AMTA's purpose is the progressive development of the therapeutic use of music in rehabilitation, special education, and community settings. Predecessors, unified in 1998, included the National Association for Music Therapy founded in 1950 and the American Association for Music Therapy founded in 1971. AMTA is committed to the advancement of education, training, professional standards, credentials, and research in support of the music therapy profession.
AMTA is governed by a 15-member Board of Directors which consists of both elected and appointed officers. Board meetings are held two or three times each year. Policies are set by an Assembly of Delegates consisting of representatives from each of the Association's seven regional chapters. Fourteen standing committees represent the areas of: Academic Program Approval, Internship Approval, Continuing Education, Government Relations, Reimbursement, Research, Clinical Practice, Communication and Technology, Affiliate Relations, Workforce Development and Retention, International Relations, Membership, Professional Advocacy, and Special Target Populations.
Membership in AMTA consists of nine categories: professional, associate, student, inactive, retired, affiliate, patron, life, and honorary life. Over 3,800 individuals hold current AMTA membership.
A separate, independent organization, known as the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT), certifies music therapists. CBMT administers a national music therapy certification examination which is officially recognized by the National Commission on Certifying Agencies. The examination measures the individual's skills, knowledge, and ability to engage in professional music therapy practice. Qualified individuals who pass the national music therapy certification examination earn the credential, music therapist, board certified, or MT-BC. The National Music Therapy Registry (NMTR) serves qualified music therapy professionals with the following designations: RMT, CMT, ACMT. These individuals have met accepted educational and clinical training standards and are qualified to practice music therapy.
Music therapists participate in quality assurance reviews of clinical programs within their facilities. In addition, AMTA provides several mechanisms for monitoring the quality of music therapy programs which include: Standards of Practice, a Code of Ethics, a system for Peer Review, a Judicial Review Board, and an Ethics Board.
AMTA's publications are excellent resources for practitioners and others. Official publications include: the Journal of Music Therapy, a quarterly research-oriented journal; Music Therapy Perspectives, a semi-annual, practice-oriented journal; Music Therapy Matters, a quarterly newsletter; and a variety of other monographs, bibliographies, and brochures.
AMTA holds an annual national meeting for the purpose of professional presentations and conducting association business. The conference is held in the fall of the year. Other symposiums and workshops are held as needed. In addition, each of AMTA's 7 regions holds a conference in the spring of the year.
AMTA is funded by annual membership dues, sales of publications, charitable contributions, and other revenue producing activities.
AMTA holds organizational membership in various coalitions including, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, the National Alliance of Pupil Services Organizations, National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations, Comission on Accredidation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), Health Professions Network (HPN), and the Coalition of Rehabilitation Therapy Organizations (CRTO) as a part of Joint Commission.
Purposes and Goals of AMTA
I. To improve and advance the use of music, in both its breadth and quality, in medical, educational, and community settings for the betterment of the public health and welfare by
A. establishing, maintaining, and improving standards for the education and training of music therapists;
B. establishing, maintaining, and improving standards of treatment and service in music therapy;
C. establishing, maintaining, and improving standards of ethical conduct for music therapists;
D. encouraging, developing, and promoting research, both theoretical and applied, in music therapy;
E. encouraging, developing, and promoting a body of literature in, and related to, music therapy; furthering the practice of music therapy in all parts of the country and the world, and enhancing its value and influence by the promotion of knowledge and understanding of its objectives and methods both inside and outside the profession;
F. providing a central agency for collecting and disseminating information related to music therapy;
G. encouraging and assisting persons in preparing, qualifying, and establishing themselves in music therapy practice.
II. To serve as the primary organizational agency for music therapy professionals by
A. interpreting the services of the profession to other professional disciplines and the public at large;
B. interpreting the attitudes and opinions of both other professional disciplines and public at large toward the music therapy profession and its services;
C. obtaining increased employer acceptance of music therapy and music therapists, thereby stimulating employment of music therapists in old and new areas by winning friendship, understanding, and respect, and by improving services;
D. caring for numerous functions concerning the profession which cannot be achieved without national or world level considerations;
E. providing channels for the exchange of ideas, advice, guidance, information, and professional experience within and without the profession at local, regional, national, and international levels;
F. representing the interests of music therapists in matters which relate to job markets, salaries, personnel practices, and fringe benefits;
G. representing music therapists in legislative matters at local, state, and national levels;
H. preserving the rights of music therapists to engage in music therapy procedures for which they are qualified by training and experience;
I. reviewing and seeking solutions to problems affecting music therapy practice common to various settings throughout the country and the world.
III. To develop, maintain, and seek continually to improve an organizational structure for the self-governance of the members of the music therapy profession by
A. recognizing that national strength depends ultimately on individual members and must thus provide a governing structure which will make the channels of individual effort maximally visible and attainable;
B. permitting, encouraging, and assisting establishment of local, state, and regional organizations which will contribute to, and be strengthened by affiliation with, the national Association;
C. recognizing that strong regional organizations provide a most effective means of contact with individual members and must therefore provide structures which make maximum use of that strength recognizing that national strength depends ultimately on individual members and must thus provide and give both equal and proportional representation to the regions in the national governance;
D. delineating clearly legislative (policy formulation), executive (procedure formulation), and judicial (ethics and standards formulation) structures in an optimal system of checks and balances responsive to the needs of the Association, its members and affiliate organizations, and the public at large;
E. providing a system for election and appointment of officers and committee personnel which recognizes and uses appropriate combinations of age, experience, areas of concern, and philosophical and psychological orientations, but of most importance, recognizes those who have proven themselves by their willingness to serve and their effective past performance;
F. providing a system of training members for positions in the governance of the Association requiring experience to be gained through local and regional to national positions;
G. establishing and guiding a management system for the conduct of the business of the Association which is optimally responsive to the needs of its members, the Association, and the public at large;
H. obtaining or creating income to allow sufficient resources which will permit the Association to accomplish its purposes and objectives;
I. providing services to members, and prospective members, such as supplying guidelines for establishing educational programs, clinical training programs, and affiliate organizations, and for assessing the quality of profession registries, and membership lists;
J. controlling its management so that no part of its earnings shall inure to the use or benefit of any individual, and so that the Association shall not engage in any practices or activities that are not permitted by Internal Revenue Service Code 501(c)(3).