How Do I Apply for Art Therapy Graduate Programs?
Art therapy master's programs offer students a unique perspective to clinical mental health counseling through visual arts and art therapy education.
Online art therapy programs require students to achieve excellence in traditional counseling programs. They are expected to remain current in art technologies and how art therapy education is applied to mental health issues.
If you already have a bachelor's degree, numerous programs offer a master's in art therapy online. It's essential to note that the art therapy profession has an entry-level requirement that begins with a master's degree.
To pursue licensure and practice as an art therapist, a master's degree must be earned along with completion of an internship. Undergraduate degree programs specializing in mental health, art appreciation, or counseling can be earned to prepare prospective students to enter a graduate program.
Suppose you have not started a bachelor's degree and are interested in the field of art therapy. In that case, many undergraduate degrees can prepare you for graduate schools, such as a bachelor's degree in psychology, art, art history, or social work. Upon earning a master's degree in art therapy, you will be able to take the licensure exam to practice as a counselor.
To work directly with clients in the field, the American Art Therapy Association requires licensure in your practicing state to ensure that practicing therapists are competent in their careers. To apply for licensure, most states require that you hold a master's degree in art therapy. A licensing examination ensures you have the knowledge to practice in a public health capacity safely.
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What Are Some Degree Options for a Registered Art Therapist?
The field of art therapy is increasing, offering students many opportunities to pursue higher education in this area with a variety of job choices. To obtain a career in art therapy, students must start at the undergraduate level with a bachelor's degree in art, social work, psychology, or a similar field.
After completing a bachelor's degree, students must enter a graduate program and earn a master's degree to apply for licensure in this field. A master's degree in art therapy and an internship or fieldwork will help prepare you for licensure.
Students have several options concerning degree programs that best work for their schedules and future professional plans.
To be eligible for licensure as an art therapist, students must earn a master's degree. Higher education online art therapy programs can require around two years of graduate school after completing a bachelor's degree.
Upon completion of your program, some degree programs require you to complete an internship to gain field experience for your career. Numerous colleges offer options for students who need flexibility while pursuing an art therapy online degree.
Upon completion of a master's degree in art therapy or a closely related field, students have the option to enroll in an online doctoral program, which can boost their careers and add to their knowledge in this field.
Doctoral programs can assist professionals who want to focus on creative, innovative, and research-based methods to use in art therapy, leading to career advancements and more choices in this field.
3. Certificate Programs
After earning a master's degree, students can enroll in programs to pursue certifications that prepare them to specialize in focus areas in their degree field. This certificate enhances a master's degree and better prepares students to continue their education in art therapy.
Art Therapy Degree Programs
Although several accredited colleges offer art therapy degrees online, those that have an art therapy specialization track are few and far between.
Online counseling programs can train you to complete treatment goals for clients, make expert choices about what type of art therapy is needed, and learn how to incorporate research methods.
Online programs offer convenient schedules, accessible courses, and flexible hours for anyone who cannot attend traditional classes on campus. If you want to specialize in art therapy, you should look at the individual coursework (required and elective) to see if the university has any art therapy or related courses.
Helpful information has been compiled below to help you make decisions regarding your future career in art therapy.
What Do Art Therapy Counselors Do?
Art therapists use art appreciation and creative processes to treat clients and provide emotional support to patients diagnosed with mental health disorders.
As an art therapist, you can work with children and adults who have anxiety and depression and patients who struggle with substance abuse, helping resolve conflicts and find resolutions.
Conducting therapy sessions using art processes, counseling through art appreciation, and diagnosing and supporting patients are what art therapists do in an office or clinical setting.
Art therapists enact various roles on a day-to-day basis. They work with children who have experienced trauma, write treatment plans for patients who have received diagnoses, and administer assessments to potential clients. Obtaining a graduate degree in art therapy allows students interested in art and art appreciation to pursue a career in a field that involves counseling and helping others.
Sample Courses for the Online Master’s in Art Therapy Counseling
Art therapy is a rewarding field with a growing interest in the United States thanks to innovative studies in creative expression and art appreciation. Art therapy helps patients use creative expression to improve cognition, promote insight, resolve conflict, and overcome trauma.
