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Life As a Music Therapist

Career Description Plan, organize, or direct medically prescribed music therapy activities designed to positively influence patients’ psychological or behavioral status.

Life As a Music Therapist

  • Communicate client assessment findings and recommendations in oral, written, audio, video, or other forms.
  • Observe and document client reactions, progress, or other outcomes related to music therapy.
  • Apply selected research findings to practice.
  • Engage clients in music experiences to identify client responses to different styles of music, types of musical experiences, such as improvising or listening, or elements of music, such as tempo or harmony.
  • Conduct information sharing sessions, such as in-service workshops for other professionals, potential client groups, or the general community.
  • Supervise staff, volunteers, practicum students, or interns engaged in music therapy activities.

Skills Needed to be a Music Therapist

When polled, Music Therapists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Types of Music Therapist

  • Creative Arts Music Therapist
  • Music Therapist
  • Community Music Therapist
  • Director of Music Therapy
  • Certified Music Therapist

Job Outlook for Music Therapists

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 19,200 jobs in the United States for Music Therapist. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 6.8% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,300 new jobs for Music Therapist by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 1,200 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Music Therapists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Music Therapist are Alaska, Colorado, and Washington. Watch out if you plan on working in Alabama, Wyoming, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Music Therapists Make A Lot Of Money?

The salary for Music Therapists ranges between about $29,590 and $77,050 a year.

Salary Ranges for Music Therapists

Music Therapists who work in California, District of Columbia, or Nevada, make the highest salaries.

How much do Music Therapists make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $42,860
Arizona $49,440
Arkansas $50,170
California $75,810
Colorado $49,300
Connecticut $59,450
Delaware $46,320
District of Columbia $68,430
Florida $48,290
Georgia $43,950
Hawaii $55,470
Idaho $40,770
Illinois $46,620
Indiana $42,280
Iowa $52,470
Kansas $35,850
Kentucky $45,330
Louisiana $41,180
Maine $49,390
Maryland $48,690
Massachusetts $55,570
Michigan $51,280
Minnesota $54,660
Mississippi $38,470
Missouri $46,000
Montana $44,730
Nebraska $39,420
Nevada $58,480
New Hampshire $46,660
New Jersey $58,220
New Mexico $38,680
New York $55,370
North Carolina $47,600
North Dakota $43,910
Ohio $45,750
Oklahoma $37,760
Oregon $55,410
Pennsylvania $45,900
Rhode Island $49,310
South Carolina $42,240
South Dakota $50,480
Tennessee $41,660
Texas $43,070
Utah $48,230
Vermont $43,120
Virginia $47,590
Washington $59,860
Wisconsin $44,970
Wyoming $50,170

What Tools do Music Therapists Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Music Therapists may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Web browser software
  • Email software
  • Electronic health record EHR software
  • Avid Technology Pro Tools
  • Musical instrument digital interface MIDI software
  • Virtual instrument software

How do I Become a Music Therapist?

Individuals working as a Music Therapist have obtained the following education levels:

Music Therapist Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Music Therapist?

Music Therapist Work Experience

Where Music Therapists Are Employed

Music Therapist Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Music Therapists employed by various industries.

Music Therapist Industries

References:

Image Credit: Barbara E. Carver via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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