Education and Clinical Training Information

In this section:


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.




- you are a high school graduate, then you may be eligible for option A

- you have a Bachelor’s in a related subject (Education, Psychology, etc.) then you may be eligible for option A or B  

*Subject to approval by the Program Director, individuals who have earned a baccalaureate degree in an area other than music therapy may elect to complete the equivalency program in music therapy offered by most AMTA-approved universities. Under this program, the student completes only the required coursework necessary to satisfy professional competencies in music therapy without necessarily earning a second baccalaureate degree. Individuals who have a bachelor’s degree specifically in music are also eligible to pursue a Master’s degree in Music Therapy (C) offered by AMTA-approved degree programs, by first completing the required undergraduate music therapy coursework including the internship, (essentially the Music Therapy equivalency described above) then moving onto the master’s coursework.

-you have a Bachelor’s in Music, then you may be eligible for option B, C or E (online)

-you have a Bachelor’s in Music Therapy and are seeking a graduate degree, then you may be eligible for option D or F (online)

-you have a wealth of music experience and/or strong musicianship (but no degree in music), then you are eligible for option A 

(Subject to approval by the Program Director, certain coursework may be waived--please discuss your specific situation with the school Program Director)

For more detailed information, contact Jane Creagan, MME, MT-BC, Director of Professional Programs,, 301-589-3300 ext. 104.  For a list of AMTA-approved schools offering a music therapy degree, go to the menu item, Education & Careers>Schools Offering Music Therapy and follow the instructions to search for an AMTA-approved school.


Applying to offer 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:

State Authorization for Distance Education: Implications for Internship Placements

State Guide

AMTA compiled a state guide that outlines whether state authorization may be required for internship placements outside of the home state of the college/ university. Please note that these requirements are not being imposed by AMTA; rather, AMTA is providing this information as a resource. The purpose of this state guide is to assist AMTA faculty when they are advising students in choosing an internship to identify when the university may have to take additional steps to secure required authorizations. Specific questions about the application process, fees, exemptions, and verification should be directed to the contact listed for each state. The guide includes the name and contact information for agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

The information contained in the State Guide was excerpted from a survey conducted by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) State Authorization Advisory Board in 2014. Updated contact information is available on the SHEEO website

Asteriks (*) by state names indicate that they are a member or are in the process of becoming a member of NC-SARA (National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement). This body seeks to simplify how colleges and universities become authorized to offer distance education to students in other states.   SARA is designed to eliminate the wide variation of state requirements by holding all members to the same policies. For more information see:

More Information


State Authorization for Internship Placements Guide
State Authorization Required
for Clinical Placements by Out of State Universities
Authorizing Agency Contact
Alabama Yes

Alabama Commission on Higher Education

Elizabeth C. French

*Alaska No

Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education

Kierke A. Kussart

*Arizona No Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education

Teri Stanfill

Arkansas No Arkansas Department of Higher Education

Alana Boles

California No

California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education

Joanne Wenzel

*Colorado No Colorado Department for Higher Education

Heather DeLange

*Connecticut No Connecticut Office of Higher Education

Amy King

Delaware Yes Delaware Department of Education

Angelline Willen

District of Columbia Yes

District of Columbia Education Licensure Commission

Angela H. Lee

Florida No

Florida Department of Education, Commission for Independent Education

Sam Ferguson

Georgia Yes

Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission

Carl G. Camann, PhD

Hawaii No Hawaii Post-Secondary Ed Authorization Program

Bobbi Lum‐Mew

*Idaho Yes
(case by case basis)
Idaho State Board of Education

Valerie Fenske

*Illinois No - unless more than 10% of credit hours Illinois Board of Higher Education

Dr. Dan Cullen

*Indiana No

Indiana Board for Proprietary Education/Indiana Commission for Higher Education

Ross Miller

*Iowa Yes Iowa College Student Aid Commission

Carolyn Small

*Kansas Yes Kansas Board of Regents

Jacqueline Johnson

Kentucky Yes Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Sarah Levy, JD

*Louisiana Yes Louisiana Board of Regents

Emily C. Saleh

Maine No Maine Department of Higher Education

Harry W. Osgood

Maryland Yes Maryland Higher Education Commission

Shawna Acker-Ball, PhD

Massachusetts Yes Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

Academic Policy Staff

Michigan No

State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

Michael Beamish, Manager

*Minnesota Yes Minnesota Office of Higher Education

George R. Roedler, Jr., JD

Mississippi No Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation

Menia Dykes

*Missouri Yes Missouri Department of Higher Education

Leroy Wade

*Montana No Montana U. System, Office of the Commission of Higher Education

State Authorization Compliance Agent

*Nebraska No Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission for Post- Secondary Education

Kathleen Fimple

*Nevada Yes Nevada Commission on Postsecondary Education

David Perlman

*New Hampshire Yes New Hampshire Dept. of Education, Division of Higher Education-Higher Ed Commission

Patricia Edes

New Jersey Yes New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education

Eric Taylor, Esq

New Mexico Yes New Mexico Higher Education Department

Diane Vigil‐Hayes

New York Yes New York Office of College and U. Evaluation/Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision

Ellen Zunon

Monica Borden

North Carolina Yes University of North Carolina Board of Governors

Terrence Scarborough

*North Dakota No North Dakota University System

Tanya Spilovoy

Ohio Yes Ohio Board of Regents

Shane DeGarmo

Oklahoma Yes Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

Daniel Archer

*Oregon Yes Office of Degree Authorization

Alethia Miller

Pennsylvania No Pennsylvania Department of Education

Patricia Landis

Puerto Rico Yes Puerto Rico Council on Education

Dr. Idalia Zavala Maldonado

Rhode Island No Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education

Deanna Velletri

South Carolina No South Carolina Commission on Higher Education

Renea Eshleman

*South Dakota No South Dakota Secretary of State Office

Krista J. Rounds

Tennessee Yes Tennessee Higher Education Commission

Lindsey Vaughan, Esq

Texas Yes Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Cathie Maeyaert

*Utah Yes Utah Division of Consumer Protection

Marla Winegar

*Vermont No Vermont State Board of Education

Cathy Hilgendorf

*Virginia No State Council for Higher Education in Virginia

Sylvia Rosa-Casanova

*Washington Yes Washington Student Achievement Council

Karen Oelschlager

West Virginia Yes West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

Mark Stotler

Wisconsin No Wisconsin Education Approval Board

David C. Dies

Wyoming Yes Wyoming Department of Education

Elaine Marces




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


Masters Level Entry Considerations

The members of the Master’s Level Entry (MLE) Subcommittee gave a presentation at the annual AMTA conference in November 2014. The power point slides and Handout from “A Progress Report” are now available on the AMTA website. Featured in the presentation was a proposed new model of music therapy education and clinical training as well as the subcommittee’s evaluation of the model.

The Subcommittee members continue to invite your questions and feedback. Feel free to contact any of us: Mary Ellen Wylie, Jim Borling, Cynthia Briggs, Jane Creagan, Marcus Hughes, Bryan Hunter, Ronna Kaplan, Christine Neugebauer, Angie Snell, and Amy Furman (ex officio).

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 email Mary Ellen Wylie at  

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.