Is becoming a music therapist right for me?
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How to become a Music Therapist
To become a music therapist, there are several steps you need to take:
- Obtain a Bachelor's Degree: The first step towards becoming a music therapist is to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Music Therapy from an accredited program. These programs typically take four years to complete and include coursework in music theory, psychology, and music therapy techniques.
- Complete an Internship: After completing your Bachelor's degree, you must complete a 1200-hour internship supervised by a board-certified music therapist. The internship typically takes six months to a year to complete and provides hands-on experience in a clinical setting.
- Pass the Certification Exam: Once you have completed your internship, you are eligible to take the certification exam administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and assesses your knowledge of music therapy theory, techniques, and ethics.
- Obtain State Licensure: Some states require music therapists to obtain a license to practice, in addition to national certification. The requirements for licensure vary by state, but generally involve completing additional coursework and passing an exam.
- Maintain Certification and Licensure: To maintain your certification and licensure, you must complete continuing education courses and adhere to the professional code of ethics established by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).
- Obtain a Master's Degree: A Master's Degree in Music Therapy is not required to become a music therapist. However, it is becoming increasingly common for employers to prefer or require a master's degree for certain positions. In addition, some states require a master's degree for licensure as a music therapist. A master's degree takes an additional two years and provides more in-depth knowledge and skills in music therapy. It may also offer opportunities for specialization in a particular area of music therapy, such as hospice and palliative care, neurologic music therapy, or music therapy in schools.
The primary certification for music therapists in the United States is the Board-Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) credential, awarded by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). To become certified, candidates must meet the following requirements:
- A Bachelor's or Master's Degree in Music Therapy from an accredited program
- Completion of a 1200-hour supervised clinical internship
- Passing score on the CBMT certification exam
- Certification must be maintained through ongoing continuing education and adherence to the CBMT Code of Professional Practice.
In addition to the MT-BC credential, there are other certifications and specializations available in the field of music therapy, including:
- Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) Certification: Offered by the Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy (ANMT), this certification demonstrates specialized knowledge and skills in using music to address neurological conditions such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, and traumatic brain injury.
- Hospice and Palliative Care Music Therapy Certification: Offered by the National Institute for Music and Hospice, this certification demonstrates specialized knowledge and skills in using music to support end-of-life care.
- NICU Music Therapy Certification: Offered by the National Institute for Infant and Child Medical Music Therapy, this certification demonstrates specialized knowledge and skills in using music to support premature infants and their families in neonatal intensive care units.
- Music Therapy in Schools Certification: Offered by the American Music Therapy Association, this certification demonstrates specialized knowledge and skills in using music to support academic, social, and emotional development in school-age children.
There are many online resources available for music therapists. Here are some suggestions:
- American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) - The AMTA is the professional organization for music therapists in the United States. Their website provides a wealth of information and resources for music therapists, including publications, webinars, job listings, and continuing education opportunities.
- Music Therapy Ed - Music Therapy Ed is an online resource for continuing education for music therapists. They offer courses on a variety of topics, including clinical skills, business and marketing, and music therapy research.
- Music Therapy Hub - Music Therapy Hub is an online community for music therapists. It provides a platform for music therapists to connect, share resources, and collaborate on projects.
- Music Therapy Online - Music Therapy Online is an online resource for music therapists that provides resources and information on a variety of topics, including research, clinical techniques, and professional development.
- The British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT) - The BAMT is the professional organization for music therapists in the UK. Their website provides a range of resources for music therapists, including publications, research, and job listings.
- The World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT) - The WFMT is the international organization for music therapy. Their website provides information on music therapy organizations around the world, as well as resources and publications on music therapy practice and research.
- Music Therapy Resource - Music Therapy Resource is an online resource for music therapists that provides resources and information on a variety of topics, including clinical techniques, research, and professional development.
- Music Therapy Pro - Music Therapy Pro is an online resource for music therapists that provides continuing education courses, webinars, and resources on a variety of topics, including clinical techniques, business and marketing, and research.