Radford music therapy students surpass national average certification rates

For Radford University music therapy students, excellence is a goal achieved again and again.

According to Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT), Radford music therapy students posted a near-perfect pass rate of 94 percent on the board certification exams from 2008-15, far exceeding the national average of 68 percent.

Music therapists use music to treat patients with a variety of social, emotional, physical, cognitive and spiritual needs. As in any other form of allied health care, it is important to feel safe and comfortable with the qualifications of one’s caregiver.

According to Jim Borling, director of music therapy at Radford and practicing music therapist, that is why certifications are so “essential and necessary.”

“We are so passionate about what we do. We are passionate about providing competent services,” he said. “The board certification credential in music therapy demonstrates that a music therapist has at least entry-level competency for ethical practice.”

The CBMT was created in 1983 and is the only organization to certify music therapists to be able to practice music therapy. Upon passing the certification exam, a music therapist receives the national credential (MT-BC) and then must retest every five years in order to maintain the credential.

While board certification is not always required to practice music therapy, it is fast becoming a requirement seen on every job application. For Radford University music therapy students, rigorous academic and clinical work earns them a degree, but also sets them up for success on the board exams, which they become eligible to sit for following graduation.

Radford boasts a music therapy program that is similar in size to the national average, making the 94 percent pass rate all the more impressive.

"That number speaks to the strength of our program, but we don’t dwell on that stuff," Borling said. "We just show up and do what we do – we work with vulnerable clients and we take it very seriously."

Jan 25, 2016