What Music Therapists Do

Music therapists address a patient's physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs by developing an individualized music program for that patient. This may include creating, singing, moving to, or listening to different kinds of music. This kind of treatment can aid physical rehabilitation and gives patients who have difficulty expressing themselves verbally a way to communicate. Overall, the goal of a music therapist is to provide patients with emotional support and a place to express themselves at a potentially stressful or disheartening time in their lives.

Types of Work Environments

  • Hospitals
  • In-patient psychiatric wards
  • Nursing homes
  • Prisons

Education and Training Requirements

Music therapists hold a bachelor's degree or higher in music therapy from a program accredited by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). These programs focus on three main areas: musical foundations, clinical foundations, and musical therapy foundations and principles. Potential music therapists must also complete 1,200 hours of clinical training, including a supervised internship. To practice professionally, music therapists must take a certification exam administered by the AMTA.


According to musictherapy.org, the median salary for Ohio is $48,000, and for those working in medical practices, the median salary is $53,500.

Professional Organization

American Music Therapy Association

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