Demystifying the CBMT Board Certification Examination

The Importance of Examining Ourselves

Socrates is famous for having said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” On the other hand, Robert Fulghum – the author of “All I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” – jokingly commented that “the examined life is no picnic.”

While it’s true that self-examination is never an easy process, we all agree excellence cannot be achieved without it.

At CBMT, our mission is rooted in self-examination. Awarding board certification through our credentialing process – based on proven, up-to-date knowledge and competence in clinical practice – is our very reason for existing.

Understanding the MT-BC Credentialling Process

CBMT is the only certifying board for music therapy in the United States. Since 1986, our Music Therapist-Board Certification (MT-BC) program has been formally accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Board certification in music therapy provides an objective standard through comprehensive testing that ensures all certificants are prepared to practice music therapy with competence. We are committed to unconditional compliance with stringent testing and measurement standards.

CBMT looks to The Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) for best practices in credentialing and latest trends in certification, test development and delivery. We work with PSI, a testing vendor, to ensure a quality program for NCCA Accreditation, as well as legal defensibility, exam development, psychometric services and exam administration.

It is CBMT that forms Board Certification Domains (BCDs), which are the areas that reflect the current job tasks of a music therapist – and that define what makes up a current, competent music therapy practice. These BCDs are data-driven from the Practice Analysis Survey CBMT conducts every five years. A 10-member committee of diverse Subject Matter Experts appointed by CBMT makes up the Practice Analysis Committee, working together with PSI to create the survey questions sent to all currently credentialled MT-BCs.

The survey data is used to regularly update and revise the BCDs that shape our exam content. CBMT’s Exam Committee is responsible for writing the exam content. New exam questions are presented as pretest exam questions for a full year and the psychometric data reflecting validity and reliability for each of the questions are reviewed by the committee. Based on the psychometric outcome, they either become official scored exam items, get revised and pretested again for another year, or don’t make the cut.

It is a meticulous, rigorous process – and like Robert Fulghum said, it’s no picnic – but all certified practitioners of music therapy must fulfill the required training and education and successfully complete the CBMT Board Certification exam before being certified and receiving their MT-BC credential.

On a Mission

CBMT is on a mission to increase understanding of our examination and credentialling process. Learn more about the CBMT Board Certification exam in the examination section of our website.

Board certification begins with the academic and clinical training requirements as established by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Canadian Association for Music Therapy (CAMT) in the United States and Canada respectively, and internationally, when comparable training is documented. When preparing for the exam, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CBMT Candidate Handbook and BCDs, use the Self-Assessment Exams as practice, and access the Self-Assessment Bibliography as a helpful resource. The exam itself consists of 150 multiple-choice questions, 130 of which are scored, and 20 questions are being pre-tested to obtain validity and reliability statistics before being approved for use on the scored portion of the exam. Once you are ready to take it, simply find a PSI testing center and make an appointment to lock in your exam date. Visit our website to learn more about state licensure and the steps you can take after completing the exam.

For a helpful recap on the CBMT Board Certification exam, check out the video below created to demystify the examination process. We wish you the best of luck in securing your credential and joining our incredible community of MT-BCs everywhere!