Art Therapists: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Stan T.Career, Overview

Art Therapists

Art Therapists plan or conduct art therapy sessions or programs to improve clients' physical, cognitive, or emotional well-being.

Becoming One
Very Hard
Master's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Interest Match

Job description

Art Therapists plan or conduct art therapy sessions or programs to improve clients’ physical, cognitive, or emotional well-being.

  • Talk with clients during art or other therapy sessions to build rapport, acknowledge their progress, or reflect upon their reactions to the artistic process.
  • Conduct art therapy sessions, providing guided self-expression experiences to help clients recover from, or cope with, cognitive, emotional, or physical impairments.
  • Design art therapy sessions or programs to meet client’s goals or objectives.
  • Write treatment plans, case summaries, or progress or other reports related to individual clients or client groups.
Read more about what does an Art Therapist really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.


Average salary
$50640 per year

Average hourly wage
$24 per hour

Art Therapists with little to no experience tend to make between $29590 and $37220 while the more experienced ones can earn over $61630 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
CA $36 $75,810
DC $33 $68,430
WA $29 $59,860
CT $29 $59,450
NV $28 $58,480

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as an Art Therapist is to move to a higher paying state like CA. Right now, the highest paying states for Art Therapists are CA, DC, WA, CT and NV.

However, a higher pay at CA doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at CA might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as an Art Therapist is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Master’s degree

We asked other Art Therapists what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Master’s Degree followed by a Post-Master’s Certificate.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy
Read more about how to become an Art Therapist and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being an Art Therapist.

Suitable for people who likes to help and teach others
Suitable for people who values relationships between co-workers and customers and wants to work in a friendly non-competitive environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
Demand for this career is growing fast
Not suitable for people who likes practical and hands-on work
Salary is below average
It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience is required for this career.

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

74% of Art Therapists said they were satisfied with their job and 82% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Helpers and The Artists

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others..

They also like working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Learn more about Art Therapists

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Job Description

Related career information

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Additional resources