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Masters Level Entry Press Release

July 12, 2018 10:12 AM

Bachelor’s Degree Affirmed as Entry into the Music Therapy Profession

After exhaustive examination by the Master’s Level Entry (MLE) Subcommittee of the Board of Directors, significant community feedback, and intense deliberation by the AMTA Board of Directors, the Board cited inconclusive direction and fiduciary concern as the primary reasons to not support the Subcommittee recommendation of moving to a master’s level entry by 2030.  However, the Board overwhelmingly supports investigation into music therapy education and clinical training as recommended by the Subcommittee, in order to produce more consistently competent music therapists, resulting in quality music therapy services per the AMTA mission. 

During the six and one half years dedicated to the topic of master’s level entry, the Board exercised due diligence and yet a clear direction is elusive.   Concerns of financial risk tolerance and organizational sustainability repeatedly appeared, also discouraging support of Master’s Level Entry by 2030.

Sincere appreciation goes to the MLE Subcommittee for the productive work and focus since 2012.  Formally begun with the work of the Education and Training Advisory Board in 2010, general discussions on the topic have been ongoing for decades. The 2012-2013 Board of Directors established a subcommittee of the Board, making a commitment to explore the feasibility of a move to Master’s Level Entry.

In those years, town hall- type meetings were held at each of the national and regional conferences annually to facilitate communication on the topic; additional information was received from National Association of Schools of Music and the Certification Board for Music Therapists; two in-person retreats were held; and two comprehensive surveys on the topic were conducted and analyzed. Communication was facilitated with multiple levels of leadership involvement: the Board, the Subcommittee, the Assembly of Delegates, and the membership. Multiple and regular opportunities for input was sought from both professionals and students, members and non-members. Earlier this year, the Final Report of the MLE Subcommittee was posted on the public section of the AMTA website, and additional feedback was sought.  This information was analyzed, and additional information was received by the Board on the legislative impact of such a move.

Future steps will be made by the Annual meeting in November towards the creation of a Commission on the Education and Clinical Training of 21st Century Music Therapists with the purpose of identifying inconsistences and recommending changes. The motion unanimously passed by the Board of Directors states:

Whereas, there is lack of consensus (e.g., among Master’s Level Entry Subcommittee Members and the membership) for a move to Master’s Level Entry;
Whereas, the evidence is inconclusive (e.g., Master’s Level Entry Subcommittee Final Report, two Master’s Level Entry surveys, feedback and analyses from Regional Town Hall/Concurrent Session Meetings, and Master’s Level Entry and State Recognition document) to support a move to Master’s Level Entry;
Whereas, the Board has considered its fiduciary responsibilities and financial risk tolerance for the organization’s sustainability regarding a move to Master’s Level Entry;
Whereas, the overall path (e.g., academic preparation, clinical training, and administrative support) is not sufficiently articulated for a move to Master’s Level Entry; and
Whereas, the Master’s Level Entry Subcommittee has identified academic, clinical, and administrative recommendations;
The Board of Directors moves to create a Commission on the Education and Clinical Training of 21st Century Music Therapists to: identify inconsistencies within degree programs to support clinical practice in a changing world; identify inconsistencies among and between National Roster and University Affiliated Internship programs; recommend changes to enhance current education and clinical training practices; support the ongoing efforts to increase state recognition of the MT-BC credential; and support efforts to encourage diversity and inclusion in the profession.


Please direct any questions or comments to Amber Weldon-Stephens, AMTA President,

For more information on the MLE process, see the menu item under Education & Careers>Education and Clinical Training Information>MLE Considerations.

Additional Message from the AMTA Board of Directors:

Thank you to members and music therapists for your comments and thoughts. At the Mid-Year meeting in June, the agenda included the review of the MLE Subcommittee recommendations to the AMTA Board of Directors. Upon careful examination of all the materials publicly available, the analysis of feedback post-spring regional conferences (resulting in 30 pages of comments), and a document regarding State Recognition (both linked above), the Board realized that between the inconclusive evidence, fiduciary concerns, and lack of consensus by the MLE Subcommittee, it would be irresponsible to support the recommendation at this time. In accordance with the Bylaws and following parliamentary procedure, the Board voted unanimously to not accept the MLE Subcommittee’s recommendation for a move to MLE by 2030, leaving no policy changes to forward to the Assembly.

The MLE Subcommittee was formed by the Board of Directors and charged with exploring a proposed move to masters level entry into the profession of music therapy, thus the recommendation was sent to the Board and it was the purview of the Board to determine what to do with the recommendation.

The Assembly is represented on the Board of Directors with four of nine voting members of the Board. The Assembly is the policy making body of AMTA, yet there is not a policy change to be considered.

Please stay turned for more information; the Board has read and considered each and every communication that has been received through multiple venues and is preparing a document that answers specific questions and concerns. This will be made public soon.

Updates concerning the Commission on Education and Clinical Training for 21st Century Music Therapists will be posted once they are available on