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Music therapist

Discover how music therapists use the power of music to help people deal with feelings they cannot put into words. 

Training and qualifications required

You need to have successfully completed one of the HCPC-approved postgraduate education and training courses in music therapy. Only then can you apply to join the HCPC’s Register of Health and Care Professionals, and use the protected title of ‘music therapist’. The training course take two years full time or can be completed over a period of three or four years part time. You'll need formal arts training and often have a music degree.

Expected working hours and salary range

Music therapists work part-time and in some cases full time in the NHS. They usually start at band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay rates. Their working hours will generally be from 9am to 5pm but this may vary depending on their service and role. In other settings, their working hours will depend on where they work. For example, in education, they may work school hours, and during term time only.

Desirable skills and values

Music therapists need many skills including a high level of musicianship, excellent communication skills and the ability to empathise, creativity and imagination. You'll also need a desire to be part of the caring professions, flexibility, adaptability and openness.

Prospects

Some music therapists choose to specialise in a particular clinical area of interest such as dementia, child development, neuro-disability, mental health or palliative care. Other music therapists choose to work in two or three clinical areas depending on their interests. Music therapists hold both employed and self-employed posts, with some choosing to work both for an employer and at the same time offering a private practice. There are opportunities to develop your skills and take on more managerial roles music therapists also hold posts such as head of arts therapy.
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