What Art Therapists Do

Art therapists help patients express themselves through physical mediums and creativity. This can be used to express a patient's feelings, cope with emotional traumas or conflicts, promote self-awareness and self-esteem, manage behaviors such as addiction, reduce anxiety, and improve their social skills. Art therapists have an extensive knowledge of different art mediums such as painting, drawing, and sculpting. In addition to this knowledge, they also have experience with psychology and human development to better apply their artistic knowledge in a clinical setting.

Types of Work Environments

  • Hospitals
  • Psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities
  • Wellness centers
  • Schools
  • Crisis centers
  • Senior communities
  • Private practices

Education and Training Requirements

Art therapists acquire a master's degree in art therapy as well as post-graduate, supervised experience. The Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc. grants certification to art therapists on three levels:

  • Registered (ATR) - granted to art therapists who have acquired their master's degree and completed their supervised, post-graduate work.
  • Board Certified (ATR-BC) - granted to art therapists who complete the written examination administered by the credentials board and who continue their education through recertification.
  • Certified Supervised Credential (ATCS) - offered to board-certified art therapists who also demonstrate their supervision qualifications.


According to salary.com, the median salary for an art therapist is approximately $61,661 per year.

Professional Organization

 The American Art Therapy Association

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