How to Become an Art Therapist?

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Art Therapist

Art therapy incorporates the use of artistic methodologies, such as drawing, painting, collage, colouring, or moulding, to help individuals convey themselves artistically and analyze the psychological and sentimental aspects of their art. With the supervision of a certified art therapist, clients can “decipher” non-verbal messages, symbols, and analogies often identified in these art forms. In this blog, we cover the nuances to become an art therapist and art therapy courses in detail!

Who is an Art Therapist?

It is important to first understand who is an art therapist. An art therapist has a profound knowledge of the human body and mind and is a veteran of the arts. Art therapy It is an occupational therapy course which makes students aware of the profound insights into human psychiatry and behaviour that are procured after receiving certifications and expertise in the field. As per the American Art Therapy Association, art therapists are instructed to develop a good comprehension that colour, texture, and various art media can play a part in the therapeutic process and that these techniques can help to reveal one’s own opinions, emotions, and psychological behaviour.

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Art Therapist: Educational Qualifications

Art therapy is one of the most creative career options. A person must have a master’s degree in art therapy or counseling or a related field with a focus on art therapy and must carry out the necessary core subjects as set out in the standard of education of the American Art Therapy Association (AATA). AATA-approved art therapy programs typically consist of forty-eight to sixty-semester credit (or approximately eighteen months to two years of full-time education). The typical curriculum includes:

  • Application of art therapy with individuals in different treatment settings
  • Art therapy-History and theory
  • Ethics of art therapy
  • Assessment of art therapy
  • Standards of art therapy
  • Diversity-culturally and socially
  • Thesis or culminating project
  • Group art therapy and counselling methods and skills understanding
  • Techniques or practice in art therapy

Additionally, every graduate must achieve a practice or internship program customarily involving a minimum of seven hundred hours of supervised art therapy, at least half of which must be spent communicating directly with patients in individual, group, or family settings. Possibilities for specialization (i.e., specific patient age groups, practice settings, and types of intervention) are also there.

When a person has achieved a Master’s degree in Art Therapy, obtaining the expected number of supervised 700 hours, and achieving professional references insinuating your competence, you may be qualified to become an authorized  ATR through the Art Therapy Credentials Board. You can then sit for the Board Certification (ATR-BC) exam after the ATR has been granted. The exam is provided once a year at different locations across the United States.

Here are some of the best Art Therapy courses:

Name of Course University 
Healing with the Arts University of Florida
The Arts and Science of Relationships:
Understanding Human Needs
University of Toronto
Master of Mental Health Major in Art Therapy University of Queensland
The Science of Well Being Yale University
Cracking the Creativity Code: Discovering Ideas Israel Institute of Technology
Master of Art Therapy Western Sydney University 
Art Therapy MA University of Chester
Bachelor of Science/ Arts- Health and Behavioural Sciences University of Queensland

Art Therapist: Career Scope

An art therapist can operate in a wide range of setups and with the growing demand in the world for art therapists, there are a variety of career options for them. These include:

  • Hospitals and health centers, medical and psychiatric
  • Outpatient mental health organizations and day-care facilities
  • Residential treatment center
  • Halfway House
  • Home violence and homeless rescue groups
  • Society agencies and non-profit institutions
  • Shelter workshops
  • Schools, colleges, universities
  • Rehabilitative establishments
  • Elderly care institutions
  • Studios of Art
  • Corporate practices

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Annual Salary

Various variables affect and alter the earnings of an art therapist. They are: 

  • Experience
  • Area
  • The potential of a physician to commercialize themselves (if in private practice)

Art therapist’s earnings can differ, according to a survey performed in 2009 by the American Medical Association. Earnings for those just starting their careers are usually between $30,000(INR 21,95218) and $40,000(INR 29,26,958) and those with expertise can earn over $100,000(INR 73,17,395) in incomes. Art therapists, who descend under the wider classification of recreation therapists, managed to earn an average salary of $46,060(INR 33,70,392) in 2014. Experts in the top 10% of the bracket managed to earn $69,230(INR 50,65,832).

Top Colleges Abroad

We have curated a list of top colleges abroad that have courses to pursue art therapy for aspiring art therapists.

Let us discuss a few of these universities in detail for better understanding. 

New York University

New York University is one of the most prominent universities for aspiring students who see themselves as an art therapist. Masters in Arts in Art Therapy program is granted by NYU, concentrating on academic readings, cross-cultural proficiency, and evidence-based clinical practice.

  • The program provides supervision that addresses existing social justice issues and takes advantage of new educational technology.
  • The program aims to prepare learners in cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains and hence prepares them for careers as art therapists.
  • Learners accomplish 39 core major-class credits, nine elective credits, and a 12-credit internship. In addition to the training and internship prerequisites, Master’s degree-seekers must achieve a thesis project.

George Washington University

George Washington University provides 2 programs of Art Therapy/ Therapist Degree. It is a massive private university in a big city. In 2015, 54 students graduated with 54 Master’s degrees in Art Therapy/Therapist studies.

Florida State University

Florida State University’s Art Therapy graduate program helps prepare students for career paths in emotional, cognitive, and psychomotor education.

  • A Master’s comprehensive exam and a Master’s thesis or a supervised graduation research project must be completed and accomplished by the students.
  • At least a thousand hours of supervised practice must be completed by the applicants.
  • Most full-time freshers will finish the program in two years, which incorporates 2 summer semesters.
  • Prospective students must submit a declaration of purpose, GRE scores, a sample of scholarly work, and three recommendation letters.

Wilfrid Laurier University

Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada has been known for its educational prowess and gearing up students to achieve success for more than a century.

  • The University ranks 1180 in the U.S. Leading International Universities Rankings. 
  • Courses offered at Wilfrid Laurier University: Master of Arts (MA) in Theology and Master of Divinity (MDiv): Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy.
  • The university offers full-time courses for a duration of 3-years.

Southern Illinois University

Southern Illinois University (SIU) is a community research university located in Carbondale, Illinois. Established in 1869, SIU is the longest living university in the Southern Illinois University structure. Courses offered at Southern Illinois University include Art Therapy Counseling (MA). The University won a position on the “Top 100 Safest Colleges in America 2017” standings lately previewed by the National Council for Home Safety and Security.

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Art therapy could indeed facilitate perspective, sympathy, and acknowledgment of other people’s challenges in life. Becoming an art therapist helps to explore, manage, and provide insight into traumatic events. Still unsure about how to become an art therapist? Our Leverage Edu experts are here to guide you to make sure that you make an informed decision. Sign up for a free session with us now!

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2 comments
  1. Try saying something like, “I’m here for you,” “I’m here to listen,” or “I’ll stay with you.” 2. “It’s not a big deal.” Most people with anxiety know that some of their thoughts are irrational and out of proportion to the situation at hand, at least in their quiet, non-anxious moments.

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