Board certification is voluntary, although it is required in the following states for licensure, state certification, or state registries:
California: 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 is an MT-BC.
Connecticut: As of October 2016, music therapy services can only be provided by those who hold the MT-BC credential, and only an MT-BC can call themselves a music therapist or a Certified Music Therapist.
Georgia: Music therapists are required to be licensed in the state of Georgia. Visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s website for more information and an application. Contact email@example.com to have verification of your MT-BC certification electronically sent to the Georgia Professional Licensing Board.
Illinois: On Friday, May 27, 2022, Governor J. B. Pritzker signed into law SB 2243. This bill creates a music therapy license within the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. It establishes a Music Therapy Advisory Board to assist the Department in matters concerning the license. Application procedures for licensure are currently being developed and will be posted when complete.
Iowa: On May 20, 2021, Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa signed into law HF 285, legislation that establishes title protection for
music therapists. Individuals may not refer to themselves as a music therapist, a board-certified music therapist, or an MT-BC without holding the MT-BC credential.
Maryland: Maryland SB 82 was enacted into law on June 2, 2021. This bill creates a music therapy license, overseen by the newly expanded Board of Audiologists, Hearing-Aid Dispensers, Speech-Language Pathologists, and Music Therapists. Procedures for applying for licensure are available on their website.
New Jersey: The Music Therapist Licensing Act was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy on January 21, 2020, requiring licensure for music therapists to practice in New Jersey. Application procedures for licensure are currently being developed and will be posted when complete.
New York: For Music Therapists to practice Creative Arts Therapy and use the titles Creative Arts Therapist, Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, or any derivative thereof within New York State, they must obtain licensure as a Creative Arts Therapist unless otherwise exempt under the law. Visit their website for an application. To apply for the music therapy board examination for NY State Licensure or to have your examination scores mailed to the NY State Education Department of the Professions, contact CBMT at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 800.765.2268.
Nevada: Music therapists must be licensed according to the Nevada State Health Division, Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance. Obtain an application from their website.
North Dakota: A bill to license music therapists was passed into law on April 26, 2011, under the State Board of Integrative Health Care. Music Therapists are required to be licensed. Obtain an application from their website.
Oklahoma: As of November 2016, music therapy licensure is managed under the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision. An application is available from their website.
Rhode Island: A State License for music therapists was signed into law in 2014. Obtain an application.
Utah: State Certification was signed into law in 2014. Obtain an application.
Virginia: On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam signed HB1562 into law, creating a music therapy license. This license must be obtained to call oneself a music therapist and practice music therapy in Virginia. Application procedures are being developed and will be posted here when available.
Wisconsin: Music Therapists may register with the Wisconsin Department of Regulations and Licensing to be listed on the Wisconsin Music Therapy Registry. This registration is voluntary; however, it may be required by some employers and for some reimbursements. Obtain an application.
State Licensure FAQs
The MT-BC is a national certification. Isn’t that enough? Why might we need a separate state credential?
A national certification is not enough in most states. This is the result of a policy shift over the past 10-15 years as the federal government moved towards deregulation and allocated more regulatory control to state governments.
In addition, many existing state regulations require that education and healthcare providers hold a state license. As a result, many current and potential clients have difficulty accessing music therapy services within educational and healthcare facilities. Communication with most state education and healthcare agencies emphasize that service provision procedures require official state recognition—often in the form of a state license—in order for state citizens to access music therapy services.
What is the difference between a title protection, registration, state certification, and licensure?
Title protection prohibits an individual from saying he or she is providing music therapy services or is a music therapist unless he or she is a board certified music therapist. A registry is a list of professionals who have met predetermined education, clinical training, and certification requirements. It offers the same benefits of title protection plus a mechanism through which consumers can search for a qualified professional. State certification functions like a registry in that it offers a state maintained list of professionals who have met certain education, clinical training, and certification requirements. However, this program is often voluntary and, depending on the state, may or may not offer title protection. A license outlines specific education, clinical training, and continuing education requirements and provides title protection, practice protection (also called scope of practice protection), and public protection.
What fees are associated with state licensure?
Fee structures vary significantly state by state. They can range from $50.00 every two years to $200.00 every year.
Would every MT-BC have to be licensed if a state decides to pursue licensure?
Yes. If a state passes music therapy licensure legislation, then any MT-BC who practices in that state (part-time or full-time) will have to apply for the license in order to legally practice music therapy.
Will there be additional coursework?
We are asking states to pass legislation that recognizes the current MT-BC credentialing process as the measure of competent practice and continuing education requirements. As a result, there are no additional training requirements at this time. Sometimes states require a background check; if so it is often required for all professions registered or licensed in that state. This background check may be required only with the initial application or maybe with every renewal of license. There is usually a fee of $25.00-$50.00 for this background check. Some states may also require a short ethics course, which as of 2010 is also a requirement to renew your MT-BC credential.
Would federal employees be under the same requirements?
No. It is customary for state licensing laws to exempt federal employees from the license requirements as long as they are employed by the federal government.
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