Frequently Asked Questions

Are you thinking of becoming an art therapist?  Below are answers to frequently asked questions.

  1. What art the standards of practice for art therapists?
  2. How does one become an art therapist?
    • Start by researching the profession of an art therapy.  This information can be found on the American Art Therapy Association’s website.
    • Prepare to apply for a master’s program by researching which prerequisite classes are necessary for the master’s level art therapy program you are planning to apply for.  These are usually posted on the program’s website.  These prerequisite classes include both psychology and fine arts classes.  Some undergraduate institutions offer art therapy tracks, which are helpful, but not necessary to apply for graduate school.
    • Attain a master’s degree in art therapy.  Even if you earned a bachelor’s degree in the field, a master’s degree is required to practice as a clinician and to become a registered art therapist.
    • Check your state’s licensing requirements for regulations regarding the practice of art therapy.
    • Visit your local art therapy chapter and American Art Therapy Association websites for access to scholarship information, professional publications, a list of undergraduate programs, etc. at
    • Contact an art therapist if you are interested in learning more about a firsthand account of an art therapist’s journey.
  1. What is the education level/experience required?
    • Receive a Masters degree in Art Therapy
  1. Where do I find a listing of AATA approved graduate programs? Which pre-requisites course required for entrance into an AATA approved graduate art therapy program? 
  • The exact classes vary, but developmental and abnormal psychology classes are usually required
  • Check with your program of interest for an exact list of prerequisite classes


  1. What are the advantages or disadvantages of attending an approved school over a non-approved school?
  • The Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB) allows a graduate of an approved school to apply to be a registered art therapist after 100 hours of clinical supervision.   The ATCB requires a student from an unapproved school to have many additional supervision hours before applying to be a registered art therapist.
  • Attending an approved school may increase your opportunity to eventually become licensed as a counselor (LPC).  Additional licensing can open up opportunities to bill insurance for sessions.


  1. What is required post graduation from a graduate school?
  • After graduation, one must complete a set amount of clinical supervision hours to apply to the ATCB to become a Registered Art Therapist (ATR)


  1. What are all those letters behind an art therapists name and what do they mean?
  • ATR® is defined as an active Registered Art Therapist with the Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc (ATCB). Once you have earned the ATR, you are eligible to apply to take the Art Therapy Credentials Board Examination (ATCBE) to attain the BC or Board Certification.


  1. How do I become a registered and/or board-certified art therapists?
  • Contact the ATCB National Office for Official Requirements at
  • The ATCB provides national registration (ATR) of completion of Master’s level work at an approved Art Therapy education program, two years of supervised practice and, board certification (BC) to those ATR art therapists who satisfactorily complete a nationally administered exam.


  1. What are the advantages of becoming registered and board certified?
  • The ATR-BC is the highest credential you can earn as an art therapist.
  • The ATR-BC is an assurance to employers, clients, and the public that you have met the rigorous standards set by a nationally recognized credentialing body.


  1. What types of professional licenses are available to art therapists in the Delaware Valley?
  • ATR-BC & LPC


  1. What are the advantages of becoming licensed?
  • The ATR-BC is a national credential and is portable from state-to-state. The ATR-BC also means that you provide services within the ethical guidelines of the ATCB’s Code of Professional Practice.


  1. Are there jobs for art therapists?
  • Yes, there are many types of organizations that hire art therapists.  You many also consider job titles such as a Fee-for-Service Therapists, Wraparound Services, Mobile Therapists, Family Based Therapists, Therapeutic Staff Support, or Behavioral Specialist Consultant.


  1. What is the average salary range for art therapists?
  • $29,829 – $60,658


  1. Where are art therapists employed?
  • Art Therapists conduct individual and group therapy in schools, psychiatric hospitals, medical centers, outpatient community mental health clinics, veteran’s hospitals, and private practice. Prisons, Rehabilitation Centers, Adult Day Care Centers, Nursing Homes and Hospice are other examples.


  1. What recommendations do you have for securing a job post-graduation?
  • Remain in contact with supervisors of past internships.
  • Join your local art therapy chapter as well as AATA
  • Network with other art therapists and mental health professionals
  • Be willing to apply for jobs that are in the mental health field that doesn’t specifically ask for an art therapist, and then market the use of art therapy with that population as a special skill set you have to offer.


  1. What is the ideal employment situation for an art therapist?
  • This would depend on the individual and the type of population or organization he/she is interested in working with.
  • One may want to consider the work environmental needs such as having an appropriate space to practice therapy.  This space would ideally include a sink, cabinets, table and chairs as well as a door for confidentiality.
  • One might also consider additional benefits that come with the job such as onsite clinical supervision.


  1.  Is there a specific therapeutic philosophy or art therapy theory that art therapists subscribe to?
  • According to AATA, Art therapy is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.
  • Many different theoretical philosophies and models may be incorporated into one’s art therapy practice


  1. How can I find out about art therapists working with a specific population?
  • Professional listing in the Art Therapist’s finder through AATA
  • Check the practice link on the home page of the DVATA website for private practice and clinical supervisors.


  1. What are the advantages of joining the local and national art therapy organizations?
  • Opportunities for networking with other professionals at educational and arts-based social events.
  • Online resources such as job opportunities, quarterly newsletter, e-news including announcements, events, and workshops, as well as members-only access to the website
  • Provides a sense of community


  1. Is there research to support art therapy as an effective treatment? If so, where may I find this information?


  1. If I am moving from another state to practice art therapy what do I need to know about art therapy in Pennsylvania and what resources are available to me to assist with this transition?
  • Join DVATA and visit our website @
  • Look into your state’s licensure requirements


If you have additional questions, please contact