Music Therapy Degree Programs – Explore Careers

Music Therapy Degree Programs – Explore Careers

Table of Contents

A music therapy degree offers the opportunity to blend a passion for music with a desire to make a positive impact on others. By pursuing accredited music therapy programs, individuals can embark on a fulfilling career in the field and help individuals of all ages with various disabilities through the power of music.

Key Takeaways:

  • Music therapy degree programs provide in-depth study of music therapy, psychology, music, and related sciences.
  • Graduates of AMTA-approved programs are eligible to take the certification exam administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists.
  • Career opportunities for music therapists are available in hospitals, mental health agencies, rehabilitation centers, schools, and private practice.
  • The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) serves as the central professional organization for music therapists in the United States.
  • Becoming a certified music therapist requires completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in music therapy from an AMTA-approved program and passing the certification exam.

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is an allied health profession that utilizes the power of music within a therapeutic relationship to address the physical, psychological, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. Through the expertise of qualified music therapists, clients’ strengths and needs are assessed, and treatment is provided through various musical activities such as creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. This unique therapeutic approach not only strengthens abilities but also fosters communication, emotional support, and the expression of feelings. Music therapy practice is distinct from other forms of therapeutic music and has been scientifically proven effective in facilitating movement, rehabilitation, coping with treatment, and providing an outlet for self-expression.

The Benefits of Music Therapy

Music therapy offers a multitude of benefits for individuals of all ages and abilities:

  • Enhances physical well-being
  • Improves cognitive functioning
  • Promotes emotional expression and regulation
  • Fosters social interaction and communication skills
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Aids in pain management
  • Facilitates relaxation and improved sleep

Music therapy is an incredibly versatile and effective therapeutic modality that harnesses the universal language of music to facilitate healing and growth. Through tailored interventions and personalized treatment plans, music therapists empower individuals to tap into their own innate resources, fostering positive changes and overall well-being.

Education Requirements for Music Therapy

The education of a music therapist is a unique and comprehensive journey that combines in-depth study of music with self-exploration. To embark on this fulfilling career path, aspiring music therapists must meet specific education requirements.

Undergraduate Curriculum

The undergraduate curriculum for music therapy programs encompasses a broad range of disciplines to provide students with a solid foundation in both music and therapeutic practices. Typically, coursework includes:

  • Music Therapy
  • Psychology
  • Music
  • Various Sciences

This diverse curriculum ensures that students acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to integrate music as a therapeutic tool in professional practice.

Practical Experience

In addition to classroom instruction, students pursuing a music therapy degree gain practical experience through fieldwork. This involves working directly with individuals with disabilities in facilities that offer music therapy services. Fieldwork provides students with hands-on learning opportunities and enables them to apply their theoretical knowledge in a real-world setting.

AMTA Approval and Certification

Completing an AMTA-approved academic training program is crucial for music therapy students. The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) sets rigorous standards for approved programs to ensure quality education and professional development. After graduation, individuals who have met the education requirements are eligible to pursue an internship, which is an essential component of becoming a music therapist.

Following the completion of academic training and internship, graduates can take the certification exam administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). Passing this exam awards the credential of Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC), a recognized standard in the field.

Table: AMTA-Approved Academic Training and Certification Process

Steps Requirements
1 Complete an AMTA-approved academic training program
2 Apply for and complete an internship
3 Pass the certification exam administered by the CBMT
4 Obtain the Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC) credential

A music therapy bachelor’s degree or completion of an equivalency program is required to practice as an entry-level music therapist.

Music Therapy Education

Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy

A bachelor’s degree in music therapy provides the foundation for a career in the field. This degree program equips students with the necessary knowledge and skills to become competent music therapists. The curriculum is carefully designed to incorporate coursework in music therapy, psychology, music, and related sciences, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the field.

During their studies, students also have opportunities for practical application through fieldwork experiences. These experiences can be conducted in community facilities or on-campus clinics, allowing students to gain valuable hands-on experience working directly with individuals who can benefit from music therapy.

It is important to note that individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a different area but wish to pursue a career in music therapy have options as well. Many AMTA-approved universities offer equivalency programs specifically designed for such individuals. These programs allow students to focus solely on the required coursework for music therapy without earning a second bachelor’s degree. This option provides a streamlined path for career changers to enter the field and become certified music therapists.

