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How Much Do Music Therapists Make

By David Krug 3 minute read

A career in clinical practice for music therapists may pay well, despite the profession’s reputation as one of the less profitable ones. In addition, this line of work tends to be more stable financially than the ups and downs of being a professional musician.

Salary Information for Aspiring Music Therapists

Music therapists’ earnings can be expressed in a variety of ways, but the most common way to talk about it is in terms of dollars. Each number has its own unique story to tell. For the 2018 AMTA Member Survey & Workforce Analysis, the average compensation was $48,835, which is on pace with the salary for many other types of counselors and psychotherapists.

Members with a bachelor’s degree had a staggeringly wide range of earnings disclosed by the organization, ranging from $20,000 to $150,000 annually at the low end. Salary averages can be distorted by individuals earning extremely high or extremely low wages when the salary range is so wide. Most music therapists with a bachelor’s degree earn around $50,000, so you may assume this to be the average pay, however the salary mode, or the amount most typically reported, is $40,000 instead.

The median salary for drug addiction and mental health counselors, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, was only $44,630. Music therapists, on the other hand, make more than that.

Factors That Influence Salary in Music Therapy

In the profession of music therapy, where you live might have a significant impact on your income. Those who belong to the American Music Therapy Association in New England earn the most on average, $56,593. Those in the Great Lakes region earned an average pay of $45,577 per year, which is $10,000 less than the national average.

Additionally, the title of your employment plays a role in deciding your annual compensation. Music therapists make up the majority of AMTA members, however there are a lot of experts in this area that go by other names.

The average salary for a given job title varies widely. Other career titles, such as Activity Coordinator or Director and Supervisor and Clinical Therapist, had mean incomes of $48,920 for those with the title of Music Therapist. Creative Arts Therapists, on the other hand, earned an average salary of $33,364. Rehabilitation therapists, activity therapists, and recreation therapists are all lower-paying job titles. Music therapists who are self-employed or work as consultants earn the highest average compensation of $62,667.

Education is a surprise attribute that has little effect on compensation. To begin with, if you want to be a music therapist, you’ll need to attend college. For the Music Therapist – Board Certified (MT-BC) title, you must have a bachelor’s or equivalent music therapy degree as well as adequate clinical experience and pass a certification test administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT).

For music therapists, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement, which is possibly why three-quarters of them indicate that their bachelor’s degree is the most education they have.

There may not be the financial rewards that graduate students expect. All AMTA members with a bachelor’s degree earned the same amount of money on average, but those with a master’s or doctoral degree earned less. The median salary was also within $1,000 of each other.

Master’s and doctoral degree holders in music therapy made $50,000 on average, which is $10,000 higher than bachelor’s degree holders, but salaries did not rise between the two degrees. Pay ranged from $20,000 to $115,000 for those with PhD degrees, the lowest of any educational level. It is possible to make up to $220,000 with a master’s degree, but even those with bachelor’s degrees can earn up to $150,000.

Rather than focusing on clinical practice, doctoral degrees emphasize intellectual and scientific aspirations of expanding research and theory, which may not be financially rewarding. Clinical work is more probable for therapists with a master’s degree.

David Krug

Author