What is the American Music Therapy Association?

While some have most likely heard about music therapy and its many benefits, they may not be as familiar with the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). An organization that is dedicated to professional music therapists, the AMTA also provides important resources, a plethora of information, and contains many benefits for those who belong.

A Brief History of the AMTA

In 1998, the National Association for Music Therapy (founded in 1950) and the American Association for Music Therapy (founded in 1971) unified to form the American Music Therapy Association. The goal of the newly formed association was to commit itself to advance the following areas that would support the music therapy profession:

  • Education
  • Training
  • Professional standards
  • Credentials
  • Research

Governed by a 15-member Board of Directors, policies of the association are set in place by representatives from seven regional chapters with fourteen standing committees. These committees represent areas such as government relations, international relations, membership, and professional advocacy. The purpose of the association is to make people aware of the benefits music therapy provides and to increase access to music therapy services.

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AMTA Membership

The AMTA provides many benefits for those who become members. In order to qualify, prospective members must first be certified as a music therapist by an independent organization called the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). In order to become certified, they must pass an examination that measures skills, knowledge, and the ability to professionally engage in music therapy practice. Currently there are 3,800 members of the AMTA. Members are separated into nine different categories including:

  • Professional
  • Associate
  • Student
  • Inactive
  • Retired
  • Affiliate
  • Patron
  • Life
  • Honorary life

Members who would like to join the AMTA can begin the application process on their website. The AMTA provides many benefits to its members. Not only does membership help to support the mission of the association, it also allows members to show their commitment to the music therapy profession and support their many programs and initiatives. A professional membership provides members with subscriptions to the association’s printed publications, conference discounts, discounts for online e-courses, access to the online directory, and much more. Membership also allows its members to have access to invaluable resources such as job listings and the ability to download royalty-free music to use in their music therapy practice. Members can also take advantage of the many networking, leadership, and service opportunities as well as become eligible for scholarships and grants.

Education is an area the AMTA is very active and their website provides a list of schools that offer a music therapy degree program. Music therapists are also encouraged to continue their education and the association’s website provides links and resources for that as well.

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Music therapists are becoming increasingly popular and is even now being covered by some health insurance plans. Some of the places music therapists practice include senior living centers, schools, outpatient clinics, and correctional facilities, and agencies that serve people with disabilities. For greater opportunities in education or to take your music therapy profession to the next level, you’ll want to become involved in the American Music Therapy Association.


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