As a music therapist, you can become board certified by passing the CBMT Board Certification examination, which earns you the Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC) credential. The exam is multiple-choice and consists of 150 questions. There are two forms of the examination, and each is reviewed and updated annually to reflect new content.
To provide comprehensive information and instruction as you prepare for the exam, we offer a Candidate Handbook with extensive guidance on achieving and maintaining your board certification. Below is a quick video of how to apply and prepare for the exam as well as the Candidate Handbook.
To be eligible to sit for the music therapy board certification examination, you must first complete the academic and clinical training requirements for music therapy or their equivalent, as established by the American Music Therapy Association. Once this requirement is met and verified, you will be permitted to schedule an examination administration date.
Examination fees for first-time exam takers are $325 (a $275 examination fee and $50 processing fee). Those retaking the exam will need to pay only the examination fee of $275.
You may apply for the CBMT Board Certification examination before completing your internship, but you will not be eligible to schedule an exam until after you have successfully completed the internship and all Music Therapy degree requirements. To apply for the examination, eligible candidates must first create an online account at the CBMT Login. After creating an online account, complete the Examination Application.
- Application: Complete the Examination Application in your online account at the CBMT Login
- Required Documentation: See page 4 of the Exam Candidate Handbook
- Exam Fee: you will be prompted to pay the exam fee after all required documentation is received
If ordering electronic official transcripts, please have them sent directly to Karen Howat at KH@cbmt.org. Scanned and emailed copies of transcripts are not accepted.
You will receive notification of your exam application submission and can track documentation needed to complete your application as items are received. Your testing record will be setup after all documentation is received and the exam fee has been paid. You will receive an Exam Scheduling ID# and confirmation notice providing instructions for you to schedule your examination with PSI, the testing company. If you do not schedule your exam appointment within the 90-day period, you will forfeit your application and all fees paid to take the exam.
CBMT has a process for individuals from outside the USA and Canada with a degree in music therapy to apply for the board certification exam. Please the page below for more information.
Preparing for the Exam
The CBMT Self-Assessment Examination (SAE) is a web-based test and diagnostic tool to assist with identifying your areas of strength and weakness in music therapy knowledge. The SAEs are a completely optional tool for exam preparation and just one of the many means available for preparing for the certification examination. It features questions from all areas of the CBMT Board Certification Domains, written in the style and format of typical questions on the CBMT Exam. Questions are written in the style and format of questions from the certification exam, but there are no questions from the actual certification exam included in the Self-Assessment Exams. Two SAEs are available, and both 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. Each SAE is currently available at a reduced rate of $49.95, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. After purchasing the SAE online, you will receive an email with directions for accessing the exam. The SAE, all reports, questions, explanations and scoring reports will be available to you online for 90 days; they also will be emailed to you for printing and to use indefinitely.
Upon completion of the SAE, you will have the opportunity to print a complete scoring report, as well as the answer key with explanations for correct and incorrect responses.
Additional Resources for Studying
The CBMT Self-Assessment Examination Bibliography contains recommended readings that might be useful when preparing for the exam.
Please note: The Music Therapy Exam Secrets Study Guide and The Music Therapy Exam Secrets Flashcard Study System published by Mometrix Media LLC are not affiliated with the CBMT or the board certification exam. The CBMT does not sponsor or endorse the Music Therapy Exam Secrets publications.
Taking the Exam
The CBMT Board Certification Examination 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.
Information about reporting to the assessment center and the identification required for admittance is outlined on page 10 of the Exam Candidate Handbook. Page 11 of the handbook provides details about what to expect during and immediately after the examination, and how the pass/fail exam is scored.
Passing the Exam
When you pass the CBMT Examination, you may use the credential “Music Therapist-Board Certified” (MT-BC). The newly credentialed music therapist receives a certificate from CBMT that indicates valid board certification for five years. The MT-BC credential subjects the certificant to the rules and regulations set forth by the CBMT Board of Directors in accordance with NCCA Program Accreditation Standards. CBMT reserves the right to revoke the certification of any MT-BC found in violation of the standards outlined in the CBMT Code of Professional Practice or found practicing outside the parameters defined by the CBMT Board Certification Domains. Following initial certification, the MT-BC will begin a five-year cycle in which he or she must demonstrate continuing competence by fulfilling recertification requirements as designated by CBMT.
Exam Score Reports
Your score report will indicate a “pass” or “fail.” The current passing point is 95 correct questions out of 130 scored questions. Additional detail is provided in the form of raw scores by the major content category. A raw score is the number of questions you answered correctly. Your pass/fail status is determined by your raw score. Even though the examination consists of 150 questions, your score is based on 130 questions. Twenty questions are “pretest” questions.
The content area scores on your score report are not used to determine pass-fail decision outcomes. They are only provided to offer a general indication regarding your performance in each content area. The examination is designed to provide a consistent and precise determination of your overall performance and is not designed to provide complete information regarding your performance in each content area. You should remember that content areas with a larger number of items (questions) will affect the overall score more than areas with fewer items. The precision and consistency
of scores diminishes with fewer items; therefore, the sub-scores should be interpreted with caution, especially those that correspond to content areas with very few items.
Examination Appeals Policy
CBMT provides every candidate the opportunity to question the test’s fairness, its questions, and its administration within 30 days of the exam date.
Reapplying to Take the Exam
To reapply, submit an application and payment through your online account at the CBMT Login. The reapplication fee is $275.00. Payment will be a part of the application process. There is a waiting period of 30 days between exam attempts. There are no exceptions to this policy.
Although it is required in some states for licensure, state certification, or state registries, board certification is voluntary.
Elevate your competence and confidence
Demonstrate advanced clinical competence with board certification.
Earning the MT-BC credential provides esteemed recognition and continuous professional growth.
You have questions, we have answers
The more you know, the better prepared you will be.
Find answers to many commonly asked questions from music therapy students and MT-BC candidates.
Benefits of Certification
Why board certification matters
Signify higher learning and a deeper commitment to excellence.
Board certification exists to support and exemplify the impact of your knowledge and skills.