Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How To Recertify Without Spending A Dime

recertificationI highly recommend reading the CBMT Recertification Manual (and all CBMT and AMTA documents) every year, so that the information is fresh in your mind. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to recertify, reading the manual is the first step. There are many ways to do this and there will be a concurrent session by CBMT at each of the regional conferences on how to earn credits at low cost.

CBMT released the 6th edition of the Recertification Manual in 2015. The major changes include:

  • the CBMT Board Certification Domains, which is just a name change from the scope of practice. I’ll write another post on the new Scope of Music Therapy Practice soon, which will explore why it was written and what it means.
  • The Individualized Self-Study category has been re-named as Mentored Self-Study.
  • CBMT now offers a way to enter your credits and pay fees online. (Click the link to see the post I wrote explaining how to do this in great detail.)
  • The Examination Option for recertification is going away as of January 1, 2017, so soon everyone will have to recertify by getting 100 Recertification Credits every 5 years.
  • NBCC credits are no longer accepted as an approved educational course, but you can still use them as unapproved educational courses.

Now, on to how to get all 100 credits as inexpensively as possible. I personally believe that continuing education for music therapists is really very cheap, and worth more than we seem to want to pay for it. When you’re evaluating a continuing education opportunity, divide the cost of the activity by the number of credits you receive to see your per-credit cost. This will help you see how inexpensive it really is!

Here’s all you have to do to get all 100 credits without spending a dime:

  1. Compose 4 songs.
  2. Give 6 one-hour presentations to professional organizations.
  3. Read 20 articles in refereed journals and write a report on each. (3 of these need to be related to Ethics)


Here are the details:

You can earn a total of 80 credits in the Professional Development category. The first category in Professional Development Credits is Publications. You can do all of those, but from the perspective of the young, non-researching music therapist, publishing in a refereed journal or writing a scholarly book isn’t likely. However, you can compose an original piece of music. Compose 4 songs and you get the maximum 20 credits for this. The song has to be 16 measures long, correctly notated, and include the client population, therapeutic domain, one objective, and the procedure for implementing the composition. Music therapy students usually have to do at least this much, so this shouldn’t be too difficult.

The next easiest way to get credits at no cost is to present. Present at a professional meeting (this could be a staff meeting at work, a music therapy or other professional conference, or a symposium). If you give a unique presentation for one hour six times in five years, you have 60 more credits, which gives you the limit for this category. You could start a local professional music therapy group–call up your music therapists friends and ask them to get together every other month, give a presentation on different aspects of your work at each meeting and you’ve just created a support network, established yourself as an expert in the local MT community, and earned 60 credits in one year for no cost, except time and energy. Plus, they can use these to get credits under the Short Event category!

You can get the rest of the 100 credits by reading articles published in refereed journals. These don’t even have to be music therapy journals–but if you’ve already invested in AMTA membership, then you might as well save yourself some time and effort and just use the JMT and MTP articles that are delivered right to your door. This will not only help you stay informed on what happens in our profession, but will also help you be an evidenced-based practitioner, while earning the final 20 credits you need without spending any money. If you want to earn the credits without even spending money on AMTA membership, then you can search your local library for refereed journals. All you have to do is read 20 articles that have been published within your current cycle and relate each one to the CBMT Board Certification Domains. Then read the article, copy/scan the table of contents, write the citation in APA style (you don’t actually need this, but doing so will get you the other components that you do need–journal name and date of publication, and article author and title), and write a 250-word summary of the learning experience and its application to music therapy practice. In order to fulfill the Ethics requirement, make sure 3 of these articles relate to ethics, as well as the CBMT Board Certification Domains.

I also wrote an article on how to earn 40 credits at an AMTA conference.