Evaluating the Impact of Decisions

The Client


American Music Therapy Association (AMTA)

American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) is an organization dedicated to the progressive development and public awareness of the therapeutic use of music in rehabilitation, special education, and community settings. They are committed to the advancement of education, training, professional standards, credentials and research in support of the music therapy profession.

The Problem

Professionalism is crucial for AMTA and the music therapy profession as a whole; they strive to uphold the highest level of excellence and credentialing for therapists and practitioners. To maintain this reputation of excellence, AMTA was interested in raising the bar for their minimum education level requirement to become a credentialed music therapist. They were seeking assistance in determining the impact of this decision to require a master’s-level education: impact on current practitioners, students, up-and-coming practitioners, future of the profession, therapy patients, and any unintended consequences that this new requirement might yield. How do you measure and determine the potential ramifications of this decision?


The Approach

Our volunteers worked with AMTA to implement the Multiple-Objective Decision Analysis method for measuring and defining the different outcomes of the decision at various sections. Utilizing this approach was most beneficial for providing thorough data analysis that outlines the ideal characteristics of a successful education program (at the master’s level) and its impact on music therapy professionals and clients. They built models with collected data that are based around characteristics of education programs, musical/clinical skills competencies, financial burden (to professionals and clients), etc., to help make their recommendations. 

The Solution

After modeling various outcomes of the decision and completing the seven steps of the Multiple-Objective Decision Analysis, it was determined that requiring the Master’s-Level Entry standard offered the most value to AMTA. It revealed that making this decision did not have any adverse impacts or unintended consequences on music therapy professionals, students, or patients – in fact, it would help continue the reputation of professionalism as desired by AMTA. In the end, our volunteers helped AMTA make a data driven decision and avoid a guessing game, allowing them to confidently change their minimum education requirement.

Project at a Glance


Health Services


Silver Spring, MD

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