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How to Become an Art Therapist

If you are considering becoming an art therapist and were wondering about the art therapy education requirements, unfortunately, at the present time there is not a single path that is recommended. We suggest that you read this article very closely, and do as much research on your own as is possible, before you begin your education.

Many young people look at the world with blinders on their eyes, and only see what they want to see. If you make the wrong choices regarding your education now, this could lead to restrictions being placed on your therapist practice in the future, which could severely damper your long-term ability to provide for yourself and your family.

Before we get into the art therapist educational requirements, we want to point out, that in certain states you must have a degree in counseling in order to obtain a state license to open your practice. You might be thinking that this does not apply in your state, if so, the laws are always be revised, and it could be relevant sometime in the future.

In addition, some of the classes that are required to obtain an undergraduate art therapist degree are not necessarily accepted by all the universities that offer masters or doctoral degrees in psychology, psychology, or counseling.

Masters Degree in Art Therapy

Today, it is possible to get a masters degree in art therapy, and to complete other courses that are offered on the undergraduate and graduate level which apply to art therapy. There are also a few colleges that offer undergraduate degrees or majors in art therapy, but there are not too many of them.

Most of the universities that offer art therapy educations are private schools, and their tuitions are quite high. This makes obtaining a degree in this field very expensive for an aspiring student. Presently, there are only four or five state universities that provide art therapy degrees.

To be allowed to set up an art therapist practice, you will need to pass a large number of prerequisites in psychology and art at both the undergraduate and graduate level. It is recommended that you thoroughly review the requirements provided by the following agencies the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB), Art Therapist Registered (ATR), and Board Certified Art Therapy (ATR-BC).

To give you an idea of how complicated it is planning out your education, the following is a partial list of the degrees that professional practicing art therapists have; Creative Arts Therapies, Art Therapy Counseling, Adlerian Counseling and Psychotherapy, Counseling Psychology, Art Therapy and Counseling, Art Therapy and Special Education, Expressive Therapies, Transpersonal Counseling, Marital and Family Counseling, Art Therapy and Creativity Development, Psychology, Counseling and Personal Services, Art Education, and Art Therapy.

Some of the degrees above also offer minors or specialization that will not result in a diploma, but they will mean that you are qualified to practice in that field.

If you truly want to become an art therapist and make sure that your professional future is protected as well as it can be, more than likely the best approach is to get a masters degree in a well regarded field like psychology, counseling, or psychology.

Your undergraduate degree could then be in art therapy, but to qualify for entry into the above masters program, you will need to take quite a few additional courses that are not required to obtain your bachelors degree.

Unless you are independently wealthy, there are two other major considerations that you need to mull over before you begin your education. First, since most of the universities that offer these degrees are private, they are incredibly expensive and there are very few scholarships available for people that want to enter into this profession.

Second, after you graduate, you need to consider your earnings potential. While there certainly are quite a few art therapists that make very good livings, not all of them do. In addition, in most cases it takes quite a while to build up a practice to the point it is very profitable.

Becoming an art therapist is certainly a noble and rewarding profession. But, before you start down the track to become one, you really need to research the matter fully, and be 100% sure that this is what you want to do with the rest of your life.
Comments:

I read your piece on becoming an Art Therapist and just wanted to add that after you complete your Masters, if you proceed to become credentialed  (which my job required) you will have to pay for 100 hours of ATR supervision post-graduation to apply for the ATR. With a starting salary, student loans and supervision hours for 2 years….there is a lot of time and money that needs to be considered as part of the professional commitment.