What Degree Do You Need to Be a Music Therapist?

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What Degree Do You Need to Be a Music Therapist?

Music therapy is an evidence-based treatment that aids in the treatment of a wide range of diseases, including heart ailments, depression, autism, substance misuse, and Alzheimer’s disease. It can increase memory, lower blood pressure, improve coping, reduce stress, and boost self-esteem, among other things. You don’t have to be a musician to take part. Music therapy is the clinical application of music to achieve customized goals such as stress reduction, mood enhancement, and self-expression. It is a well-established evidence-based therapy in the medical world. Listening to music, singing, playing instruments, or making music are all examples of music therapy experiences. Participation does not necessitate any musical abilities or expertise.

What Exactly Is a Music Therapist?

A music therapist is a specialist who utilizes music as therapy to assist his patients with mental illnesses to feel better. Although this type of treatment has been used in society since the time of Hippocrates, who used music to heal his patients suffering from mental disorders, it has only recently gained popularity. This vocation as a Music Therapist has now emerged as an ideal possibility for applicants who are interested in mental health and have a love of music. In recent years, there has been significant growth in the number of students interested in studying Music Therapy.

What Are the Required Qualifications of a Music Therapist?

Your passion for music is essential in becoming a music therapist. Creativity, imagination, and empathy for patients are essential qualities for this profession. To be successful in this field, you must be open to new techniques and ideas. Patience is essential while treating people of all ages. To become competent, music therapists must complete the necessary education, training, and certification. This is how to become a music therapist, aside from personal qualities that fuel your motivation.

Acquire a Bachelor’s Degree

Obtain a bachelor’s degree in music therapy from an authorized university. The curriculum consists of both coursework and clinical instruction. The practical sessions in a healthcare facility will give you a sense of what you might expect when you start working. Depending on the school you attend, you will need approximately 1,200 hours of clinical training. The following is a typical course outline:

General research
Foundations and concepts of musical therapy
Human advancement
Law governing special education
Behavioral sciences and psychology
History and theory of music
Methods of investigation
Diseases and disabilities
Composing and arranging abilities
Human Anatomy and Neuroscience

Key courses count toward the degree you’ll receive after four years. For example, the first year or two will consist of general education material. Following that, courses will concentrate on music therapy and musical foundations. As part of your study, you will learn clinical work and electives. The topics are equally important for understanding music therapy.

Apply for a Summer Internship

An internship is a brief time of job experience in a company. It is an essential aspect of preparing for the already competitive job market around the world. Your internships will be monitored or supervised by the director of music therapy or another certified professional. Before you may work with patients, you should have around 900 hours of internship experience. Apply for internships at music therapy treatment centers, schools, mental health facilities, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and clinics. Interacting with clients and having an expert guide you through various tasks can help you gain experience.

Your internship will run concurrently with your studies. As a result, you will need to make time for both school and your internship. Flexibility and perseverance will assist you in completing the required hours for graduation. Here are the perks you will receive at the completion of the program:

Improves and expands proficiency

Builds confidence \sHelps musical therapists become exceptional
Job change in a healthcare center
rovides job experience
Excellent for networking.

Obtain a Master’s Degree

After receiving your bachelor’s degree, you will continue your study by obtaining a master’s degree. When you get a master’s degree in music therapy, your chances of landing a managerial position increase. This training will take you two years to complete and graduate. The advanced degree broadens your knowledge and skills from your undergraduate studies. Your postgraduate degree courses may differ based on the university you attend. The following are general subjects that you will study:

Practices in music therapy
Music therapy research
Composition of music
Music therapy’s historical underpinnings

Models of treatment

Clinical training will allow you to work with customers in addition to learning in the classroom. You will be supervised by an expert musical therapist. To be admitted to a master’s degree program, you must submit transcripts from your bachelor’s degree. A music portfolio, recommendation letters, and personal statements may also be required. The criteria will vary depending on the school you attend.

Obtain Your Doctorate.

A Ph.D. in music therapy is the highest level of education that may be obtained in the field. The requirements for admission to a doctoral degree program might be fairly difficult. Before applying, you need to have a master’s degree in the same discipline and at least five years of experience. The advantage is that a Ph.D. allows you to make more money. Aside from working as a music therapist in a hospital facility, you can also tutor students as a part-time professor. The following are the courses you will take at the Ph.D. level:

Methods of music research
Project for doctoral research
Dissertation \sConducting \sMusicology
Music treatment for neurological conditions

For full-time students, a Ph.D. in music takes two to four years. Part-time study will take around three to six years to finish and graduate. Clinical practice, college teaching, supervision, and clinical administration are all part of a doctoral degree. You will conduct extensive research and produce a dissertation.

Seek High-Quality Instruction.

