RD463 - Study Into the Need to Regulate Music Therapists in the Commonwealth of Virginia – September 2019

Executive Summary:


1. Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

2. Not all music in a healthcare setting is music therapy. Clinical music therapy is the only professional, research-based discipline that actively supplies supportive science to the creative, emotional, and energizing experiences of music for treatment and educational goals.

3. Music therapists work with vulnerable populations, individuals with intellectual or emotional disabilities, or persons coping with physical, mental or terminal health diagnoses. Potential for harm exists when nonqualified individuals provide inappropriate applications of music therapy interventions that could cause emotional harm.

4. Music therapists practice autonomously as well as under supervision.

5. Music therapists are bachelor’s degree level trained and must sit for a national board certification exam to obtain the Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC) credential, which is necessary for professional practice.

6. Five states license music therapists, one state provides title certification and two states require registration.

7. There are approximately 227 music therapists who hold the MT-BC credential in Virginia.

8. There is a need for music therapists in Virginia.


At its July 31, 2019 meeting, the Regulatory Research Committee recommended licensure for music therapists. A motion was made to license music therapists in the Commonwealth of Virginia and properly seconded and approved. Two members were in favor, one opposed.

The recommendation was forwarded to the Full Board for review and consideration at its August 20, 2019 meeting. At that meeting, upon properly seconded motion and discussion, the Board voted to adopt the recommendation of the Regulatory Research Committee for licensure of music therapists in Virginia. Ten members were in favor, one abstained and one opposed.

Should the General Assembly agree with licensure of the profession of music therapy, the Board recommends placing this profession under the Board of Counseling as this board specifically regulates rehabilitation providers.