Benefits of a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in music therapy offers several advantages for aspiring music therapists:

  1. Comprehensive Education: The bachelor’s degree curriculum covers a wide range of subjects, including music therapy principles, psychology, and related sciences. This comprehensive education prepares students to address the diverse needs of their future clients.
  2. Practical Experience: Fieldwork opportunities integrated into the program allow students to gain practical experience and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. This hands-on experience is invaluable in developing the skills necessary to become effective music therapists.
  3. Eligibility for Certification: Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in music therapy from an AMTA-approved program are eligible to pursue certification as a music therapist. Certification enhances professional credibility and opens up more employment opportunities in the field.

Sample Courses in a Bachelor’s Degree Program

Here are some examples of courses that students may encounter in a bachelor’s degree program in music therapy:

Course Description
Music Therapy Techniques An exploration of different therapeutic approaches and techniques used in music therapy practice.
Psychology of Music An examination of the psychological and emotional effects of music on individuals and how it can be utilized in therapeutic settings.
Music Theory A comprehensive study of music theory, including harmony, rhythm, melody, and structure.
Developmental Psychology An overview of human development across the lifespan, focusing on the cognitive, emotional, and social aspects.
Musical Improvisation An exploration of improvisation techniques and their application in music therapy sessions.

bachelor's degree in music therapy image

Master’s Degree in Music Therapy

A master’s degree in music therapy offers advanced study in the clinical, professional, and academic aspects of the field. It provides music therapists with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and skills, enhancing their ability to serve their clients effectively.

To pursue a master’s degree in music therapy, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree, typically in music therapy or a related field. This educational background ensures a solid foundation in the fundamentals of music therapy practice.

While some universities accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree in a related field, many require a bachelor’s degree specifically in music therapy. Alternatively, candidates may be eligible if they are concurrently working toward fulfilling the equivalency requirements set by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).

Entry requirements for master’s degree programs in music therapy can vary among institutions. Some programs may require pre-registration, interviews, or additional coursework. It is essential to research and carefully review the admission criteria of each program you are considering.

“Earning a master’s degree in music therapy equips professionals with a deeper understanding of the therapeutic process, clinical techniques, and research methodologies,” says Dr. Emily Anderson, a renowned expert in music therapy education. “It empowers music therapists to develop their own theoretical frameworks, contribute to ongoing research initiatives, and advance the field.”

While there is no AMTA-approved doctoral degree in music therapy, certain universities offer specializations, concentrations, or coursework in music therapy within a broader doctoral program. This option allows music therapists to pursue doctoral study in related academic areas while incorporating music therapy concepts and research into their research and dissertation work.

Benefits of a Master’s Degree in Music Therapy

Obtaining a master’s degree in music therapy offers several key benefits:

  • Expanded knowledge: Master’s programs provide in-depth knowledge and advanced training in music therapy theory, techniques, research, and applications.
  • Clinical expertise: Graduates gain expertise in specialized areas of clinical practice, such as mental health, pediatrics, gerontology, or medical music therapy.
  • Advanced research skills: Master’s degree programs develop critical research skills that allow graduates to contribute to the expanding science of music therapy through independent research or collaboration.
  • Professional growth: Advanced education enhances professional competency and opens doors to leadership positions, consulting roles, and academic opportunities.

“A master’s degree in music therapy not only deepens clinical training but also broadens perspectives on the field,” adds Dr. Anderson. “It equips music therapists to address the evolving needs of diverse populations and contribute to evidence-based practice, ensuring the highest quality of care.”

Master’s Degree Programs in Music Therapy

Various universities across the United States offer master’s degree programs in music therapy. These programs provide a comprehensive curriculum that combines advanced clinical training, research, and academic coursework.

Below is an example of coursework typically included in a master’s degree program in music therapy:

Course Description
Advanced Music Therapy Techniques Explores advanced clinical interventions and techniques used in music therapy practice, focusing on specific populations or settings.
Research in Music Therapy Examines the latest research trends, methodologies, and ethical considerations in music therapy, enabling students to contribute to the evidence base of the profession.
Psychopathology and Music Therapy Explores various psychological disorders and conditions, developing strategies to assess and treat individuals through music therapy interventions.
Advanced Clinical Improvisation Focuses on the development of improvisational skills in music therapy, enhancing therapeutic communication, and creative expression.
Music Therapy Supervision Provides advanced training in clinical supervision, allowing students to develop competency in guiding and mentoring fellow music therapy professionals.

Master's Degree in Music Therapy

Completing a master’s degree in music therapy prepares graduates for advanced clinical practice, research, leadership roles, and further opportunities for professional development. As the field of music therapy continues to evolve, an advanced degree equips music therapists to meet the complex needs of individuals and make a significant impact in their lives.

