The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Plan, organize, direct, or assess clinical and evidenced-based music therapy interventions to positively influence individuals’ physical, psychological, cognitive, or behavioral status.
Sample of reported job titles:
Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC), LCAT (Licensed Creative Arts Therapist), Music Therapist, Neurologic Music Therapist, Public School System Music Therapist, Therapist
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Design or provide music therapy experiences to address client needs, such as using music for self-care, adjusting to life changes, improving cognitive functioning, raising self-esteem, communicating, or controlling impulses.
- Design music therapy experiences, using various musical elements to meet client’s goals or objectives.
- Sing or play musical instruments, such as keyboard, guitar, or percussion instruments.
- Communicate with clients to build rapport, acknowledge their progress, or reflect upon their reactions to musical experiences.
- Customize treatment programs for specific areas of music therapy, such as intellectual or developmental disabilities, educational settings, geriatrics, medical settings, mental health, physical disabilities, or wellness.
- Establish client goals or objectives for music therapy treatment, considering client needs, capabilities, interests, overall therapeutic program, coordination of treatment, or length of treatment.
- Document evaluations, treatment plans, case summaries, or progress or other reports related to individual clients or client groups.
- Assess client functioning levels, strengths, and areas of need in terms of perceptual, sensory, affective, communicative, musical, physical, cognitive, social, spiritual, or other abilities.
- Observe and document client reactions, progress, or other outcomes related to music therapy.
- Improvise instrumentally, vocally, or physically to meet client’s therapeutic needs.
- Gather diagnostic data from sources such as case documentation, observations of clients, or interviews with clients or family members.
- Plan or structure music therapy sessions to achieve appropriate transitions, pacing, sequencing, energy level, or intensity in accordance with treatment plans.
- Engage clients in music experiences to identify client responses to different styles of music, types of musical experiences, such as improvising or listening, or elements of music, such as tempo or harmony.
- Participate in continuing education.
- Communicate client assessment findings and recommendations in oral, written, audio, video, or other forms.
- Integrate behavioral, developmental, improvisational, medical, or neurological approaches into music therapy treatments.
- Confer with professionals on client’s treatment team to develop, coordinate, or integrate treatment plans.
- Select or adapt musical instruments, musical equipment, or non-musical materials, such as adaptive devices or visual aids, to meet treatment objectives.
- Compose, arrange, or adapt music for music therapy treatments.
- Identify and respond to emergency physical or mental health situations.
- Analyze or synthesize client data to draw conclusions or make recommendations for therapy.
- Collaborate with others to design or implement interdisciplinary treatment programs.
- Conduct information sharing sessions, such as in-service workshops for other professionals, potential client groups, or the general community.
- Apply selected research findings to practice.
- Analyze data to determine the effectiveness of specific treatments or therapy approaches.
- Supervise staff, volunteers, practicum students, or interns engaged in music therapy activities.
- Assess the risks and benefits of treatment termination for clients.
- Adapt existing or develop new music therapy assessment instruments or procedures to meet an individual client’s needs.
- Apply current technology to music therapy practices.
- Conduct, or assist in the conduct of, music therapy research.
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Medical software — Electronic health record EHR software
- Music or sound editing software — Avid Technology Pro Tools; Musical instrument digital interface MIDI software; Virtual instrument software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
- Fine Arts — Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Detailed Work Activities
- Treat patients using psychological therapies.
- Develop treatment plans that use non-medical therapies.
- Interact with patients to build rapport or provide emotional support.
- Develop medical treatment plans.
- Establish treatment goals.
- Record patient medical histories.
- Prepare reports summarizing patient diagnostic or care activities.
- Evaluate patient functioning, capabilities, or health.
- Monitor patient progress or responses to treatments.
- Collect medical information from patients, family members, or other medical professionals.
- Gather medical information from patient histories.
- Maintain medical or professional knowledge.
- Communicate test or assessment results to medical professionals.
- Adjust tuning or functioning of musical instruments.
- Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
- Treat medical emergencies.
- Analyze patient data to determine patient needs or treatment goals.
- Inform medical professionals regarding patient conditions and care.
- Communicate health and wellness information to the public.
- Analyze quantitative data to determine effectiveness of treatments or therapies.
- Evaluate treatment options to guide medical decisions.
- Supervise patient care personnel.
- Develop health assessment methods or programs.
- Conduct research to increase knowledge about medical issues.
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 88% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 73% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Electronic Mail — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 62% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 81% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 50% responded “Some freedom.”
- Physical Proximity — 50% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 42% responded “Extremely important.”
- Telephone — 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Exposed to Disease or Infections — 46% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 35% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Deal With External Customers — 35% responded “Extremely important.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 40% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Time Pressure — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 35% responded “Very important.”
- Letters and Memos — 35% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 54% responded “About half the time.”
- Deal With Physically Aggressive People — 36% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 31% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 46% responded “Important results.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 32% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 31% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor’s degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Interest code: SAI
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
- Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Therapists, All Other.
Employment data for Therapists, All Other.
Industry data for Therapists, All Other.
|Median wages (2020)||$27.55 hourly, $57,310 annual|
|Employment (2019)||32,600 employees|
|Projected growth (2019-2029)|
Much faster than average (8% or higher)
|Projected job openings (2019-2029)||2,400|
|Top industries (2019)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data
and 2019-2029 employment projections
“Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2019-2029). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Sources of Additional Information
Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries.
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