How to Become a Music Therapist
Music therapy is a form of healthcare that utilizes music’s healing power to assist those dealing with mental, emotional and physical difficulties. It requires specialized academic and clinical training, making it an attractive career option with good pay and benefits – but not everyone fits this mold.
In order to become a music therapist, you must possess an undergraduate degree in music or another relevant field of study and then complete a graduate program within that field. Furthermore, you must do an internship and pass the national exam administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists – this independent assessment tests your knowledge of the field as well as practical skills in practicing as a therapist.
Bachelor’s degrees typically include coursework in music and psychology as well as classes to prepare you for the academic and clinical aspects of a professional music therapy degree. Master’s degrees further develop your research abilities and enable you to serve as leadership within the field.
A bachelor’s degree in music therapy includes courses such as musical foundations, history and theory, psychology, and a clinical curriculum focused on applying music therapy with various populations. The specialized academic and clinical training students receive during an undergraduate program will prepare them for taking the national certification exam.
Over 70 colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in music therapy, many of which are accredited by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). Most schools require an audition to enroll.
Your education will include an internship, where you’ll have the unique chance to work with a range of patients. This experience will give you invaluable insight into how music can aid patients in dealing with life and illness.
When selecting a music therapy program, research the school’s commitment to clinical training. This will give you an indication of how your education and experiences will be tailored towards achieving your career objectives, according to Allen.
Allen suggests that programs should have a special emphasis on working with children or adolescents and offer ample chances for you to practice treating patients in hospitals. She adds that you should also assess how diverse the musical styles, genres and cultural values of the program are.
Additionally, you should determine if the school’s music therapy program is nationally accredited. Doing so guarantees you’ll learn from experienced professionals who can provide the highest level of education and instruction, according to Allen.
The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) is the leading organization of its kind, representing over 5,000 music therapists around the globe. AMTA sets education and clinical training standards while advocating for music therapy’s use in rehabilitation, special education, community, and health care settings.
To be eligible for a music therapy job in Los Angeles, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and certification from the American Board of Music Therapy. Furthermore, you must be licensed in your state.