To stand out among other applicants as a music therapist, you must have the skill and hands-on experience. It would be beneficial if you were skilled at singing music that affects the soul in order to bring out therapeutic qualities that benefit your patients. If you don’t already know how to play the piano or guitar, you could learn to do so while studying. In addition to your bachelor’s degree in music, you will need 1200 hours of clinical training. Your ability to handle patients and work with little supervision will constantly improve. Following your training, you will be able to use the following techniques:

Data gathering and reporting
Evaluation and execution of therapy Treatment planning
A relationship that is therapeutic
Collaboration between professionals
Planning for Discharge
Administration and supervision
Professionalism in the workplace

Your job path as a music therapist is shaped by your knowledge and talents. Maintain your musical abilities. Music is dynamic, and you will discover new things every day. To stay an effective music therapist, keep an open mind that welcomes change and creativity. If possible, continue your education to keep up with the changes in the health care sector.

Obtain Certification as Well as a License.

After completing the necessary schooling, training, and internship, you will require certification and a license to practice. Following the completion of your bachelor’s degree, you should take the Music Therapist Board Certification (MT-BC) exam. Candidates for the MT-BC must demonstrate four critical aspects, which are as follows:

Competencies in the Workplace
Ethical guidelines
Clinical practice guidelines
The breadth of music therapy practice

The accreditation is awarded by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) to individuals who have the necessary expertise and knowledge. The board requires you to maintain your certificate after five years by completing 100 credits of continuing education. Working as a music therapy may require a license in some areas. You can look up the regulations that apply to you based on where you live.

Get a Job.

Aside from clinics and hospitals, a music therapist might practice in a variety of settings. You can work in a clinic that serves people with developmental, emotional, or physical problems. Music therapists can work in correctional facilities, stress management clinics, and substance misuse treatment programs. You can also look for work in hospice care, oncology treatment clinics, and assisted living homes. Your abilities can help children in special education who have difficulties. You can also act as a consultant for special educators and music specialists.

How Can You Find a Job?

Prepare Your Job-Search Resources.

To begin, you will require essential tools to assist you in your job search. A cover letter, résumé, letters of recommendation, and references are all required materials for becoming a music therapist. Create your cover letter and resume digitally to make it easier to apply for jobs online.

List the Companies That Are Looking for New Employees.

As a music therapist, you should find an environment that fulfills your requirements and expectations. There are numerous opportunities to choose from and acquire a job that will advance your career. As previously said, you can select clinics, hospitals, institutions, and agencies that have patients in need of your services. Reduce your search to businesses that can hire you based on your experience and expertise.


If you need to obtain a career as a music therapist, the power of networking cannot be underestimated. You might enquire if the company is hiring through social gatherings or face-to-face communication. You may, for example, contact the clinic or hospital where you interned. If you have friends or former classmates who are already working, ask them about job openings. If your qualifications are outstanding, they may be able to endorse you.

Make Thorough Preparations for the Interview.

The most crucial aspect of seeking a job is preparing for an interview. Begin by examining the job description to get a sense of the types of questions you can expect. Investigate the company and plan the questions you’ll ask. As a music therapist, the interview may include hands-on activities such as interacting with patients to demonstrate your abilities. Prepare well enough to impress your potential employer in the first round. Dress smartly and answer inquiries with confidence. Arrive on time, conduct nicely, and make a good first impression to land the job.

How Be Will Your Job Schedule and Role?

As a music therapist, you will work approximately 40 hours each week. The position is full-time and involves working with a variety of patients. The good news is that the timetable is flexible, so you can meet with your client in the evening to make up for a lost time. Shifts are common if you want to pursue a profession in music therapy. You will be required to communicate with patients and family members as part of your job. Discussions can take place via email, phone, or in-person contact at health facilities. Music therapists must work together to discuss ideas and solve challenges that patients present.

Here is an example of work performance that you might expect.
Sticking to monthly deadlines
Working on your own to treat patients
Accuracy in patient diagnosis
Making decisions that have an impact on patients
There is little or no supervision.

What Is an Average Salary of a Music Therapist?

The earnings of a music therapist are determined by a variety of criteria such as location, business type, therapist experience, and qualifications. Music therapists who are newly qualified earn an average yearly pay of $48,220. Wages normally range from $30,880 to $77,970.

What Are Some Responsibilities of a Music Therapist?

Working with an interdisciplinary team to determine whether clients are eligible for music therapy.
Creating therapeutic musical interventions to improve clients’ psychological, physical, and social wellbeing.
Music therapy sessions are available.
Inviting customers to participate by urging them to sing and dance.
Clients are monitored during musical treatments, and the effectiveness of sessions is measured.Clients are recorded and videotaped on a regular basis to assess efficacy and progress.
Keeping track of the client’s progress.
Clients are re-evaluated on a biannual basis.
Taking care of musical instruments.
In charge of supervising and guiding Music Therapist interns.

This is all you need to know in order to become a Music Therapist. If you choose this as your career, then you must consider the above requirements and plan accordingly.

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.