Music Therapy Board Certification
Music therapy is a practice that uses various methods to create and utilize various aspects of music to help clients maximize their health and quality of life. Sessions are conducted by credentialed music therapists who employ musical techniques both musically and clinically, creating an intimate therapeutic bond.
Becoming a certified music therapist requires attaining either a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate degree as well as continuing education through advanced trainings and certifications. The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) both play key roles in developing this profession.
AMTA is the go-to organization for music therapists, serving as an educational and training resource, publishing research in the field, offering resources for ongoing continuing education of members and ensuring those in need get quality services. Furthermore, AMTA actively campaigns for state recognition of MT-BC credentials while increasing consumer access to these services.
After successfully completing a bachelor’s degree, music therapists are eligible to sit for the national board certification exam administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). Once credentialed, MT-BC holders receive their credential which is valid for five years and requires them to continue meeting stringent professional development requirements throughout that time.
A bachelor’s degree in music therapy is typically required to enter most academic programs for music therapy practitioners. Most AMTA-approved universities offer this degree program, which requires four or more years of study and 1200 hours of supervised clinical experience before students can earn their MT-BC credential.
Many music therapists pursue master’s or doctorate degrees to enhance their professional knowledge in specialized areas such as research, theory, development and supervision. In graduate school, music therapists also hone their skills in applying music therapy with particular populations or methods.
The Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) issues the MT-BC credential. This organization sets and enforces stringent requirements to protect consumers’ health and safety by certifying only qualified music therapists provide services.
CBMT is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and evaluates professional competence. To maintain their MT-BC credential, holders must consistently abide by a Code of Professional Practice that includes disciplinary procedures in case a consumer raises an issue.
Requirements for the Music Therapy-BC credential are established by the CBMT, which can be found in The Scope of Music Therapy Practice published jointly by AMTA and CBMT. This scope serves as the basis for determining whether a music therapist meets the minimum qualifications to become board certified by both organizations.
Earning the Music Therapist-BC credential is a sign of professional competence. Holders must maintain their expertise through continued education and development, such as formal educational plans, individual mentoring, participation in peer networks, and acquisition of new knowledge and skillsets. Holding this credential shows that one is up-to-date with research and practice within music therapy.