Hiring Guidelines

Find a Music Therapist

Music therapists are hired in different ways based on the setting in which they will work. In many health care settings Music Therapists are members of the Health Sciences Association (HSA) or BC Government Employees Union (BCGEU) and therefore their wages and benefits will be set out in the paramedical professional collective agreements. In settings where a collective agreement is not in place the employer and Music Therapist will need to work out an agreement of employment. See the table below for wage guidelines.

What 3 competencies should an employer look for when hiring a music therapist?

  1. A music therapist must have completed a Bachelor of Music Therapy degree. Graduates before 1990 must have a minimum of a diploma in music therapy. After graduating, music therapists are credentials by the Canadian Association for Music Therapy and if qualified, will have the credential Music Therapist Accredited (MTA).

  2. MTA status is considered entry level by the MTABC and the CAMT. A music therapist should be a current member in good standing with both the MTABC and the CAMT. Verification of membership for MTABC can be done through membership@mtabc.com or call us at 604-924-0046 or 1-800-424-0556. For CAMT contact “info@musictherapy.ca” or 1-800-996-2268. Most importantly employers should know that membership with the CAMT ensures that the music therapist complies with the bylaws, code of ethics and standards of practice of the profession.

  3. Music therapy experience with and/or the ability to articulate the skills and knowledge about the client population. As well the ability to play at least two musical instruments and a solid repertoire of music therapy techniques and interventions appropriate to your needs of those of your facility. As well the music therapist should be able to describe her or his philosophy of therapy including interventions, style, approach, program plans, and expected benefits of music therapy in a given setting.

Recommended fee guidelines

At present, extended health care plans or the Medical Services Plan do not cover the fees for a music therapist, but there are some funding sources available for specific types of service (see FAQ).

The following fee guidelines have been established by MTABC to assist employers and music therapists in entering into contracts that provide fair compensation for work performed and expenses incurred. It should be noted that, unless there is a union collective agreement in place which outlines the wage grid and benefits, individual music therapist rates will vary according to level of education (bachelor, masters and PhD) and years of experience or specialized training.

It should be noted that music therapists have a minimum of ten to fifteen years of necessary formalized training in music and music therapy in order to practice as a music therapist.

Minimum fees are based on the paramedical professional collective agreement rates and the appropriate percentage in lieu of benefits, which includes medical/dental, paid vacation time, paid education leave, tax, paid sick time, pension, LTD, UI and CPP.

Hourly fee guidelines are for direct clinical treatment time for group members and/or individual clients, and may include:

Private practice music therapy: applies to individual therapy as well as privately-paid group therapy. Fee guidelines upwards from $60/hour vary widely with therapist experience and training, and services offered. Music Therapists may be required to additionally charge HST.

Contract practice music therapy: A written contract outlining the responsibilities of the employer and music therapist, as well as the agreed upon wage, should be signed by all parties prior to the start of the contract. Contracts are arranged with the individual music therapist and may be an informal agreement, a letter of agreement, or for institutions, a formal legal contract. All fees should be agreed to in advance and specified in the contract.

Music therapists working under contract should be paid an hourly rate for all services performed, including sessions, preparation, documentation, meetings and travel. Rates for contract work vary upwards from $50/hour., depending on the years of therapist experience and training, and services required. Music therapists may have a sliding scale for multi-hour contracts. Music Therapists may be required to additionally charge HST and/or GST.