Career Opportunities in Music Therapy

Music therapists have a wealth of employment opportunities in various settings, offering a rewarding career path in the music therapy profession.

Music therapists find employment opportunities in a wide range of settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Mental Health Agencies
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Schools
  • Private Practice

They work with individuals of all ages and disabilities, leveraging the power of music to provide therapeutic interventions and support.

Music therapists often collaborate with interdisciplinary teams, including doctors, psychologists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists, to develop comprehensive treatment plans that address the unique needs of their clients.

Through music therapy interventions, music therapists help clients reach their goals and objectives, facilitating physical, psychological, cognitive, and social growth and development.

The employment opportunities in the music therapy profession are expected to grow in the coming years, creating a favorable job market for qualified individuals seeking meaningful careers in music therapy.

employment opportunities in music therapy


“Music therapy has allowed me to combine my love for music with my passion for helping others. I have found immense fulfillment in witnessing the positive impact that music can have on individuals, and I am grateful for the diverse career opportunities the music therapy profession offers.”

– Sarah Thompson, Music Therapist

American Music Therapy Association (AMTA)

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) is the central professional organization for music therapists in the United States.

The AMTA plays a vital role in promoting and advancing the field of music therapy by providing resources, support, and information to its members. It serves as a hub of knowledge, facilitating collaboration, and fostering the growth of the profession.

One of the essential functions of the AMTA is to approve schools and programs offering degrees in music therapy. These approved programs ensure that the curriculum meets the high standards set by the association, giving students a quality educational foundation.

For aspiring music therapists, the AMTA’s online directory is a valuable resource. It enables students to find AMTA-approved schools and gather further information about the profession.

The AMTA also keeps its members up-to-date with the latest research, news, and developments in music therapy through publications, conferences, and workshops. This continuous learning and support help music therapists enhance their skills and stay at the forefront of the field.

By being a part of the AMTA, music therapists gain access to a strong and supportive community of professionals who are passionate about using music to improve the well-being of individuals. This network provides opportunities for networking, mentorship, and professional growth.

In essence, the AMTA serves as a guiding force in the field of music therapy, promoting excellence, fostering collaboration, and empowering music therapists to make a difference in the lives of their clients.

Benefits of Joining the AMTA

Benefits Description
Access to Resources The AMTA provides a wealth of resources, including research publications, educational materials, and professional development opportunities.
Networking Opportunities Being a part of the AMTA allows music therapists to connect with colleagues, mentors, and potential employers, creating valuable professional relationships.
Continuing Education The AMTA offers conferences, workshops, and webinars to help music therapists stay updated on the latest trends, techniques, and research in the field.
Advocacy and Support The AMTA advocates for the profession, providing support and guidance to music therapists in legal and ethical matters.
Recognition and Credibility Being affiliated with the AMTA enhances the professional credibility of music therapists and instills confidence in potential clients and employers.

Joining the AMTA is a wise choice for music therapists seeking to stay connected, informed, and supported throughout their careers.


Becoming a Music Therapist

To become a music therapist, individuals must complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in music therapy from an AMTA-approved program. After completing academic training and internship, they are eligible to take the certification exam administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). Passing this exam grants the credential of Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC). Some states may require additional registration, certification, or licensing for practicing music therapy.

Start your journey towards becoming a certified music therapist today and make a lasting impact through the power of music!

Steps to Becoming a Music Therapist Description
1 Complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in music therapy from an AMTA-approved program.
2 Participate in academic training and internship to gain practical experience.
3 Take the certification exam administered by the CBMT.
4 Achieve the Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC) credential upon passing the exam.
5 Check state-specific requirements for additional registration, certification, or licensing.

By fulfilling these requirements, you join the ranks of qualified music therapists and contribute to the growing field of music therapy. Take the first step today and become a music therapist!

Music Therapy Certification

Music Therapy Degree Programs: Frequently Asked Questions

We understand you may have questions about music therapy degree programs. We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to provide you with more information. Please refer to the FAQ section for answers to common queries about admission requirements, coursework, internships, and more.

FAQ: Music Therapy Degree Programs

  1. What are the admission requirements for music therapy degree programs?

    Admission requirements vary depending on the university or college offering the program. However, most music therapy degree programs require a high school diploma or equivalent, letters of recommendation, and an audition or interview process. Some programs may also have specific prerequisites, such as coursework in music theory or psychology.

