SER and the State Operational Plan

SER has 10 active state task forces. This is a collaboration between AMTA, CBMT, SER and individual state task forces. Since 2005, the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) have collaborated on a State Recognition Operational Plan. The primary purpose of this plan is to get music therapy and the MT-BC credential recognized so citizens can more easily access services. The AMTA Government Relations staff and the CBMT Regulatory Affairs staff provide guidance and technical support to state task forces as they work towards state recognition. Music therapists across the country are actively involved in advocacy efforts.


AMTA and CBMT State Recognition Operational Plan

Major Goal

Achieve state recognition for the music therapy profession and the MT-BC credential required for competent practice.


Appropriate state agencies will include music therapy and the MT-BC credential within their listings of recognized professions and providers.


Proceed systematically throughout all 50 states focusing first on the states where increased reports of issues related to access are requiring attention.

Task/ Action Steps

a) Prioritize order of states needing current attention, in groupings of 5-7 states at a time.

b) Create state-based task forces to work together with AMTA and CBMT to facilitate and implement the operational plan of objectives and tasks.

c) Identify the state agency(s) and system(s) that regulate related professions.

d) Identify the state agency(s) which list or recognize professions for service inclusion. The list includes but is not limited to the Department of Health, Department of Education, Department of Aging, Medicaid, etc.

e) Identify where, if listed, music therapy is currently located in state statutes, regulations and agency documents.

f) Utilize state music therapy representatives to assist with implementation.

g) Analyze data and investigate methods required to enact changes in state statutes, regulations, and agency documents.

Consider the need for exemption language in existing state statutes or regulations.
Consider the process required for inclusion of specific music therapy listing within state agency regulations.
Consider the feasibility of and the process required to create official state recognition (i.e., certification, registration, or licensure).

h) Determine legislative or regulatory actions to be recommended.

i) Collect data on music therapy practice and create state-specific fact sheets for use in advocacy.

j) Implement state advocacy plan, which includes communication with state legislators, state agencies, professional and consumer advocates.

How to be an Advocate

State advocacy is not just limited to the task forces, you too can become involved! Advocacy encompasses many different kinds of actions including educating the public, legislators, or other music therapists on state music therapy advocacy efforts. Other advocacy efforts include organizing or building grassroots networks and taking action on regulatory efforts though letter writing, voting, and attending advocacy events and Hill Days. By serving as an advocate, you are helping further the state recognition operational plan and the music therapy profession to improve and increase access to services for clients.