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Music Therapy: Careers, Scholarships, & Standards

Music Therapy as a Career

Professional Requirements for Music Therapists (AMTA)

A professional music therapist holds a bachelor's degree or higher in music therapy from one of over 70 American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved college and university programs. The curriculum for the bachelor's degree is designed to impart entry level competencies in three main areas: musical foundations, clinical foundations, and music therapy foundations and principles as specified in the AMTA Professional Competencies. In addition to the academic coursework, the bachelor's degree requires 1200 hours of clinical training, including a supervised internship. Graduate degrees in Music Therapy focus on advanced clinical practice and research.

Upon completion of the bachelor's degree, music therapists are eligible to sit for the national board certification exam to obtain the credential MT-BC (Music Therapist - Board Certified) which is necessary for professional practice. The credential MT-BC is granted by a separate, accredited organization, the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT), to identify music therapists who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to practice at the current level of the profession. The purpose of board certification in music therapy is to provide an objective national standard that can be used as a measure of professionalism by interested agencies, groups, and individuals.

Scope of Music Therapy Practice (AMTA & CBMT)

The Scope of Music Therapy Practice (2015) broadly defines the range of responsibilities of a fully qualified music therapy professional with requisite education, clinical training, and board certification.

Certification Board for Music Therapists

The core purpose of Board Certification in Music Therapy (MT-BC) is to provide an objective standard that ensures all certificants are prepared to practice music therapy at the highest level.

For information on certification, resources for students & candidates, see the Certification Board for Music Therapists website and its CBMT Candidate Handbook.

AMTA Standards of Clinical Practice

The AMTA Standards of Clinical Practice for music therapy are defined as rules for measuring the quality of services. These Standards are designed to assist practicing music therapists and their employers in providing quality clinical interventions. The AMTA Standards of Clinical Practice undergo periodic revision to remain current with advances in the field.

AMTA Code of Ethics

The AMTA Code of Ethics define tenets of professional conduct for practicing music therapists. Because music therapists believe in the dignity and worth of every person and strive to establish and maintain high standards in public service, we require of ourselves the utmost in ethical behavior. 

AMTA Professional Competencies

The AMTA Professional Competencies provide a definition of the current entry level skills of a music therapist who has completed either a bachelor's degree or its equivalent in music therapy. All AMTA approved bachelor's degree programs incorporate these competencies in their music therapy curriculum.

Scholarships : American Music Therapy Association

 

Music Therapy Scholarships info Podcast

Student, Intern, and Graduate Student Level Scholarships

  • E. Thayer Gaston Research Competition
    • Undergraduate Students, Undergraduate Student Interns, & Undergraduate Equivalency Students are eligible; Graduate Equivalency Students are NOT eligible.
  • Edwina Eustis Dick Scholarship for Music Therapy Interns
    • Nomination for this award is required
    • Applicant must either be a current Intern or entering an Internship within 6 months of the application deadline
  • Brian & Cathy Smith Memorial Fund
    • Nomination for this award is required
    • Award is for those pursing an internship related to chemical dependency or adolescent programs
    • Applicant must either be a current Intern or entering an Internship within 6 months of the application deadline
  • Christine K. Stevens Development Scholarship
    • Nomination for this award is required
    • Supports music therapy students in their efforts to expand their training in the use of percussion-based strategies through continuing education opportunities with the research-based HealthRHYTHMS Group Empowerment Drumming program

Professional Level Scholarships & Grants