Art Therapy Student and Professional Resource Suggestions

Art therapy has a long and distinguished history. Some professionals are licensed as art therapists, others as therapists in more broadly defined categories. The profession is not as well-known, though, as many other health professions. If you have an interest in the field, you might find yourself wondering where to begin. How do you go from an interest in art, and in helping others, to actually building a satisfying career? Are there jobs out there – and how do you go about locating them?

Thankfully, there are resources to help you at each stage of the journey. If you aspire to work with a particular population – for example, children, dementia patients, or members of the armed forces – you’ll want to begin tailoring your pre-professional experiences early. Your first resource is generally your own university. Your school can guide you in finding appropriate volunteer positions and internships. You may locate far more volunteer opportunities through your school’s art therapy department than you would if you searched Google on your own.

Your college will also help you in the early stages of career development. Your professional organization can give you assistance throughout your career. The American Art Therapy Association is an excellent resource for art therapists and art therapy students alike. What services are available? A representative of the organization recently answered this question.

What the American Art Therapy Association Offers

The benefits of professional membership include education and career development resources, networking opportunities, and advocacy. Tool kits are among the newest AATA career resources. These are designed to help professionals who work with particular populations (or pre-professionals who desire to do so). The tool kits describe model programs and provide URLs or links to articles, art therapy activities and lessons, funding sources, and helpful organizations. They also include resources for understanding the licensing requirements and legalities inherent in working in particular settings or serving particular populations. The first tool kit was designed for art therapists involved with K-12 education. There are now tool kits available for those who work with older adults or with youth who have experienced traumas or serious health challenges. There are more tool kits coming in the fall of 2011, the representative reports.

Some art therapy career information is available to anyone who visits the site. As a casual visitor, you will find summaries of art therapy research, links to databases and organizations, and a 57 page advocacy guide that can help you promote the profession. Other educational resources, though, are available only to members. Members may peruse the online research library and read digital editions of Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association. For student members, there is a mentor program.

There also discounts available to members. These include web hosting and art supplies, both of which are invaluable to therapists in private practice. Discounted liability insurance and conference fees are available as well.

Professional members have the opportunity to submit articles, published or published, and participate in potentially career-building volunteer activities. Membership can make it easier to earn required continuing education units. An art therapist has access to free webinars and receives a discount for the Institute for Continuing Education in Art Therapy.

Of course money is tight for students, and also for those who are looking for their first position. Student AATA membership is just $55. With membership comes the opportunity to apply for scholarships. Those who have graduated may move on to new professional status, and continue to enjoy benefits at the reduced cost of $72 for a year. This is the stage where a person first gets a vote and is allowed to run for office.

Click Here to learn more about a career in art therapy.