Certificate: Music Therapy Equivalency

Western Michigan University offers a music therapy equivalency certificate program designed for the student who already has a baccalaureate degree in music (or comparable program), and would like to complete course work needed to become a board-certified music therapist. Under this program, the student only takes the courses required for certification and need not complete a second baccalaureate degree in music therapy.

Candidates for the Music Therapy Equivalency Certificate must:

Although a minimum residency of two years is suggested (not including the internship), course requirements may be completed in less time depending on the student's past college work. To be eligible for certification by the Certification Board for Music Therapists, the equivalency student must have successfully completed 22 semester hours in music therapy, 18 semester hours in behavioral/natural sciences, 55 semester hours in music and 30 semester hours in general education electives when all transcripts are considered.  Equivalency students who plan to continue to the Master of Music Therapy degree may apply to take graduate courses concurrently with equivalency courses starting in the second year.

First year experience (Fall/Spring):

  • Learn about different settings music therapists work in professionally
  • Learn about typical goals and interventions that are implemented
  • Observe board-certified music therapists
  • Learn how to observe client behavior and take data without disrupting sessions
  • Learn music therapy techniques for child and adolescent populations
  • Learn music therapy techniques for adult and older adult populations
  • Practice implementing music therapy techniques with clients within the community
  • Apply and audition for admission into the upper level practicum courses at the end of the year

First year experience (Summer Sessions I and II):

  • Provide music therapy services (assess, treat, and evaluate) under the supervision of a board-certified music therapist to two different clinical placements
  • Apply research to clinical practice
  • Learn and experience the therapeutic process
  • Learn and experience clinical improvisation

Second year experience:

  • Provide music therapy services (assess, treat, and evaluate) under the supervision of a board-certified music therapist to two different clinical placements
  • Apply research to clinical practice
  • Learn theoretical foundations of music therapy practice
  • Learn about counseling theories
  • Develop marketing materials

Internship - 6 months full-time clinical field experience students must complete for the degree and to be eligible for board-certification.

How-to Apply:

1. University Application: Applications to the Certificate program are currently submitted through WMU's Undergraduate Admissions system. You will need to provide the contact information within the WMU application for three individuals who will provide letters of recommendation.They will be contacted automatically, and their letters will be matched to your application.
     -Choose the Non-degree Seeking Applicants option.
     -Within the application itself select the following options for your Academic Plan Intent:
     -Student Type = I want to earn an undergraduate certificate
     -Non-Degree Program = Music Therapy Equivalency-Certificate

2. Unofficial Transcript: The university will ultimately require an official transcript sent directly from your previous institution.  It will expedite the review of your application if you upload a PDF of your unofficial transcript via this form.

3. Demonstration of Performance Skills: Demonstrate your current level of skill on your primary instrument, voice, piano, and optionally guitar. You may submit video links via this form.  Alternatively, you can reach out to Professor Fiore to arrange an on-campus interview or video conference call (e.g., Zoom)


meet the faculty

Faculty areas of expertise include:

  • Behavioral health
  • Clinical musicianship
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Hospice
  • Improvisation
  • Inpatient psych (developmental disabilities, general, and forensic)
  • Pediatric medical
  • Older adults
  • Oncology