Music: Music Therapy

  • Betsy Pinny Hartman, founder of PNW Music Therapy LLC
    Betsy Pinney Hartman, Music Therapy graduate 2010, is CEO and founder of PNW Music Therapy LLC. Read about her in SPU Stories.

Are you a musician with a desire to help people cultivate their physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual well-being through music? The Music Therapy Program — the first and only Music Therapy program in Washington state — offers many opportunities for musicians to use their skills and aptitude to serve others through the functional use of music.

We welcome your interest in the Music Therapy Program at SPU!

In August 2009, Seattle Pacific University became the first academic institution in the state of Washington to offer the undergraduate music therapy degree program, accredited by the national American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). The Bachelor of Arts in Music Therapy program is now well established, and many opportunities await those who seek to use their gift of music to serve others.

The program is designed for you to develop entry-level competencies required as a professional music therapist, prepare you for a six-month clinical internship, and, ultimately, pass the national board certification exam to earn your Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) designation.

Our goal is to provide you with a personalized education of classroom and practical clinical experiences that will allow the music therapist within you to develop to meet professional standards. In this shared journey, you will become increasingly aware of who you are as a musician and how your music can affect the spiritual, mental, physical and psychological well-being of others.

We hope to inspire you with a passion to learn about music therapy and yourself — a passion that will propel you into the profession and sustain you throughout your professional career.

Is a career in music therapy for you?

We are looking for musicians who have, or are willing to work toward, an advanced level of musical ability; who are creative, empathetic, motivated learners, and possess a sincere desire to pursue a vocation toward service of others.


When you major in Music Therapy at SPU, you will take academic courses that focus on core music and music therapy classes, as well as the balance of a comprehensive university education.

You will also have the opportunity for practicum experiences within diverse health care and educational institutions in the Seattle area. And you will have the close supervision by board-certified music therapists in an educational climate that nurtures the discipline of being a strong musician, the heart to serve others, and the focus to help you reach your goals.

Distinctives of the SPU Music Therapy program are 1) students are engaged with clients as early as freshman year, which means by the senior year, music therapy students have a strong resume before the required Internship, 2) all music therapy students are encouraged to take classes in music production / audio engineering, as well as gain competencies with iPad apps and music technology through use of SPU Nickerson Studios, and 3) offering our students a broad spectrum of clinical settings within the Seattle area, including Seattle Children’s Hospital, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center (Seattle, WA), and Music Works Northwest (Bellevue, WA). 

The SPU Music Therapy program accepts students as freshman, transfer and post-baccalaureate (for more information, see FAQ insert). See additional notes on entering the Music Therapy program.

As a Freshman: Consult the Undergraduate Catalog for complete information on how and when to apply to the program. 

Transfer Students: Follow this link – Undergraduate Catalog

Post-baccalaureate Students: Here is information to apply to SPU – Undergraduate Catalog.

Career Opportunities

Nationwide, Board-Certified Music Therapists are employed in many settings, including clinical, educational, and social-service agencies, such as:

  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Correctional Facilities
  • Hospice Care
  • Medical and Psychiatric Hospitals
  • Oncology Treatment Centers
  • Private Practice
  • Pain/Stress Management Clinics
  • Schools
  • Senior Centers and Nursing Homes
  • Substance Abuse Programs
  • Wellness Programs

Music Therapy as a Career 

The American Association for Music Therapy (AMTA) website includes information about career opportunities and more. You’ll also find fact sheets on how music therapists work with various populations.

Locally, the Music Therapy Association of Washington (MTAW) website lists current activities for music therapists in our state, as well as active board-certified music therapists.

See more career opportunities, along with career resources for Music Therapy majors. 

Music Therapy Licensure

On April 25, 2023, Governor Inslee signed HB 1247 - Licensure of Music Therapists. 

What does this mean?

  • Established Board-Certified Music Therapist as a health profession in the State of Washington. 
  • Increases equitable access to MT services through reimbursement programs/insurance. 
  • Protects the title of "music therapy" and consumers from harm, ensuring a standard of care with national and clinical educational requirements.

Music Therapy Services

To seek music therapy services or to post a music therapy position, please go to the Washington Music Therapy Association website listed below.

Music Therapy

Music Therapy Program rated among best nationally

SPU ranked among the top 20 places to study Music Therapy in the U.S. by

What Does A Typical Music Therapy Session Look Like?

Click Here

Did You Know?

Help Icon November 2019, the SPU Music Therapy Program celebrated its 10th anniversary!  Click on this link to see how our students and alumni gathered to make music, chat with our guest speaker Dr. Deforia Lane, and spend an evening at Benaroya Hall with a special musical offering by the Seattle Symphony.