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Online Music Therapy Graduate Degree Programs

An online graduate degree program in music therapy can provide music therapists with the tools they need for career advancement. Read on to learn about programs, courses, career options and how online learning works.

What Kind of Graduate Degree Can I Earn in Music Therapy Online?

Online master's degrees in music therapy are available to qualified music therapists who want to further advance in the field. A master's degree program in music therapy is designed to provide you with a broader understanding of the uses of music in individual and group therapy settings. As a student, you will learn about music history, theories of music therapy, multicultural applications and research methods.

Requirements for online master's degrees in music therapy vary by school. Some programs are available entirely online, while others require you to come to campus for orientation and hands-on learning workshops.

Online Degree Options Some programs are 100% online, which others involve some time on campus for hands-on learning and orientation
Online Study Same coursework completed online as on campus, using a distance-learning platform; flexible study; software such as the Music Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) may be required
Common Courses Scientific foundations in music therapy, research methods, data analysis and design, music and technology, patient assessment
Thesis and non-thesis programs available
Career Options Range of opportunities available, including work in psychiatric hospitals, nursing homes, daycare programs and hospice facilities
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 Degree Programs Work?

As a distance student, you will be completing the same coursework as your on-campus classmates. Program delivery depends on the program. Some are offered asynchronously, allowing you to complete work at your own pace; others are synchronous and require you to watch live videos of lectures. Both of these programs provide you with access to student resources and allow you to submit all of your coursework through the school's website. You might use software applications such as the Music Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI), along with discussion boards to network with your classmates and instructors.

What Courses Are Required?

Course requirements vary by program. Some offer a thesis or non-thesis option, while others require the completion of a final project. Courses in a master's degree program cover core music theory topics in addition to subjects that relate to human behavior and hearing processes, such as biology, sociology and physiology. The following are some of the typical course topics that can be found in this type of degree program:

  • Scientific foundations in music therapy
  • Research methods
  • Data analysis and design
  • Music and technology
  • Music psychotherapy
  • Patient assessment
  • Theories of counseling

What Can I Do with This Degree?

As a graduate with a master's degree in music therapy, you'll find career opportunities in a number of settings, from psychiatric hospitals and nursing homes to daycare programs and hospice facilities. The American Association of Music Therapists (AMTA) expected to see job growth as more people search for alternative therapies, while the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expected an increase in job openings for recreational therapists at a rate of 7% between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov). As of 2018, median salaries for music therapists ranged from $29,000 - $60,000, according to PayScale.com.