Alternative Review Process for Music Therapy Programs

The NASM Alternative Review Process for Music Therapy Programs works in the context of the program approval process of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). In almost all cases, AMTA requires that institutions maintain NASM accreditation as a condition of AMTA approval. AMTA and NASM maintain eligibility criteria for determining when an institution is not eligible for NASM accreditation. When one or more of those criteria are evident, the institution may use the Alternative Review Process to produce and maintain a Statement of Affirmation from NASM indicating that the institution and its music and music therapy programs provide a context for and produce results in music therapy consistent with NASM standards. This policy assures that AMTA is consistent in its approach to approval for all institutions.

The Alternative Review Process does not lead to any accredited status or any other affiliation with NASM, and institutions using the process or obtaining a Statement of Affirmation may not claim or publish a relationship with NASM.

The NASM Alternative Review Process is not a substitute for AMTA procedures or process. Institutions must maintain contact with AMTA and comply with its requirements independent of the NASM Alternative Review Process, including submission of AMTA required documents.


The first purpose of the Alternative Review Process is to provide a mechanism that assists institutions and programs in an analysis of their operations, their work, and their aspirations for the preparation of music therapists. The outcome of this effort is a written Self-Study document prepared by the applicant institution. The effort encourages development of means to improve artistic and educational results. NASM facilitates this process by placing the review in the context of nationally developed standards and consistent procedures that ensure fairness and objectivity. NASM emphasizes service.

Each applicant institution is unique, and so the Alternative Review Process must balance two concerns: (1)¬†compliance with threshold standards for various types of programs, and (2) evaluation based on the purposes–mission, goals, and objectives–of specific institutions. This balance is achieved by focusing on functions rather than methods–what and why rather than how.


The documents used in the Alternative Review Process are available for download (PDF files) by clicking the links below.


The cost of the Alternative Review Process is as follows:

  1. Application fee: $1,000
  2. The expenses of the visiting team (travel, food and lodging, cost of typing and duplicating the Visitors’ Report, tips, and so forth)

The institution is billed by NASM, which in turn, reimburses the visiting evaluators. Due to the fact that NASM serves as the financial intermediary and reimburses the visitors directly, NASM will file appropriate tax forms with the IRS (i.e., Form 1099). The institution should not duplicate these filings for the visitors.