  2. What coursework is typically included in a music therapy degree program?

    A music therapy degree program typically includes a combination of music courses, psychology courses, and specialized coursework in music therapy. Music courses may cover topics like music theory, composition, and performance, while psychology courses may focus on areas such as human development, abnormal psychology, and counseling techniques. The specialized coursework in music therapy delves into the principles and techniques of using music as a therapeutic tool.

  3. Are internships required as part of a music therapy degree program?

    Yes, internships or clinical placements are generally a required component of a music therapy degree program. These internships provide students with hands-on experience working with individuals or groups in a variety of therapeutic settings. They allow students to apply the knowledge and skills gained in their coursework to real-world situations under the supervision of experienced music therapists.

  4. Can I specialize in a specific population or area of music therapy?

    Yes, some music therapy degree programs offer opportunities for specialization in certain populations or areas of practice. These specializations may include working with children with developmental disabilities, older adults with dementia, individuals with mental health conditions, or patients undergoing medical treatment. Specialization options may vary depending on the institution.

  5. What certification or licensure is required to practice as a music therapist?

    In the United States, music therapists are required to hold the credential of Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC) granted by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). To obtain this credential, individuals must complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in music therapy from an American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved program and pass the CBMT certification exam.

If you have any additional questions or would like more information about specific music therapy degree programs, we encourage you to reach out to the universities or colleges offering the programs directly.

music therapy degree programs


A music therapy degree opens doors to a rewarding and meaningful career in helping others. With a unique blend of music, psychology, and clinical skills, music therapists have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals with various disabilities. By pursuing accredited music therapy programs and meeting the education requirements, you can embark on a path towards becoming a certified music therapist and making a difference through the power of music.

Through an accredited music therapy program, you will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to assess clients, develop personalized treatment plans, and implement therapeutic interventions using the medium of music. By integrating creativity and science, music therapists create a safe and supportive environment that promotes healing and growth.

As a music therapist, you will have the privilege of working in diverse settings such as hospitals, mental health agencies, schools, and rehabilitation centers. Collaborating with interdisciplinary teams, you will contribute to the holistic care and well-being of individuals of all ages and disabilities. With the potential for employment opportunities and the satisfaction of making a meaningful difference in people’s lives, a career in music therapy is both fulfilling and rewarding.

Also Read : Megalovania Sheet Music For Piano & More


Q: What is music therapy?

A: Music therapy is the use of music as a therapeutic tool to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. It is practiced by trained music therapists to achieve individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship.

Q: Is a degree in music therapy necessary to become a music therapist?

A: Yes, a degree in music therapy is necessary to become a credentialed music therapist. Most professionals in the field hold a bachelor’s degree in music therapy, which includes specific music therapy coursework and supervised clinical training.

Q: What are the general education requirements for a music therapy degree program?

A: General education requirements for a music therapy degree program typically include courses in areas such as English composition, psychology, sociology, natural sciences, and humanities.

Q: What employment opportunities are available for music therapy graduates?

A: Music therapy graduates can work in various settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, mental health facilities, nursing homes, and private practice. They can also explore opportunities in research and academia.

Q: What is the music therapy equivalency program?

A: The music therapy equivalency program is designed for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in a field other than music therapy but want to become a music therapist. It provides the necessary coursework and clinical training to meet the requirements for music therapy certification.

Q: What is the practice of music therapy like in the professional setting?

A: In the professional setting, music therapists assess the individual needs of clients, design and implement music-based interventions, and evaluate the outcomes to help clients achieve their therapeutic goals. It involves collaborating with interdisciplinary teams and documenting the therapeutic process.

Q: How many hours of clinical training are required for music therapy certification?

A: To be eligible to sit for the board certification exam, music therapy students must complete a minimum of 1,200 hours of clinical training under the supervision of an approved music therapy clinical training site.

Q: Are there schools that offer music therapy degree programs?

A: Yes, there are undergraduate degree programs in music therapy offered by various accredited institutions, including schools of music and universities. It is important to choose a program approved by the American Music Therapy Association®.

Q: What are the specific courses included in a music therapy curriculum?

A: The music therapy curriculum typically includes courses in music theory, music history, psychology of music, research methods in music therapy, clinical improvisation, and supervised clinical practicum experiences.

Q: What are the requirements for becoming a music therapist with a bachelor’s degree?

A: To become a music therapist with a bachelor’s degree, individuals must complete an undergraduate music therapy program, including the specified coursework and clinical training, and then apply for board certification through the national association for music therapy.

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