On Facebook, Crista Orefice asked about how to land a job at a retirement community. As a self-employed independent contractor, I have lots of little jobs (contracts) and lots of little bosses (administrators), so the setup is a bit different than the traditional job with one big boss and benefits, etc. However, I’ve tapped into some resources and done my best to respond with several useful and practical ideas for new professionals.

Oh, and she also asked about my eBook, which has yet to come out! But here you have it – the facebook post, and below is my reply… Thanks for your comment and question, Crista!

If you are a new professional looking for a job at a retirement community, try these tips to get started:

1. Network with other professionals in your area. Networking is a must. If a facility has a music therapist (MT) on staff, then reach out and connect with the MT on staff. Ask the MT if there are other facilities in the area looking for full-time MTs. Ask for help and resources, such as activities directors associations, that may point you in the right direction.

2. Check the AMTA job postings online. Have you seen the resource materials available on J.O.I.N. M.T. (Job Opportunity and Information for Music Therapists)? Crazy-loaded with tips on resumes, interviews, reimbursement, networking, FAQs, AND JOB LISTINGS! You’ve got to become a member of AMTA in order to reap these benefits.

3. Research the job market. If the AMTA listings didn’t cut it for your search, do a search online, get in touch with the local Alzheimer’s Association, or find an agency that places loved ones in retirement communities. Make sure you take note of the size of the facility and care levels provided. Reach out, and ask if any of them have full-time music therapists. You might have to take care of some administrative duties if you are hired full-time anywhere. Some places need an activities director or music therapist to handle ALL Life Enrichment programming. So, be prepared to delve into duties that are in addition to our beloved music therapy practice. =)

4. Use the AMTA Sourcebook to compare mean salaries per region and populations served. I can’t tell you how many times the Sourcebook has come in handy for me! Whether you’re looking for the most popular titles music therapists take on at a job, job trends, contact information for a particular member, or music therapists by state, the Sourcebook is a wealth of information!

5. Visualize your ideal job situation. The more you visualize, the quicker you’ll know exactly what you want. And once you know exactly what you want, opportunities open wide. As I mentioned above, many retirement facilities need a Life Enrichment Director. Do you mind taking care of admin tasks? Is your location flexible? Would you like a job or contract work? Would you rather work in independent living, assisted living, adult day care, memory care, skilled nursing, or all of the above?

Got any more suggestions for Crista? Help her out by leaving a comment below~

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