Combine Your Love of Helping Others and Art by Becoming an Art Therapist

By Brenda on August 9th, 2011


Art therapy has been gaining steam in the mainstream media and traditional circles of medicine and therapy as an effective way to help people deal with emotional issues.

Once considered somewhat quackery because of the unorthodox treatment it gained some wide spread publicity after being featured on an episode of VH1’s hit reality show Celebrity Rehab. The show features celebrities suffering from addiction who are placed under the care of respected doctor and addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky, also known simply as Dr. Drew.

The logic behind art therapy is that patients who have suffered from trauma and stress can find healing through creative expression. The art is used as a facilitator for the person to do deep emotional work within themselves to cope with the root issues that cause destructive habits and behaviors.

A job as an art therapist is intense and requires a lot of knowledge, patience, and inner strength. It should not be taken lightly and anyone considering a career in the field should explore it intensely.


Before starting schooling to become an art therapist you must make sure you have the heart and passion for both art and counseling. The best art therapists have a string desire to help people deal with their emotional issues and find healing. The job is very intense as people often reveal their innermost thoughts and feelings to the therapist. Any successful therapist must know how to not let their patient’s problems affect their own lives.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

The first educational step is to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or art therapy. Most art therapy programs are not offered at the undergraduate level but more are starting to pop up around the country. The Art Therapy Association of America requires an undergraduate degree in psychology degree or art therapy.

Earn a Master’s Degree in art therapy

Graduate degrees in art therapy typically last 1-3 years depending on the program and enrollment level of the student. A portion of the program is spent working in the field gaining experience through an internship.

Obtain Certification

Most states do not require certification but it may help in landing a job to get certified through the Art Therapy Board.

Art Therapy Career Outlook

The outlook of this burgeoning field is strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of job openings should increase by 10% through 2018 as art therapy becomes more known to the general population making it a more common treatment option..


Category: Arts and Humanities,Bachelors Degrees,Careers and Employment,Masters Degrees