Considering a career in music? The value of a music therapy degree

When deciding what career path to follow, there are a variety of things to consider. When it comes to music therapy, the number of options a degree provides can make it an easier choice.

If music therapy is something you’re interested in, it is definitely worth pursuing. Especially if you’re somebody who is interested in both psychology and music performance but you’re not quite sure yet what it is you’d like to do, a degree in music therapy would be perfect for you. In fact, many music therapists are also practicing musicians and teachers on the side!

Why pursue a degree in music therapy?

Getting a degree in music therapy opens up a world of professional opportunities and collaboration. It’s clear that music therapists are able to work in an incredibly varied range of settings, but they also get to work with a wide range of people going beyond their clientele. Music therapists are members of an interdisciplinary team of healthcare, education, and other professionals who work collaboratively to address the needs of clients. This may include counselors, doctors in hospitals, or even therapists working in another specialty. For example, music therapists might be able to work with art therapists, yoga therapists, recreation therapists, drama therapists etc. “It’s a really wonderful collaboration,” said Dr. Sharon Boyle, director of arts in health and associate professor of music therapy at OHIO.

Job opportunities for music therapists

There are also plenty of job opportunities for prospective music therapists. There are private music therapy clinics that look for therapists, but there is also a demand for music therapists in schools, hospice care settings, special education settings, veteran hospitals and standard hospitals. Music therapists can be useful in all of these settings, so the job market isn’t overly daunting.

Salaries for music therapists vary widely; a degree in music therapy can lead to a career with a good income. Music therapists make an average yearly salary of $47,360. Entry-level wages typically start in the mid-upper 30k range.  Generally, music therapy is one of those careers that the more you stick with it, the more you make. The salary is expected to increase with the more experience you have.  

Salary range for music therapists

Additionally, the salary range can vary depending on what setting a music therapist is working in. A music therapist working in a private setting may be able to control their own salary based on their caseload, making 60-70k for 50 hours of work a week. If a music therapist is working in a veteran hospital, they are in a government position with an estimated pay range of $77K–$114K per year.  

What this all boils down to is that you get out of music therapy what you put in. Ultimately, success in music therapy relies on passion, dedication, and a willingness to seize opportunities. By investing time and effort into the profession, aspiring music therapists can carve out rewarding careers that not only enrich their lives but also make a positive impact on others through the transformative power of music therapy. 

April 19, 2024
Emma Snyder-Lovera, '26