State Recognition for California

Recognized? Yes – Title Protection

Recognition Status: CA Code of Regulations currently refer to music therapy in Titles 5, 9, 17 and 22. Title 5 – Special Education was updated in 2014, requiring all music therapists working in the public schools as members of IEP teams to hold the MT-BC credential. Beginning July 31, 2019, an individual who provides music therapy shall not refer to oneself using the title of “Board Certified Music Therapist” unless the individual holds the MT-BC credential.

Active Task Force? Yes

Year Started: 2006

Task Force Status: The CA task force was successful in having the MT-BC included in the provider requirements for services in the CA Code of Regulations, Title 5 (Special Education) in 2014 after nearly five years of advocacy efforts. All music therapists in CA serving students as part of a student’s IEP can once again apply to be a “Non Public Agency” with the Department of Education. In 2015, Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) authored a bill AB1279. This billed clarified existing law to define a qualified music therapist. It also outlined the education and clinical training requirements needed in order to become a qualified music therapist in CA. Unfortunately the bill was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown in Oct of 2015, despite unanimous “aye” votes in all legislative committees, the State Assembly and Senate.

In 2019, Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasedena) again brought a bill forward to support title protection for MT-BCs. It passed unanimously in the Assembly, Senate, and was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in July, 2019.

The task force continues to advocate for updated language in Titles 9, 17, & 22. Additionally, they continue to mobilize the grassroots advocacy community and empowering CA music therapists to continue to educate key stakeholders and policy makers on the importance of the MT-BC credential. The key focus of the task force is identify legislative regulations that impede access to services for our clients.

Task Force Contact Name: Stephan Betz

Task Force Contact Email:

Task Force Members: Roberta Adler, Jason Connors, Leah Cruz, Casie Esposito, Rachel Gant, Desiree Gorzela, Rachel McCauley, Summar Mencher, Ronnie Paine, Ranjani, Lori Sunshine, Angela Vrbanac-Libby, Shu Sophie Wang, Joanna Zaccaria

Task Force Facebook:

State Association: California Association for Music Therapy

State Association Facebook: Music Therapists of California

Regional Association:

State Legislative Activity:

Below you will find a link to an online report with information about state-level bills that include the keyword “music therapy.” There may or may not be a bill for your state. Some bills may have a direct impact on the profession (e.g. music therapy licensure legislation) while others may not (e.g. music therapy is included in a pre-existing list of healthcare providers). 

Click here to read the report

Information is provided by Fiscal Note, a subscription service that allows CBMT to follow state and federal legislative and regulatory developments. This resource is provided for informational purposes to help you stay informed on legislative and policy issues impacting music therapy practice. Please contact your task force chair with questions and before taking any action.