Do Music Therapists Need to be Board Certified?

Music therapists look at how different types of music and songs can impact a patient’s mood, emotions and behaviors. Many of those working in this field have a graduate degree, but you can take an entry-level therapy job with some clinical training and a bachelor’s degree. It’s also important that you look at whether your state requires that these therapists have board certification too. Many states ask that therapists take the exam to become board certified and that they meet some other requirements too.

Requirements for Taking the Exam

According to the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT), you can only sit for this exam once you pass an accredited college program that has approval from the American Music Therapy Association and complete your clinical training program. You will need to fill out an application, find a location near you to take the exam and select the date and time for your test. The CBMT also requires that you pay the exam fee at the time that you schedule the test, which is $325. This includes a base fee of $275 for the exam itself and a separate $25 fee for processing your application.

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Certification Exam Basics

There are more than 200 testing centers that let you take this computerized test. You must select a time between the hours of nine in the morning and 1:30 in the afternoon, and the testing centers are only open on weekdays. The test features 150 questions followed by four multiple choice answers. You need to read each question carefully and select the answer that best fits. CBMT will send you the results of your test within several business days, including the score you received and whether you passed. If you receive a failing score, you can register, pay the fee and take the test again.

Before Taking the Test

CBMT offers a self-assessment examination that can help you prepare for the test. While you do need to pay $75 or this examination, it serves as practice test that goes over some of the content found on the certification test. You’ll also receive a practice analysis study that provides you with some tips on preparing for the test and what to do on the day of the test. When you arrive at the center, you will need to bring a valid picture ID that you present at the front desk. Most centers require that you leave all other belongings in your vehicle.

Other Requirements for Therapists

Even if your state does not require that you become board certified and take this test, you will need to meet other requirements. The first is the completion of a music therapy program from an accredited college or university. Undergrad programs often require that you do fieldwork or field training too. Some states also require that therapists have a graduate degree. Music therapy degree programs have a fieldwork component that may require you do more than 1,000 hours of work with actual patients near the end of the program.

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Patients suffering from emotional disorders and medical conditions like Alzheimer’s can benefit from music therapy programs, which is why many hospitals and schools now hire therapists to work with patients and students. Though not all states require that music therapists have board certification, some states ask that therapists pass the examination offered by CBMT.

See also: Top 25 Master’s Degrees in Music Therapy 2016