Music Therapy a Career Overview

It is important to understand that employers hire people, not degrees. The skills and knowledge you develop as a result of your education, as well as in your work and community activities, have the greatest impact on hiring decisions. Listed below are some specific knowledge and transferable skills you will acquire as a result of your university education and your focus on Music Therapy.

Specific Knowledge Skills

  • The ability to communicate, interpret and understand ideas and information through music/performance
  • The ability to create, edit, arrange, stage and present music for a variety of mediums and purposes
  • Skills in assessing, evaluating, understanding and interpreting individual and group behaviour
  • Organizing and leading groups and the ability to facilitate change and insight
  • Knowledge of how to gather information, anticipate needs and make appropriate recommendations
  • Knowledge of methodologies of data collection, statistical analysis and evaluation
  • The ability to use methods and tests to analyze, interpret and assess possible behaviours
  • Skills to critically evaluate and interpret theories and research and apply the results to solve problems
  • Awareness of cultural/societal change as expressed and represented through music and performance
  • Ability to use music and sound to provide information and create mood or atmosphere
  • Skills to select and/or direct music, performances and events which will represent ideas and information
  • Skills to teach others about music appreciation and performance
  • An appreciation of musical techniques and history, and the value of music and performance
  • Skills in organizing and leading groups and the ability to facilitate change and understanding

Valuable Transferable Skills

Information-gathering and Communication Skills

  • The skills required to identify and access a wide range of relevant information and resources
  • The ability to compile and organize facts and information and to comprehend and apply new and/or unfamiliar information to different situations and settings
  • Skills in preparing interesting, creative and informative presentations which target diverse audiences
  • The ability to develop attractive/effective reports, presentations and materials using current technology

Thinking, Planning and Organizational Skills

  • The ability to learn, understand and interpret information and apply knowledge to new situations
  • The ability to set priorities, meet deadlines and effectively plan/manage time, data and resources
  • Problem-solving skills and the ability to make well-reasoned decisions, think creatively and search for, identify and consider all sides of an issue
  • Skills to effectively analyze and interpret a wide range of information and data to discuss, support and/or reject ideas, opinions, reports, theories and proposals

Teamwork and Management Skills

  • Skills enabling you to work effectively as part of a team by identifying your role and contributing, through leading, teaching, motivating and/or encouraging others, to the success of the team
  • An understanding of how to successfully identify, plan and contribute to the goals of a project
  • The ability to oversee, supervise and/or contribute to a project from beginning to end including determining outcomes, planning details, making decisions, assigning roles and completing task

Career Options (Samples Only. Additional education, training or experience may be required.)

Adult Educator
Alzheimer’s Support Counsellor
Autism Support Worker
Bereavement Counsellor
Brain Injury Counsellor
Career/Employment Counsellor
Child Life Specialist
Child/Youth Worker
Community Agency Director
Community Relations Staff
Community Worker/Advocate
Cross-Cultural Resource Worker
Educational Consultant
Event Planner
Fundraising Co-ordinator
Geriatric Counsellor
Group Facilitator
Human Resource Specialist
Marriage & Family Therapist
Mental Health Worker
Music Therapist
Palliative Support Specialist
Patient Care Co-ordinator
Probation Officer
Program Co-ordinator
Recreation Therapist
Rehabilitation Counsellor
Residence Counsellor
School/Guidance Counsellor
Seniors Recreation Co-ordinator
Victim’s Advocate
Volunteer Co-ordinator

Potential Employers

Educational Institutions
Long-Term Care Facilities
Non-Profit Organizations
Private Practice
Research Organizations

The effectiveness of music and art therapy and an increased awareness of holistic medicine are leading to the creation of more jobs in hospitals, continuing care and rehabilitative facilities, schools and community centres. However, many music and art therapists still work as independent consultants providing their services on a contractual basis. Eventually, graduates may move into an administrative or teaching role as program co-ordinators or professors of music and art therapy.


Canadian Association for Music Therapy                                 
American Music Therapy Association                                       
Charity Village                                                                           
Music Therapy World                                                                
National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations, Inc.
Institute for Music Therapy Research                                       

Are you interested in learning first hand about the careers our alumni have successfully pursued? Connect with Laurier alumni through the Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) program. Participating alumni represent a variety of disciplines, careers and industries.

In addition, the Career Centre has compiled Career Profiles from Laurier alumni. Read about their career paths and how their experiences have led them to their current roles.

This resource is available at the Career Resource Centre.
© 2019 Wilfrid Laurier University - Orbis Career / Co-op Portal Professional v3