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Become A Community Music Therapist

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Working As A Community Music Therapist

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies
  • $55,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Community Music Therapist Do

Recreational therapists plan, direct, and coordinate recreation-based treatment programs for people with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses. These therapists use a variety of modalities, including arts and crafts; drama, music, and dance; sports and games; aquatics; and community outings to help maintain or improve a patient’s physical, social, and emotional well-being.

Duties

Recreational therapists typically do the following:

  • Assess patients’ needs through observations, medical records, tests, and discussions with other healthcare professionals, patients’ families, and patients
  • Create treatment plans and programs that meet patients’ needs and interests
  • Plan and implement interventions to prevent harm to a patient
  • Engage patients in therapeutic activities, such as exercise, games, and community outings
  • Help patients learn social skills needed to become or remain independent
  • Teach patients about ways to cope with stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Record and analyze a patient’s progress
  • Evaluate interventions for effectiveness

Recreational therapists help people reduce depression, stress, and anxiety; recover basic physical and mental abilities; build confidence; and socialize effectively.

They use activities, such as arts and crafts, dance, or sports, to help their patients. For example, a recreational therapist can help a patient who is paralyzed on one side of their body by teaching them to adapt activities, like casting a fishing rod or swinging a golf club, by using their functional side.

Therapists often treat specific groups of patients, such as children with cancer. Therapists may use activities such as kayaking or a ropes course to teach patients to stay active and to form social relationships.

Recreational therapists help people with disabilities integrate into the community by teaching them how to use community resources and recreational activities. For example, therapists may teach a patient who uses a wheelchair how to use public transportation.

Therapists may also provide interventions for patients who need help developing social and coping skills. For example, a therapist may use a therapy dog to help patients manage their depression or anxiety.

Therapists may work with physicians or surgeons, registered nurses, psychologists, social workers, physical therapists, teachers, or occupational therapists. Recreational therapists are different from recreation workers, who organize recreational activities primarily for enjoyment.

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How To Become A Community Music Therapist

Recreational therapists typically need a bachelor’s degree. Many employers require therapists to be certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).

Education

Recreational therapists typically need a bachelor’s degree, usually in recreational therapy or a related field such as recreation and leisure studies.

Recreational therapy programs include courses in assessment, human anatomy, medical and psychiatric terminology, characteristics of illnesses and disabilities, and the use of assistive devices and technology. Bachelor’s degree programs usually include an internship.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most employers, particularly those in hospitals and other clinical settings, prefer to hire certified recreational therapists. The NCTRC offers the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential. Candidates may qualify for certification through one of two pathways. The first option requires a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy, which includes the completion of a supervised internship of at least 560 hours, and passing an exam. The second option also requires passing an exam, but allows candidates with a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated subject to qualify with a combination of education and work experience. Therapists must take continuing education classes to maintain certification.

NCTRC also offers specialty certification in five areas of practice: behavioral health, community inclusion services, developmental disabilities, geriatrics, and physical medicine/rehabilitation. Therapists also may earn certificates from other organizations to show proficiency in specific therapy techniques, such as aquatic therapy or aromatherapy.

As of 2014, only New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Utah required recreational therapists to obtain a license. Requirements vary by state. For specific requirements, contact the state’s medical board.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Recreational therapists should be kind and empathetic when providing support to patients and their families. They may deal with patients who are in pain or under emotional stress.

Leadership skills. Recreational therapists must be able to plan, develop, and implement intervention programs in an effective manner. They must be engaging and able to motivate patients to participate in a variety of therapeutic activities.

Listening skills. Recreational therapists must listen carefully to a patient’s problems and concerns. They can then determine an appropriate course of treatment for that patient.

Patience. Recreational therapists may work with some patients who require more time and special attention than others.

Resourcefulness. Recreational therapists customize treatment plans for patients. They must be both creative and flexible when adapting activities or programs to each patient’s needs.

Speaking skills. Recreational therapists need to communicate well with their patients. They must give clear directions during activities or instructions on healthy coping techniques.

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Average Length of Employment
Staff Therapist 4.9 years
Senior Clinician 3.6 years
Clinical Therapist 2.9 years
Lead Therapist 2.9 years
Therapist 2.7 years
Family Therapist 2.7 years
Health Therapist 2.4 years
Primary Therapist 2.3 years
Sex Therapist 2.1 years
In Home Therapist 2.1 years
Top Careers Before Community Music Therapist
Internship 17.4%
Case Manager 10.2%
Therapist 9.3%
Counselor 5.5%
Clinician 4.9%
Volunteer 3.2%
Teacher 2.1%
Trainee 2.1%
Top Careers After Community Music Therapist
Therapist 18.3%
Clinician 6.6%
Counselor 4.1%

Do you work as a Community Music Therapist?

Community Music Therapist Demographics

Gender

Female

66.9%

Male

18.9%

Unknown

14.2%
Ethnicity

White

63.3%

Hispanic or Latino

13.7%

Black or African American

12.2%

Asian

7.6%

Unknown

3.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.5%

Chinese

7.7%

Japanese

7.7%

French

7.7%

Russian

7.7%

Mandarin

7.7%
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Community Music Therapist Education

Schools

Walden University

10.1%

Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

9.1%

Monmouth University

8.1%

New York University

8.1%

Case Western Reserve University

5.1%

University of Montana

5.1%

Nova Southeastern University

5.1%

Barry University

4.0%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

4.0%

Clark Atlanta University

4.0%

Drexel University

4.0%

University of Akron

4.0%

University of Phoenix

4.0%

University of Southern California

4.0%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.0%

Capella University

4.0%

Kent State University

4.0%

University of Pennsylvania

3.0%

Saginaw Valley State University

3.0%

Walla Walla University

3.0%
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Majors

Social Work

35.0%

Mental Health Counseling

12.0%

School Counseling

8.9%

Counseling Psychology

8.6%

Psychology

8.0%

Clinical Psychology

7.7%

Family Therapy

5.4%

Educational Leadership

2.0%

Rehabilitation Science

2.0%

Criminal Justice

1.7%

Human Services

1.4%

Nursing

1.1%

Education

1.1%

Occupational Therapy

0.9%

Health Care Administration

0.9%

Communication

0.9%

Ethnic, Gender And Minority Studies

0.6%

Management

0.6%

General Education, Specific Areas

0.6%

Community Organization And Advocacy

0.6%
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Degrees

Masters

78.7%

Bachelors

7.7%

Other

5.9%

Doctorate

5.1%

Certificate

1.8%

Associate

0.5%

License

0.3%
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Top Skills for A Community Music Therapist

  1. Treatment Plans
  2. Family Therapy
  3. Mental Health
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created and updated treatment plans for those receiving behavioral and psychiatric interventions.
  • Provided individual, group, and family therapy to special education population; Autistic Spectrum and/or with severe emotional disturbance.
  • Conducted mental health assessments with families and developed individualized service plans to meet families behavioral goals.
  • Worked in an elementary school with children with behavioral issues.
  • Provided telephone, on-site and center-based face-to-face crisis intervention/emergency services and follow-up provisions with clients.

How Would You Rate Working As a Community Music Therapist?

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Top Community Music Therapist Employers

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