Online Music Therapy Degree Programs

Music therapists combine their passion for music and interest in helping individuals with disabilities, mental illnesses or physical impairments. Learn about the different programs that are available, online study options, prerequisites and common course topics. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What are the Admissions Requirements for an Online Music Therapy Degree Program?

In order to gain admission to an online master's degree program in music therapy, you must already be a certified music therapist. Certification is available through only one organization, the Certification Board for Music Professionals ( The CBMP develops and administers music therapy certification examinations at testing centers around the country, and issues professional certification to those who pass. In order to be eligible to take the exam, you must conform to the certification guidelines set forth by the American Music Therapy Association, also known as the AMTA (

To be eligible for certification, you must have a bachelor's degree in music therapy from an AMTA-accredited program. In order to be granted accreditation status, programs must provide 1,200 hours of clinical music therapy training, part of which has to be an internship ( Not all online master's degree programs specifically state that your bachelor's degree must be in music therapy in order to gain admission. Due to the above-mentioned certification and accreditation requirements, however, you will need a music therapy bachelor's degree nonetheless. These degrees currently are not available online, but most states have several schools offering bachelor's degrees in music therapy, so you have numerous on-campus options from which to choose.

Degrees Available Bachelor's and master's
Admission Requirements Bachelor's degree in music therapy, certification from the CBMP (for master's programs)
Online Options Master's degree programs available online; campus visits may be required for some programs
Common Courses Music therapy theory, multimedia music technology, medical music therapy, music production
Job Outlook (2016-2026)7% growth (for recreational therapists)*
Median Salary (2018)$47,860 (for recreational therapists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do Online Programs Work?

As a student in an online music therapy master's degree program, you can fulfill the bulk of your degree requirements through online teaching and learning platforms. Some programs can be completed entirely online, but others require you to make a few - typically no more than three - campus visits, generally to participate in hands-on music workshops. Otherwise, you'll use the aforementioned course delivery platforms, which allow you to access lectures, readings, assignments and exams for each of your courses more or less at your convenience. You will need to adhere to due dates for assignments and other obligations, but do not have to be online to 'attend' class at any specific time. All you'll need to complete your online courses is an Internet-connected computer and additional software allowing you to create and view documents or media files.

What Will I Learn in an Online Master's Degree Program?

As a student in an online music therapy master's degree program, you'll learn various techniques for using music to treat or ease learning disabilities, mental illnesses or physical injuries. Music therapy degree curricula are also heavily research-based, with numerous required courses teaching you how to research current and potential future therapeutic applications of music. You'll also take courses that will provide you with advanced knowledge of musical styles and genres commonly used in therapy. Last but not least, courses in multimedia technology will teach you how to bring music therapy to additional patients or locations and integrate it with computer education. The following is a sample of courses commonly required in online music therapy master's degree programs:

  • Music therapy theory
  • Multimedia music technology
  • Neurological music therapy
  • Treatment or curriculum planning
  • Quantitative and qualitative music therapy research
  • Foundations of music production
  • Clinical therapeutic techniques
  • Medical music therapy
  • The Romantic Era of music
  • Music therapy for gifted and talented children

Most online music therapy degree programs require approximately 30 credit hours to graduate. The bulk of these are typically fulfilled in the form of core theoretical courses. Upon completion of those courses, you'll generally need to complete a music therapy research thesis, although some schools allow you to substitute a comprehensive examination for the thesis requirement. When you fulfill these requirements, you'll receive either a Master of Science (M.S.) or Master of Music Therapy (M.M.T.) degree, depending on the school.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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