Education and Clinical Training Information

The Education of a Music Therapist

The education of a music therapist is unique among college degree programs because it not only allows a thorough study of music, but encourages examination of one's self as well as others. Students may begin their study on the undergraduate or graduate level. The entry-level curriculum includes clinical coursework and extended internship requirements in an approved mental health, special education, or health care facility. Upon successfully completing academic and clinical training, and subsequently passing the national examination administered by the independent Certification Board for Music Therapists, the graduate acquires the credential, Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC).

The approved curriculum is designed to impart entry level competencies in three main areas: Musical Foundations, Clinical Foundations, and Music Therapy Foundations and principles as specified in the AMTA Professional Competencies. Entry level study includes practical application of music therapy procedures and techniques learned in the classroom through required fieldwork in facilities serving individuals with disabilities in the community and/or on-campus clinics. Students learn to assess the needs of clients, develop and implement treatment plans, and evaluate and document clinical changes.

Individuals who have a baccalaureate degree may elect to complete the degree equivalency program in music therapy offered by most AMTA-approved universities. Under this program, the student completes only the coursework necessary for equivalent music therapy training without necessarily earning a second baccalaureate degree. Some schools may require that the student's initial degree be in music.

Graduate programs in music therapy examine, with greater breadth and depth, issues relevant to the clinical, professional, and academic preparation of music therapists, usually in combination with established methods of research inquiry. Selected universities offer doctoral study in music therapy, some of which include coursework in music therapy in combination with doctoral study in related areas.

The Career in Music Therapy Brochure: View, download or print a list of Schools offering degrees in music therapy.




Applying for an AMTA-Approved Degree Program at Your University

You will need the Policies and Procedures for AMTA Academic Program Approval document, applications for bachelors and/or masters degree programs, as well as related documents to assist with the application process.  See the bulleted list below.

As of July 1, 2014, an non-refundable application fee of $1,000 is required. Payment must be received at the time of submission or the application cannot be processed.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Jane Creagan, MME, MT-BC Director of Professional Programs at 301-589-3300 or email

Please download or print the following documents:



Clinical Training in Music Therapy - National Roster of Internship Programs

The AMTA National Roster of Internship Programs is a systematically organized reference designed to assist music therapy students in selecting and acquiring appropriate internships after university education. In this handbook, each facility offering a music therapy internship program is identified, and basic information is presented about the agency, its music therapy department, and specific internship requirements and opportunities. The information is collected and compiled by the AMTA National Office staff. They would like to express their appreciation to the Internship Directors who were so cooperative in supplying information to complete the Handbook. Their assistance helped make the task of compiling this vast amount of information feasible.

Application to Become a National Roster Internship Site

This file contains the National Roster Internship Application and related documents to assist you in applying for a National Roster Internship program. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Jane Creagan, Director of Professional Programs at 301-589-3300 or email Please download both of the following documents:

Education and Clinical Training Board (ETAB) News

2014 National Roster Internship Annual Report

The American Music Therapy (AMTA) is considering moving the entry level of the profession to the Master's degree.  The Education and Training Advisory Board (ETAB) has studied the issues surrounding this potential change.  As a result, ETAB researched and created two advisories, Master's-Level Entry: Core Consideration and Master's-Level Entry: Moving Forward, which can be found below.  This is not current AMTA policy, but rather a proposal for the AMTA membership to read, review and discuss:
ETAB encourages AMTA members to read these documents and carefully consider the implications this change could have for the profession.  The ETAB invites AMTA members to submit questions and comments on this potential change.  To ask a question or give comments, please go to and complete the form.  Submission requires that you identify yourself by name.  Questions and thoughts posted here will be collated on a monthly basis and will be posted at:
In addition, members of the ETAB will be facilitating Town Hall meetings at each regional conference in the Spring, where conference attendees can learn more about this.

Benefits of membership in AMTA for Students and Interns - This is a PowerPoint show for Students and Interns created by the AMTA Membership Committee in Spring 2007 for use by music therapy educators and AMTA members.  Please right click the link to save the file to your desktop and watch.