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.
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!
|Florida State University – Tallahassee, FL
|SUNY New Paltz
|New Paltz, New York
|Texas Woman’s University
|Slippery Rock University
|Fredonia, New York
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 that 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.
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.
Texas Woman’s University
Texas Woman’s University offers a comprehensive Bachelor and Master’s in Music Therapy (MMT). This historic program is situated in a proud minority-majority campus that is friendly to parents and veterans. The MMT allows for areas of concentration in Healthcare Administration; Women in Politics and Songwriting/Technology. A commitment to equity, advocacy, and musicianship unite these programs.
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.
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.
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.
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. The curriculum includes 4 semesters of improvisation ensemble and 6 semesters of hands-on clinical fieldwork that is supervised weekly by a board-certified music therapist. Sessions take place in the on-campus music therapy center and throughout the surrounding community.
EMU spends $53 million a year on financial aid and offers an education first scholarship (EFOS) for academically qualified students with need, which pays the difference between tuition and what Pell Grants supply.
EMU Music Therapy Program Stats:
- Graduation rate: 91.36%
- Attrition: 5%
- CBMT exam pass rate: 100%
- Employment rate: 96% within 6 weeks of graduation.
Visit www.emumusictherapy.org for more information including admissions or visit their Facebook page: Eastern Michigan University Music Therapy Program.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Appalachian State University
The Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music therapy, and a post-bachelor equivalency program. All students are eligible for international programs, and their course in World Music introduces students to musics from around the world.
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.
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.
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.
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 University is an independent, private 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.
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.
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.
Still looking for the right program for you? Our degree finder tool may be able to help!
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 based on its in-state tuition and graduation rates, with a total of 100 points possible. In the case of a tie, schools with lower in-state tuition rates were ranked first.
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.