MLE Considerations

Masters Level Entry (MLE) Considerations

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) has been investigating the question of Master’s Level Entry (MLE) to the profession of music therapy. The Master’s Level Entry Subcommittee, created in 2012, has completed their report and it can be found below, along with supplemental information on the topic.

We thank the work of the Subcommittee members: Ron Borczon, Jim Borling, Cynthia Briggs, Jane Creagan, Amy Furman, Michelle Hairston, Marcus Hughes, Bryan Hunter, Ed Kahler, Ronna Kaplan, Eve Montague, Christine Neugebauer, Angie Snell, and Chair, Mary Ellen Wylie.

Master’s Level Entry Subcommittee Report Overview

The Master’s Level Entry (MLE) Subcommittee was formed by the AMTA Board of Directors in 2012 with a charge to “Explore a proposed move to master’s level entry into the profession of music therapy.”

Prior to the formation of the Subcommittee, The Education and Training Advisory Board (ETAB), published two papers which discussed the idea of master’s level entry. Town Hall Meetings were held at all seven regions of AMTA in the spring of 2012. Comments and questions from members attending the Town Hall Meetings and from officers of AMTA suggested the question of master’s level entry needed further exploration.

This report reviews events leading up to the formation of the Subcommittee and work done by the MLE Subcommittee since the spring of 2012.

The work of the MLE Subcommittee over the years ultimately led to the creation of several Recommendations; the first and main Recommendation concerned master’s level entry, and the remaining 11 recommendations as future considerations.

The MLE Subcommittee sent this report to the AMTA Board of Directors on November 30, 2017, with the following recommendation for their consideration:

The MLE Subcommittee recommends to the AMTA Board of Directors that we transition to Master’s Level entry into the profession by 2030. The motion passed with 8 yes votes and 6 no votes, June 29, 2017, 2:49 pm.

The report is divided into four parts which represent the work of the MLE Subcommittee. During our process, data from a variety of sources—members, organizations such as the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) and the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), other professions, MLE projects, and formal and informal surveys—was collected, reviewed, and analyzed. In this report data and/or findings from the various projects is summarized.

MLE Part I

  • Background information on the events leading to the appointment of the Subcommittee.
  • Early forms of data from which  developed a Definition of a 21st Century Music Therapist
  • Essential Components and Core Values
  • Description of MLE Subcommittee Retreat in June 2017
  • The Recommendation to the Board of Directors along with rationale for the voting
  • Summary of the presentation by the Executive Director of CBMT


  • Summary of the projects related to four charges from the Board of Directors
  • Data collected from Allied Health professions who moved to MLE
  • Education Models Evaluation and SWOT Analysis
  • Additional Questions Investigated and Answered
  • Pro Bono Decision Analysis Model Summary
  • Related Literature Annotations
  • Summaries of the Surveys of AMTA Educators and Internship Supervisors
  • Recommendations for Future Considerations


  • Timeline-progression of work over five years
  • References and Appendices
  • Appendix A-Allied Health Professions Comparison chart
  • Appendix B-Letters from CBMT and NASM
  • Appendix C-Education Models & SWOT Analysis
  • Appendix D-Charts Ranking Reasons to support or oppose MLE
  • Appendix E-Pro Bono Decision Analysis Model


Additionally, the following documents were created by the Education and Training Advisory Board, whose work was a precursor to the Master’s Level Entry Subcommittee of the Board of Directors.

The MLE Subcommittee Final Report references a presentation by CBMT Executive Director Joy Schneck during the summer 2017 MLE retreat. Below, please find links to both the presentation by Executive Director Schneck as well as the Executive Summary she prepared for the AMTA Board of Directors for the annual meeting in November 2017. In addition to the Board of Directors, the PPT presentation was provided in November 2017 during the meetings of the Assembly of Delegates and the Faculty Forum.

AMTA members are encouraged to read these documents. Regional conferences in 2018 will have opportunities for questions in person.  If you will not be at a regional conference, please jot down your questions. We are currently working on a new group or contact person to address questions, but do not have anything set yet. Please check the homepage under “Latest News” for additional updates as they become available. Thank you for your patience and for your attention to this topic.
current as of 3/19/2018