It is my pleasure to share a guest post by my friend and fellow Iowa alum, Caitlin Krater. Caitlin recently finished her internship in Indianapolis, and will begin working on a research project with Sheri Robb, PhD, MT-BC, in February. We all remember the craziness that is internship, as well as the slightly terrifying question, “Well, what next?” In this guest post, Caitlin provides some great tips to those who are currently in the internship stage or who will be soon. Enjoy!
You have worked hard to complete your coursework, obtain an internship and continue to develop and grow during the past few months. Stop for a moment and take a deep breath; in fact take two! Questions that may be looming at this point are “what do I do now? “What’s the next step?” “How do I put all my knowledge into practice?”
In an effort to make the transition from intern to professional as smooth as possible, I have complied a list of 5 things to do before the end of internship. I tried to keep the list as general as possible because what you do during this transition time will be what works best for YOU-these are just suggestions. Create a timeline for yourself.
- Refresh your knowledge of music therapy competencies and scope of practice. Before the end of your internship is a great time for self-evaluation! Look over the competencies and items on the CBMT scope of practice.
The scope of practice can be found at both the AMTA website and the certification board for music therapists website. Be aware of the requirements of a MT-BC, which is what you are striving for! Evaluate where you are and where you want to be by the end of your internship. (Take a few minutes to look over your mid-term review if you have it. Take advantage of the supervision from your supervisors while you have them.) This is a good place to start.
- Check the AMTA and regional AMTA websites for job postings. While you’re completing your final weeks, it is a great time to begin thinking about your future goals as MT-BC. It is a time to make several professional decisions: what is the ideal job for you, what experiences do you hope to gain, as well as what you need from post internship employment.Remember to consider population, location, salary, benefits and any other special interests and requirements you may have. In addition to online job postings, your supervisors often receive mailings from regional job postings and you can also get on a list serve to receive e-mail updates about jobs and other MT information. It is appropriate to begin applying before the end of your internship if that is the timeline you would like.
Before applying for jobs, do your research-what is the facility like, where is it located, what are the benefits (what are benefits anyways?!) what is their mission statement and what is their philosophy. The more information you have, the better the content of your cover letter and interview!
- Revise resume and references. One aspect of internship is professional development. This will come in handy when reviewing your resume. Revise, revise, revise! Don’t forget to add your internship site, experiences gained and new references you know have.
Also, have your supervisor and/or professor look over your resume to insure it is ready to present to a potential employer. It is important to contact people you would like to include as references to ask their permission and notify them of any jobs you apply for. It may be helpful to send them a copy of your resume and a very brief (less than 50 words) summary of the job position so that they are well informed when contacted.
- Network with professionals and seek mentors. Start making connections during your internship! Use social media to connect via twitter, blogs, LinkedIn and other websites. Attend conferences; state, regional and national (whatever your bank account allows). Make connections with other professionals in your setting beyond the music therapists.I learned so much from the occupational therapists, physical therapists and art therapists during my internship and will continue to keep in touch as I begin my professional career. You NEVER know when a connection will lead to a job. Because of the strong connections I built with the child life specialist, nurses and respiratory therapists on the pulmonary unit, I was asked to present my findings on the benefits of music therapy in respiratory care to the entire pulmonary treatment team.
Finding mentors is also important during the transition from intern to professional. Seek out someone in the community (music therapist or not) who you can go to for professional advice and guidance will be invaluable. These types of relationships often form by attending state and regional meetings where rubbing elbows with more established and experienced music therapists.
- THE EXAM – Ok so don’t pay attention to the scary font-you already have the tools you need to be a successful MT-BC! The test is a review of everything you have learned and are currently putting into practice. I will not tell you how to study, but how to apply for the exam. You will need:
- A completed application (CBMT.org)
- Verification from Professor and Clinical Supervisor
- Payment (credit card, debit card or check)
What is your timeline for getting things done? Don’t procrastinate! If you want to be able to take your test by Jan. 1, it is best to mail your documents by Dec. 1. Etc. But…I’ll let you in a secret-the processing time is often much quicker and may take as little as a week. Once you hear back from CBMT, you can usually take the test within 3 days! I also recommend purchasing the $60 practice exam ( CBMT.org).
The practice exam will help you get a feel for how the questions will be worded and what the EXAM is looking for. Often times there is more than one correct answer so you must determine the BEST answer for the particular situation.
The end of internship can be a stressful time. I encourage you all to remember to live in the moment during your final days. Celebrate each success and each learning experience. Remember to enjoy your time of learning and growth- the rest will fall into place. Don’t worry about how fast or slow the transition is for you, do what fits best with your life!
Stay organized, respect yourself and find happiness-
Music Therapist Almost Board Certified
**A note from Matt: Caitlin has since been board certified and is an excellent music therapist!