Online music therapy master's degree programs often require applicants to already have an undergraduate degree in music therapy and be currently practicing music therapists, while some may also require applicants to be board certified. Online students also need access to digital music technology software.
Music therapy master's degree programs can be found in a fully online format, but depending on the school or program may require an internship or practicum. Some also require students to attend one to two on-campus residencies per year. In addition to coursework, programs may include a thesis requirement which involves research and clinical practice.
Master's Degree in Music Therapy
Board-certified music therapists interested in strengthening their credentials may enroll in an online music therapy master's program. Students learn to create and lead treatment sessions designed to improve the overall well-being of individuals with neurological, physical or emotional disorders and disabilities.
Most programs require students to obtain a bachelor's degree in music therapy before applying. Other prerequisites may include successful completion of the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) and an in-person or telephone interview with program supervisors.
Program Information and Requirements
Because the study of music therapy involves hands-on training, master's programs are often delivered in a hybrid format. In addition to completing online coursework, students are asked to attend one or two campus-based learning sessions per year. Most programs culminate in a clinical internship or practicum.
Streaming audio and video applications are used for course delivery, requiring a computer with Internet access. Additionally, some master's music therapy programs require students to have access to digital music technology software and other equipment used for music production. Students may earn their master's degree in 2-3 years.
List of Common Master's-Level Music Therapy Courses
General education classes are not required for master's students. Coursework deals specifically with professional issues in music therapy practice.
Class lessons revolve around the application of music technology in therapy sessions. Students learn how to use music notation and production software. Emphasis is placed on incorporating music technology into patient treatment plans.
Research Techniques for Music Therapists
Quantitative and qualitative methods in research are discussed. Students examine how music therapy professionals use statistical prediction and data analysis in everyday practice.
Communication in Music Therapy
Gender, race, and age-related issues can often impede interaction between patients and music therapists. In this course, students explore various techniques for bridging personal and cultural divisions within the patient-therapist relationship.
Career Information for Graduates
PayScale.com reports that in October 2016, music therapists earned between $29,752 and $70,615 annually. The field of recreational therapy, which includes music therapists, is projected to experience a 12% employment growth between 2014 and 2024, as noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many recreational therapists were employed by hospitals, nursing care facilities and government as of 2014 (www.bls.gov).
In online master's degree programs, experienced or aspiring music therapists can improve their skills in effectively applying music in clinical settings. To do so, they may take online courses, conduct independent thesis research and fulfill an internship requirement.