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How do you become a music therapist?

Board Certified Music Therapist must attend an American Music Therapy Association approved university program. During their studies they obtain 200 hours of clinical practicum. After their course work they complete a 1000 hour internship. 

Upon internship completion, they qualify to take the music therapy board certification test. After they pass, they recive the credential MT-BC (Music Therapist-Board Certified). 


MT-BC is a national credential and entitles music therapists to practice nationally. However, a growing number of states (including Virginia) are also adopting state licensure.

Virginia put music therapy state licensure into law in June 2020. The exact policies and procedures are currently being developed. State licensure protects the public from untrained individuals calling themselves music therapists and potentially doing harm.

Music therapists may have additional specialized music therapy training after receiving their MT-BC. Anderson Music Therapy's staff have the following music therapy specializations:

  • Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT):

While general music therapy supports many different aspects of client's needs (emotional, physical, mental, etc.) through playing, listening to and/or writing music, Neurologic Music Therapy is a bit different. The evidence-based treatment model focuses on the neuroscience of music and how specific elements drive changes in the brain and brain connections (called neuropathways) through standardized research-based techniques (called NMT interventions). NMT interventions are applied in a consistent manner based on the therapeutic goals of the client.

Neurologic Music Therapists are stimulus specialists who are required to have completed additional training above and beyond standard music therapy certification in order to obtain and maintain their NMT designation

  • Hospice and Palliative Care Music Therapy (HPMT):

The Hospice and Palliative Care Music Therapy Institute provides music therapists with in-depth training of the needs of terminally ill patients and their families throughout the lifespan. HPMT focuses on the needs of bereaved clients in a variety of settings including hospice care, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, mental health agencies, acute medical settings, and the client's home. BPMT Music therapists are well-versed in current trends in bereavement counseling and the theories that influence current clinical practice.

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