Combining the creative field of music with the clinical field of recreational therapy, musical therapists help patients improve their physical and mental health. Clinicians work with small children, those with disabilities, and the elderly. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field will grow 8% in the next 10 years, with an average salary of $48,220.
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What Does A Music Therapist Do?
Music therapists support client needs through singing, playing instruments, and dance. Music is a tool used to improve patients’ cognitive coordination and soothe stress, depression or anxiety. Some clinicians use music therapy to improve a client’s social skills and build their confidence. While most music therapists work in a hospital setting, many find employment by schools, nursing care facilities, or by social services.
What Kind Of Degree Does A Music Therapist Need?
Most music therapists need at least a bachelor’s degree in music therapy or related fields. Those with an existing degree in music may achieve professional certification in music therapy through schools that offer a bachelor’s degree in the field. Most employers prefer certified therapists and accredited degree programs teach the knowledge and skills needed in order to pass certification exams.
Interested in other ways to get your degree in music therapy? Use our site tools to search for the right program!
|1||Florida State University – Tallahassee, FL||Tallahassee, Florida|
|2||California State University Northridge||Los Angeles, California|
|3||Slippery Rock University||Slippery Rock,Pennsylvania|
|4||Utah State University||Logan, Utah|
|5||Sam Houston State University||Huntsville, Texas|
What Is The Best Music Therapy Degree Program?
We gathered data for the best colleges for music therapy programs from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and ranked them all on a 100 point scale. Our top favorites included schools which are affordable, accessible, and exhibit a good rate of graduation success. Check out our rankings below!
Florida State University – Tallahassee, FL
Florida State University offers a robust curriculum for music therapy with bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD programs. Students can specialize in college teaching, music education, and special music education. They also offer a Music Therapy Equivalency Program for those already holding a bachelor’s degree in music.
California State University Northridge
Cal State Northridge offers a Bachelor of Arts in Music with an option in Music Therapy and a post-Bachelor’s Certificate program. Interested undergrads must pass an audition, maintain regular private lessons provided by the school, and show progress before a jury every semester. The capstone of the program is a supervised clinical internship.
Slippery Rock University
Slippery Rock University’s bachelor’s program in music therapy features a six-stage clinical participation plan. Students will experience over 200 hours of real therapy interactions with patients of all ages in the school’s on-site music therapy clinic. SRU also offers a master’s degree in music therapy.
Utah State University
Offering a Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy, Utah State University is the only music therapy program in the state. The school’s website boasts a 100% board certification pass rate. Applicants must show proficiency with at least one musical instrument. Besides an internship, students may gain experience through many affiliated theatre programs and labs.
Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University’s music department offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs with specializations in music therapy. Applicants must pass an interview and audition. The bachelor’s program is a 4 ½ year plan in which students gain experience through SHSU’s on-campus Music Therapy Clinic. The capstone internship lasts about half a year.
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Texas Woman’s University
Besides bachelor’s and master’s programs, Texas Woman’s University offers a dual master’s degree in Music Therapy/Counseling and Development. Students in these programs often work with local schools, kid’s theaters, and community centers during their studies. Auditioning students must show proficiency with at least one musical instrument.
Cleveland State University
Cleveland State University’s Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy program requires prospective students to audition with guitar or piano while singing. Other qualifications comprise a 50-word essay, at least 1 music therapy observation, and an incoming GPA of 2.8 or higher. They give preference to candidates with a GPA over 3.0, 250-word essay, and 2 or more observations.
SUNY New Paltz
General music undergrad students at SUNY New Paltz may choose a music therapy elective bundle to prepare for the school’s Master of Science in Music Therapy. The master’s program is 48 credits long, with a minimum 1,200 supervised hours of clinical training. The audition process includes passing grades on guitar and piano accompaniment, vocal performance, and sight reading.
Arizona State University Tempe
ASU Tempe offers music therapy degrees at the bachelor and master level. Admissions are highly selective based on a student’s audition. The audition requires proficiency with an instrument and vocal performance. Students will have to complete a music theory diagnostic exam before enrolling in courses.
SUNY Fredonia offers BS and MS degrees in music therapy. Undergrads can seamlessly transition from the BS to MS program in as little as 5 ½ years. Students who already hold a music therapy undergrad degree and are board certified may earn a master’s degree in 18 months.
Ohio University offers bachelor and master degrees in music therapy. The undergrad program features 6 semesters of clinical experiences with a 6 month internship capstone. Applicants must perform an audition with a primary instrument of choice. Graduate applicants must also submit a written essay.
Montclair State University
Students in the Bachelor of Arts in Music Therapy program at Montclair State University can specialize their degree to fit their primary instrument. Primary specializations include guitar, keyboard, voice, and an encompassing string/brass/woodwind/percussion. There is also a music therapy concentration for the Master of Arts in Music degree.
Appalachian State University
The Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University offers bachelor and master’s degrees in music therapy, and a post-bachelor equivalency program. The bachelor’s program is capped by a 1,020 hour internship. They also require students to take a world music course that opens eligibility for participation in international programs.
Georgia College & State University
Music therapy degree programs at Georgia College & State University include Bachelor of Music Therapy, Master of Music Therapy, and a Music Therapy Equivalency program. The audition process calls for two contrasting solo compositions. The nature of these compositions depends on the primary instrument chosen by the student.
Purdue University Fort Wayne
Purdue University at Fort Wayne has a Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy program. Students may complete auditions for the degree on certain primary instruments: piano, organ, strings, guitar, harp, brass, woodwinds, percussion, or voice. They expect students to maintain a 2.5 GPA in all music courses.
Converse College is a private women’s university that offers a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy program. There is also an equivalency certificate for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree in music. Potential students are expected to perform a memorized song while accompanying themselves on piano or guitar as part of the audition.
William Carey University
A private Baptist-affiliated university, William Carey has a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy program. Depending on the student’s instrument of choice, auditions may include contrasting selections of music, hymns, and sight reading. They also require music majors to take a music theory placement test.
Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University offers a Bachelor of Music Therapy degree and a post-bachelor certificate for qualified music degree holders. Prospective students must complete an audition and submit a 3 page double-spaced essay on their aspirations for obtaining a degree in the field. Students are expected to obtain a minimum concert and recital attendance requirement prior to graduation.
Alverno College is a Roman Catholic, mostly female, college with bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in music therapy. Students gain clinical experience through the school’s on-campus Music Therapy Clinic prior to their 6-month internship. Alverno graduates who receive certification usually find employment within 3 months after graduation.
Washington Adventist University
Washington Adventist University, a Seventh-day Adventist university, offers a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy degree and a Music Therapy Equivalency program. Audition requirements vary by six different performing areas: keyboard, strings, winds and brass, percussion, voice, and classical guitar and harp. Students are regularly assessed by a jury panel 6 times a year.
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We compiled a list of schools using data from the NCES website. The main search criteria were tuition costs. We then obtained more accurate tuition values from each school’s website. We obtained all other data points from NCES.
We ranked each school across 4 categories: tuition, total enrollment, admission rate, and graduation rate. Tuition (both in and out of state) made up 40% of the ranking. The enrollment, admission, and graduation made up 20% each. The highest amount of awarded points possible was 100. We sorted by lowest tuition and highest enrollment, admission, and graduation rate and assigned points accordingly to arrive at a total for ranking.
If you are an employee with a school listed here and notice an error in our data, please reach out to us. We will make corrections as soon as possible.