what degree do you need to become an Art Therapist
majors for Art Therapists

Art Therapists

Other names for this job might include Activity Therapist, Art Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Art Therapist/Licensed Professional Counselor (Art Therapist/LPC), Art Therapy Certified Supervisor, Art Therapy Specialist, Bereavement Program Coordinator, Board Certified Arts Therapist, Certified Art Therapist, Children’s Program Coordinator

  • $47790
  • 74%
    Job satisfaction
  • Hard
    Becoming one
  • Medium
    Job growth
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Be An Art Therapist: What You Really Need

In this requirements guide for Art Therapists, you will find out what do you need to become an Art Therapist and what it takes to become one.

After reading this, you will be able to plan for your future if you want to be an Art Therapist.

Degree required

Recommended degree level

Master’s Degree

Master’s degree

Post-masters certificate

No degree

High School Diploma


Generally, employers are looking for Art Therapists who have a Master’s degree. They also prefer someone who is good in Social Perceptiveness and Active Listening.

1 common question that we always get is what major or degree do I need to become An Art Therapist or what courses do I need to take.

We did a survey to ask other Art Therapists what did they major in college or university and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy

Most Art Therapists need a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy or a related field. Recreational therapy programs include courses in assessment, human anatomy, medical and psychiatric terminology, characteristics of illnesses and disabilities, and the use of assistive devices and technology. Bachelor’s degree programs usually include an internship.


schools for Art Therapists

Interested in becoming An Art Therapist? Find the right schools that can help you to become one. You will need some of your details to get you matched with the right college or university. This service is free thanks to our sponsors.

Questions to ask the university or college:

  1. How many students are in the program?
  2. Is your program accredited?
  3. How many faculty members do you have? Do they hold the right credentials?
  4. What is your job placement rate?
  5. Does your school hold career fairs or other on-campus events with employers? How many employers typically attend?
  6. How many of your students have at least one internship by graduation?
Click to start becoming an Art Therapist

How long does it take


You will need a considerable amount of skill, knowledge and experience to be An Art Therapist. Normally you will be required to have more than five years of experience.

For example: A surgeon have to complete 4 years of college plus an additional 5 to 7 years of specialized medical training to be able to do his/her job.

In terms of on-the-job training, you may need some training however you will be assumed that you will already have the necessary skills and work experience to perform the job.

How long does it take
1 to 2 years

Work experience
1 to 2 years
1 to 2 years

2 to 4 years

6 months to 1 year

3 to 6 months

No experience

Job training
1 to 3 months
1 to 3 months

1 to 2 years

0 to 1 month

No training

3 to 6 months

Most Art Therapists have 1 to 2 years work experience and 1 to 3 months job training.

To increase your chances of getting a job, you can look for job training while studying to be one.

License and certifications

Do you need any license or certification
Recommended but not required

Most employers, particularly those in hospitals and other clinical settings, prefer to hire certified Art Therapists. The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) offers the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential. Certification requires a bachelor’s degree, completion of a supervised internship (normally completed as part of their degree program) of at least 560 hours, and passing an exam.

Skills required

We asked other Art Therapists if they could only have 5 skills, what would they be. Here is what they said.

1. Social Perceptiveness what does this mean
2.Active Listening what does this mean
3.Speaking what does this mean
4.Critical Thinking what does this mean
5.Judgement and Decision Making what does this mean
= Hot in-demand that most employers are looking for

We did some research and found that most successful Art Therapists have these 5 common characteristics. Most of them had Self Control and Concern for Others.

1.Self Control
2.Concern for Others
4.Stress Tolerance

Knowledge required

Just like any other job, you will need some know-hows to do the job. To become a successful Art Therapists you need to acquire knowledge in these 5 key areas.

1. Psychology what does this mean
2.Therapy and Counseling what does this mean
3.Fine Arts what does this mean
4.Customer and Personal Service what does this mean
5.English Language what does this mean

As An Art Therapist, you may also be required to know how to use certain Graphics or photo imaging software, Calendar and scheduling software and Data base user interface and query software tools.

Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software (Graphics or photo imaging software)
Appointment scheduling software (Calendar and scheduling software)
Case management software (Data base user interface and query software)
Image databases (Data base user interface and query software)
Microsoft PowerPoint (Presentation software)
= Hot in-demand that most employers are looking for

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Additional resources

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