How to Become an Art Therapist

An art therapist is someone who would help people in getting through their psychological problems with his/her creativity. You simply use all your artistic skills and combine them with the knowledge of therapy in order to help people handle stress, and realize how they have the potential to do more as human beings. To pull this off, you must keep a good ear on whatever the other person has to say. If you aren’t a good listener, you are definitely not the man for this job.


  • 1

    Start off by learning what an art therapist actually does. There are several books available online, and even on different book stores, which can help you understand the true meaning of art therapy. The most famous book is written by Cathy Malchiodi titled The Art Therapy Sourcebook. Simply grab a copy and read it thoroughly. 

  • 2

    You must pass at least an undergraduate program in art therapy so that you can specialize in it. In order to see a list of undergraduate programs, visit the AATA (American Art Therapy Association) website. Either you can directly get enrolled into an art therapy program during your bachelor’s degree, or you can opt for a psychology major and then pick art therapy in masters.

  • 3

    In case you have done art therapy during your undergraduate course, pick the same majors for your masters so you have a graduate degree, which is needed to become a practicing art therapist.

  • 4

    Once you have all the education side covered, you require some experience in the field. Just like any other occupation, you will have to become an intern before you start practicing. Call different hospitals and health facilities so they can take you in as an intern. You can also opt to work voluntarily for different organizations which promote this particular field. For example, rehabilitation centers.

  • 5

    The Art Therapy Credentials Board is supposed to certify you as an art therapist. Some states ask you to get the certification before you get your licence, others don’t. However, getting this certificate will help you keep an upper hand over all your competitors. 

  • 6

    The AATA website, which was mentioned in step two, can also help you find jobs. Once you have become a student member on the page, you will be allowed access to job portals which can help you locate different jobs for yourself; scholarships if you want to opt for a PhD; and even discounts on certain events if you are an art therapist.

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