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What Does it Take to Be a Music Therapist?

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

List of Music Therapist Job Duties

  • Establish client goals or objectives for music therapy treatment, considering client needs, capabilities, interests, overall therapeutic program, coordination of treatment, or length of treatment.
  • Customize treatment programs for specific areas of music therapy, such as intellectual or developmental disabilities, educational settings, geriatrics, medical settings, mental health, physical disabilities, or wellness.
  • 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.
  • Apply selected research findings to practice.
  • Integrate behavioral, developmental, improvisational, medical, or neurological approaches into music therapy treatments.
  • Assess the risks and benefits of treatment termination for clients.

Qualities of a Music Therapist

Music Therapists state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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.

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

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

  • Music Therapist, Public School System
  • Creative Arts Music Therapist
  • Music Therapist, Primary Service Coordinator
  • Music Therapy Specialist
  • Community Music Therapist

Music Therapist Employment Estimates

In the United States, there were 19,200 jobs for Recreational Therapists in 2016.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 6.5% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,300 new jobs for Music Therapists 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 Recreational Therapists are New York, Texas, and California.

Watch out if you plan on working in Alabama, Wyoming, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Music Therapist Salary

The salary for Recreational Therapists ranges between about $29,590 and $77,050 a year. The median salary for this occupation is $47,860.

Salary Ranges for Music Therapists

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for jobs of this type in different U.S. states.

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

California

$75,810

District of Columbia

$68,430

Washington

$59,860

Connecticut

$59,450

Nevada

$58,480

New Jersey

$58,220

Massachusetts

$55,570

Hawaii

$55,470

Oregon

$55,410

New York

$55,370

Minnesota

$54,660

Iowa

$52,470

Michigan

$51,280

South Dakota

$50,480

Wyoming

$50,170

Arkansas

$50,170

Arizona

$49,440

Maine

$49,390

Rhode Island

$49,310

Colorado

$49,300

Maryland

$48,690

Florida

$48,290

Utah

$48,230

North Carolina

$47,600

Virginia

$47,590

New Hampshire

$46,660

Illinois

$46,620

Delaware

$46,320

Missouri

$46,000

Pennsylvania

$45,900

Ohio

$45,750

Kentucky

$45,330

Wisconsin

$44,970

Montana

$44,730

Georgia

$43,950

North Dakota

$43,910

Vermont

$43,120

Texas

$43,070

Alabama

$42,860

Indiana

$42,280

South Carolina

$42,240

Tennessee

$41,660

Louisiana

$41,180

Idaho

$40,770

Nebraska

$39,420

New Mexico

$38,680

Mississippi

$38,470

Oklahoma

$37,760

Kansas

$35,850

What Tools & Technology 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

Where do Music Therapists Work?

Music Therapist Sectors

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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