Doctoral degree programs that are offered 100% online are extremely convenient to the working adult, however currently, if you are looking for one pertaining to the subject of music therapy, it may be hard, if not impossible to locate. Primarily, on-campus attendance will be required, however, some programs do offer hybrid options, which allows the student to attend most of the classes online, although some on-campus attendance is needed to fulfill clinical, dissertation, performance evaluation and residency requirements for graduation. But, don’t let that discourage you from pursuing your dreams, for music therapy is an interesting art form with rewarding outcomes for you and your clients.

For most, a special song will trigger memories of a happier time. Today, maybe you still enjoy dancing to the songs you grew up listening to because they bring back joyous memories of your youth. As you enjoy songs that bring back that special time, you are also enjoying the benefits of music therapy. However, much more seriously, music therapy began primarily after World War I and World War II. Veterans often responded positively to musicians that would come to hospitals to perform for them. In 1944, as the demand for qualified musicians and therapists had grown, Michigan State University began offering the first music therapy degree program in the world.

What does a Music Therapist do?

As a music therapist, you will incorporate music into a client’s day-to-day activities to help them cope with their special needs. Through music, you can address one’s emotional, physical, cognitive and social well-being by using a variety of exercises such as, playing an instrument, singing, writing songs, or, simply by listening to a calming melody. Often, behavioral issues, depression and anxiety are addressed, as well. Clients, such as Alzheimer’s Disease patients, can benefit greatly from music therapy to help bring back pleasant memories of yesteryear.

Will earning my Doctorate degree in Music Therapy help my career?

Without a doubt, your time is valuable and doctoral programs can be expensive, will earning this prestigious degree help your career? Chances are, you have enjoyed your music therapy career thus far, but, are you looking for more? A change? Or, a different approach? Obtaining your doctoral degree in music therapy will provide you with the training required to conduct your own research, open your own clinical practice or gain that promotion as a supervisor you deserve. Perhaps a position in administration or as a professor teaching music therapy at the university level is your desire.  A doctoral degree can help you realize your dream!

How do I earn a Doctoral degree in Music Therapy?

Prerequisites for entering a music therapy doctoral degree program can be rigorous. You must have a master’s degree and at least five years of work experience in the field. You will also need to pass the interview and audition process with flying colors, displaying your exceptional guitar and/or piano skills. You will also be expected to provide glowing letters of recommendation, examples of your work, published or unpublished, as well as, an essay and exemplary scores on your entrance exam.

Your doctoral degree program in music therapy will typically take you up to seven years to complete, including the dissertation process. Other coursework will involve advanced studies in theory development, music psychotherapy, music medicine, music therapy education, clinical supervision in music therapy, as well as, topics such as how to use music therapy for cancer patients, the terminally ill, hospitalized children or for pain management.

What kind of career and salary can I expect with my Doctor of Music Therapy degree?

Music therapy opportunities can be found in a variety of environments, such as, in rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, substance abuse clinics, hospice programs, daycares and schools, correctional facilities, in addition to, developmentally disabled clinics. Hospital departments of all types use music therapists, such as in their psychiatric, brain injury and physical disability departments, acute and chronic pain clinics and even in the delivery room as mothers are giving birth.

The U. S. Department of Labor states that the expected growth for positions in this field will grow by 17% till 2020, with an annual median salary of $47,680, comparable to that of a recreational therapist. However, with a PhD, you can expect to earn a salary of $76,700 or more per year.

What schools offer Doctor of Music Therapy degrees?

At present, Temple University offers their students the opportunity to earn a PhD in Music Therapy through the hybrid format, while NYU Steinhardt offers a PhD in Music Education with a focus in Music Therapy through their on-campus program. In addition, the University of Kansas – School of Music also has an on-campus option offering a Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education degree with an emphasis in Music Therapy.

Whether it is associated with a pleasant thought or just used to calm the everyday stresses of our busy lives, music speaks to everyone. Don’t hesitate to share your musical talents with those in need. All styles of music can be used to change life for the better!