What is the Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC) credential?
The MT-BC credential is a medal of merit – a symbol of board certification. As such, it identifies music therapists who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to practice at the highest level of the profession. The purpose of board certification in music therapy is to provide an objective national standard that can be used as a measure of professionalism.
Is board certification required for all practicing music therapists?
Board certification is voluntary, although it is required in some states for licensure, state certification or state registries. Music therapists who have elected to become certified demonstrate a special commitment to their profession and to the provision of quality services.
Why should I become board certified?
The MT-BC credential demonstrates highly specialized clinical expertise and advanced competence to address the many different needs of your patients through music therapy. It is a legally defensible program that assures you the right to work within your scope of practice. It also protects the public by allowing them to identify practitioners who have met an objective national standard, ensuring they have the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to practice music therapy at the highest level.
What are the required qualifications?
To earn and maintain the MT-BC credential, you must meet these requirements:
- Successful completion of an academic and clinical training program for music therapy (programs must be approved by the American Music Therapy Association)
- Successful completion of a written CBMT examination demonstrating current skills in the profession of music therapy
- Recertification every five years through the successful completion and documentation of 100 recertification credits, and completion of the CBMT Application for Recertification
- Payment of an annual certification maintenance fee
In addition, any person representing himself or herself as a Board Certified Music Therapist shall practice within the CBMT Board Certification Domains and adhere to the CBMT Code of Professional Practice. It is unlawful for any person not meeting the criteria set forth by the Certification Board for Music Therapists to use or display in connection with his or her name or place of business the words Board Certified Music Therapist or the letters MT-BC or similar designations; or to represent in any way, orally, in writing, in print, electronic communication, or by sign, directly or by implication that he or she is a Board Certified Music Therapist qualified to provide music therapy services.
How do I earn the MT-BC credential?
To achieve initial board certification as a music therapist, you must pass the written MT-BC examination, which is administered by CBMT and available at hundreds of PSI testing sites across the U.S. and around the world.
Once board certified, a music therapist must recertify every five years. The purpose of recertification is to encourage the MT-BC to maintain skills and to continue professional growth and development.
Where, when and how do I take the MT-BC examination?
Our testing partner, PSI Services, provides secure, reliable and highly credible testing services that meet the highest professional and ethical standards. The exam is administered by computer at more than 200 PSI testing centers geographically distributed throughout the United States and abroad.
Exams are administered by appointment only, Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. local time, with the exception of some holidays. There are no application deadlines, and candidates who meet the eligibility requirements for an exam may apply at any time.
Within the United States, you may schedule your examination online. Scheduling examinations for test centers outside the United States may be available online or by phone. Refer to your examination’s Candidate Handbook or your eligibility confirmation email for instructions on international scheduling. Please do not contact any test centers directly. If you have questions about scheduling, contact Candidate Services at 1.888.519.9901.
If you are uncertain whether a test center may be open because of inclement weather, contact PSI’s Call Center at 913.895.4600. Additionally, PSI posts Alerts under the Candidates tab on their website.
How much does the MT-BC examination cost?
Examination fees for first-time exam takers is $325 (a $275 examination fee and $50 processing fee). Those retaking the exam will need to pay only the examination fee of $275.
Is a Self-Assessment Exam available?
Yes. CBMT has two Self-Assessment Exams (SAE) to assist candidates in preparing for the CBMT Exam: the original SAE, and the “Self-Assessment Examination – Form B,” which contains new questions relating to Board Certification Domains and can be used in addition to the original SAE for continued review.
Both SAEs are updated based on the outcomes from each new Practice Analysis Study we conduct every five years. SAEs can be ordered on the CBMT website for $75 each.
Tell me more about CBMT Board Certification Domains, and how they are informed by the Practice Analysis Study.
CBMT Board Certification Domains represent the perimeters of practice for Board Certified Music Therapists. The development of the Board Certification Domains is particularly meaningful for the field of music therapy in that this discipline continues to grow and expand in its applications. The four overarching performance domains encompass the practice of music therapy and what an MT-BC may do in practice (thus, the Board Certification Domains may be used for defending one’s right to work in any employment setting).
To regularly inform and update the CBMT Board Certification Domains, we conduct a Practice Analysis Study every five years in cooperation with a team of experts in the field, surveyed certificants and our testing partner, PSI Services, LLC. The Practice Analysis process involves:
- Review of the current identified tasks
- Development of an extensive survey, completed by MT-BC holders, to identify the importance of each task related to safe, competent practice
- Review and statistical analysis of the data
- Consequent updating of identified job tasks
This arduous process results in a detailed job description, which is then used to measure competency through examination. This assures the public that every five years, in a rapidly growing field such as music therapy, the job description to ensure safe, competent provision of services has been refined through a psychometrically sound procedure.
How can I contact CBMT with additional questions?