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Art Therapist Career

What is art therapy? Learn more...

Art therapy is one of many interdisciplinary careers within the health care sector.. Art therapy uses art and creative expression for the purpose of clinical assessment and treatment. Itís a unique form of treatment therapy for patients with medical, social, developmental, or psychological impairment. Art therapists are trained in both art and therapy. They usually work in a clinical practice, but could also work in shelters, prisons, community mental health centers, hospitals, nursing homes, or schools. The profession began with the treatment of children, but the field has grown and immensely and now art therapists often work with people of all ages and walks of life, or can treat couples, families, or conduct group therapy. They can employ a variety of art media, including drawing, sculpture, or painting to assess and treat their patients.

Education and training requirements

Like other mental health counselors or therapists, art therapists must have at minimum a masterís degree. You can pursue a masterís degree in art therapy, or in counseling with a focus on art therapy. Coursework will depend on the program and can be broad, but will generally cover topics like techniques in art therapy, group and family therapy, historical development of art therapies, as well as traditional counseling training.

Registered Art Therapist (ATR) Criteria

The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) establishes the national standards for career and certifying requirements. If you meet the credentials of the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB), which includes earning a masterís degree and some work experience, you can become a registered art therapist (ATR). For the registered art therapist, the ATCB offers certification as well (ATR-BC). Certification is voluntary but demonstrates that you are in good standing with the ATCB. Certification requires passing the Art Therapy Credentials Board Examination, as well as regular maintenance through continuing education. Certification also needs to be maintained every five years by demonstrating a minimum of one hundred hours of continuing education.

According to the American Medical Association, the average salary of an art therapist ranges from $30,000 to $50,000, and can reach upwards of $149,000. If you are interested in studying psychology or pursuing a career in therapy, consider this unique and creative career path. You can help patients with emotional or psychological issues cope through a process of creativity and self-discovery. It is a field that is projected to grow, and can take many directions.

To learn more about becoming an Art Therapist, you can contact schools that offer related art therapy or counseling programs. Another option to learn more about this career is to read the career plan discussion on becoming an art therapist. If you are still trying to determine just what the right career choice is, take some time to explore additional careers in health care.