There are currently an estimated 19,200 music therapists in the United States. The music therapist job market is expected to grow by 6.8% between 2016 and 2026.

How employable are music therapists?

CareerExplorer rates music therapists with a C employability rating, meaning this career should provide moderate employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 3,900 music therapists. That number is based on 1,300 additional music therapists, and the retirement of 2,600 existing music therapists.

Are music therapists in demand?

A generally positive job outlook is predicted for music therapists. Science and changing social attitudes are driving the shift toward legitimacy and acceptance of the career. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), scientific and clinical research by cognitive neuroscientists shows that music positively stimulates the brain in various ways. Music has the ability to transcend language, promote healing, and even summon hidden memories. In short, researchers have found that music is a highly structured aural experience that impacts everything from cognition to perception to motor control in the brain. Trained therapists are increasingly using music to retrain and re-educate the brain’s functioning. The job market and demand may fluctuate due to local, state, and federal budgets; but overall this is an occupation which is growing in both size and validity. Opportunities for aspiring music therapists are expanding as positions are being created by psychiatric and medical hospitals; rehabilitation facilities and outpatient clinics; daycare and treatment centres; residences for developmentally disabled persons; community mental health and substance abuse facilities; senior centres and nursing homes; hospice programs; correctional facilities and halfway houses; schools; and private practices. Experienced music therapists may advance to positions as supervisors or managers of a department of therapists. However, these jobs still remain few in number as the occupation becomes more common. Currently, the more likely advancement opportunity in this rapidly expanding field is in conducting research on effective methods and usage of music therapy.

What’s the supply of music therapists?

The music therapist industry is concentrated in New York, California, Pennsylvania

Music Therapist job market by state

State Name Employed Music Therapists
New York 1,590
California 1,520
Pennsylvania 1,340
Illinois 1,050
Texas 960
Massachusetts 870
Missouri 640
Michigan 610
Florida 610
Minnesota 520
Georgia 470
North Carolina 450
Connecticut 450
Ohio 450
New Jersey 430
Wisconsin 420
Virginia 400
Utah 390
Kansas 390
Indiana 340
Maryland 330
Louisiana 320
Washington 260
Nebraska 240
Oklahoma 230
Tennessee 210
Mississippi 200
South Carolina 200
Iowa 170
District of Columbia 160
Alabama 130
Oregon 130
Kentucky 120
Colorado 120
Puerto Rico 110
Nevada 100
New Hampshire 100
North Dakota 80
Idaho 80
Delaware 80
New Mexico 70
Hawaii 70
Arkansas 60
Maine 60
Rhode Island 50
South Dakota 40
Vermont 40
Wyoming 40
Montana 40