World’s First Music Therapy License in Nevada – Part 1

How The Journey of World’s First Music Therapy License Began…

World's First Music Therapy License, Nevada Music Therapy LicenseThe world’s first music therapy state license was issued on November 2, 2011 to Judith Pinkerton, MT-BC/L, Chair of Nevada’s Music Therapy Task Force. 

To new advocates, this appeared as an overnight success, when in fact the journey spanned seven years.  Many people, skills, events, bills, communications, marketing, funding, failures and successes culminated in Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signing into law Senate Bill SB190 for Music Therapy State Licensure on June 3, 2011. Thus the making of the World’s First Music Therapy License

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” ~Dr. Albert Schweitzer

The People It Took To Make It Happen

The Nevada Music Therapy Task Force coordinated mighty forces of clients, music therapists, AMTA (,,, legislators and governors with their staff, legislative counsel bureau, department of health and human services staff, community health practitioners, media, music therapy agency board of directors, and music therapy supporters.  The NMTTF included Judith Pinkerton, MT-BC/L (Chair), Manal Toppozada, MA, MT-BC, Diane Bell, MEd, MT-BC, Judy Simpson, MT-BC, Dena Register, PhD, MT-BC, Kimberly Sena Moore, MM, MT-BC, and Rachel Firchau, MT-BC.  A strong task force chair was essential to coordinate all facets and efforts for the success of the World’s First Music Therapy License. State Senator Moises Denis sponsored Senate Bill SB190, who is a musician and at one time considered pursuing a music therapy degree. Listen to his interview with Judith Pinkerton on the Music 4 Life Radio Show June 17, 2011 – click here.

“One’s determination will lead to others’ success.” ~Haran Alal

During this Advocacy month of January 2012, Judith will blog weekly on this topic, covering required advocacy skills, recommended events, legislative bill failures and passages, funding ups and downs, communication pathways, and marketing tips.

“Mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are moveable, and those that move.” ~Arabic Proverb

In order to assist you “moving” here is a quiz with information from AMTA and CBMT.

What kind of advocate are you – a super-star or a behind-the-scene sleuth?

Take this quiz to discover your advocacy personality.

There are many ways to be an advocate. You can be the one to talk face-to-face with a legislator or agency official, or the one who helps behind-the-scenes in organizing grassroots efforts. You can serve on a state task force or help out with periodic letter writing efforts and Hill Day events. Be sure to let us know in the comments section what type of advocate you are.

Since 2005, the American Music Therapy Association and the Certification Board for Music Therapists have collaborated on a State Recognition Operational Plan. The primary purpose of this Plan is to get music therapy and our MT-BC credential recognized by individual states so that citizens can more easily access our services. The AMTA Government Relations staff and CBMT Regulatory Affairs staff provide guidance and technical support to state task forces throughout the country as they work towards state recognition. To date, their work has resulted in 35 active state task forces, 2 licensure bills passed in 2011, and an estimated 10 bills being filed in 2012 that seek to create either a music therapy registry or license for music therapy. This month, our focus is on YOU and on getting you excited about advocacy.

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is for anyone. Advocacy happens everywhere, any day of the week, any time you are engaging in a professional capacity. You can advocate at every level, from grassroots in your community to state agencies and governors to national legislators. In fact, any opportunity and conversation is a way to advocate for the profession.

Advocacy also happens within our profession–as when you talk to a person trained in music therapy about board certification. Plus, the skills needed to be an advocate are skills you already have, since you already advocate for your clients, your employment, and your pay.

Advocacy is a language. You need to know your audience and tailor your advocacy skills for that audience. It’s just like tailoring your clinical skills for different clinical populations. Don’t forget that experience is the best teacher–having your audience experience music therapy firsthand is very powerful.

What is the State Recognition Operational Plan and why is it important to music therapy?

The State Recognition Operational Plan is a national initiative being implemented jointly by CBMT and AMTA to obtain state recognition of music therapy and the MT-BC credential. This collaborative effort between AMTA Government Relations staff and CBMT Regulatory Affairs staff provides guidance and technical support to state task forces throughout the country as groups of music therapists work toward recognition as defined by their particular state.

The Plan involves increasing awareness of the music therapy profession and of what it means to be board-certified. The ultimate goal is that, in all situations, the MT-BC be a minimum requirement as a service provision in every work setting.

This is a huge milestone for us to have the World’s First Music Therapy License!


Judith Pinkerton, MT-BC/L

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