier item was needing time to research and write the dissertation. Using the top 24 positive influence items and the top 24 barrier items, two factor analysis procedures were calculated to determine whether positive influence and barrier items could be reduced to a smaller number of discrete factors. Three positive influence factors (Reputation of and Connection with Faculty/University, Desire to Affect Future Music Teachers and the Profession, and Career Advancement) and four barrier factors (Family/Time Considerations, Financial Challenges, Problems with Professors or Program, and Distance) were identified. Results were also compared with those from prior research in which practicing music educators (PME), identified as being outstanding candidates for doctoral studies, were asked to rate the same sets of positive influence items and barrier items. Finally, conclusions were drawn based on comparisons between the RDG and PME results.