Those techniques paired with counseling result in a career that combines art and helping others in a therapeutic setting. With a degree in art therapy, you can work in private practice or public health facilities such as hospitals and clinics, facilitating assessments and evaluations. Expressive arts therapy can be applied in many settings.
Students who are interested in the type of courses available for art therapy programs online can view the list below to get an idea of what type of coursework is offered for this program.
The courses available in an art therapy online degree program were developed to prepare and inform students about art therapy research methods, art appreciation strategies, and counseling methods to assist patients and clients.
Completing a bachelor’s degree will give you a knowledge base and reference to art and the methods used through creative expression. At the same time, graduate courses will prepare you to be a professional in this field. There are many roles you can fill when you start a career in art therapy.
The courses offered in an art therapy program online typically focus on a foundation of information that can help students learn to be knowledgeable and successful in their career choices. Graduate art therapy coursework offers students the opportunity to be trained specialists in the field of counseling using art expression and creativity.
Students interested in an art therapy master’s program should read below on a subset of courses from basic programs we have researched:
History and Theory of Art Therapy
Counselors entering the field of art therapy will be taught a knowledge base of artistic methods, art appreciation, and ways to express through creativity. This course will give insight to students by studying the history of art and theories behind the techniques used in counseling.
Studying art, the creative processes, and assessments using art are vital for this type of career.
Current Trends in Art Therapy
Learn the latest trends in art therapy on ways to help patients resolve conflict, overcome substance abuse, and work through their trauma.
This course offers information concerning the latest techniques for assessing and evaluating signs and symptoms of mental illness and disorders. Diagnosis and treatments, the best type of therapy approaches, and coping are some areas that may be covered in this course.
Media and Material in Art Therapy
Students enrolled in this course will be offered information on the type of art media and materials used in therapy and assessments. The focus as an art therapist will be using art processes to treat, assess, and diagnose. In this course, you can learn more about the best approaches to managing behaviors, resolving conflicts, and reducing stress.
Art Therapy Master’s Programs
Many colleges offer a master’s degree in art therapy using an online program and coursework. For an easily accessible and flexible schedule, online programs offer a better choice with convenient options to fit their schedules.
A career in art therapy can be obtained through completing an online art therapy master’s program. Students must become a Registered Art Therapist (ATR) before becoming Registered Art Therapist Board Certified (ATR-BC). Throughout our research, we did find a couple of online programs offered in art therapy below:
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania – Online Master’s in Art Therapy
Edinboro’s online master’s degree in art therapy offers a flexible option for students interested in combining creative art, art appreciation, and counseling. This 60-credit-hour program prepares you to begin working with clients with various counseling needs using different art techniques.
Prescott College – Online Master’s in Art Therapy
Prescott College currently offers an art therapy master’s degree program online that prepares students with an educational background on the latest trends to use in this counseling field.
This is a 60-credit-hour program that takes 2-3 years to complete for students attending full-time. A postgraduate certificate is required with 30 hours in art therapy upon completion of the master’s in counseling.
Art Therapy Counseling Organizations: Art Therapy Education & American Art Therapy Association
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education work together with the American Art Therapy Association to provide support and guidance to those in the field. A practicing career in art therapy requires licensing through each state regulated through accreditation boards such as these.
Professionals stay up to date with the most recent trends, methods, and techniques by joining organizations like these that specialize in their field of expertise. The American Art Therapy Association is an organization in this field that offers support to professionals in this career and opportunities to interact with others that hold similar jobs and learn more about the latest trends in art therapy.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in this field, you should review information from these two organizations. Both can provide you with helpful insights regarding trends in your field and support you throughout your career.
Creative Arts Therapy Careers for Future Success
Art therapy students develop a unique skill set that combines creative arts therapy and psychotherapy to help patients or clients express themselves through movement, song, visual arts, and other art-making mediums.
Students are required to complete rigorous coursework to obtain this mental health counselor degree. The good news is that several universities and colleges offer an accredited art therapy degree online.
Art Therapy Counseling Degrees FAQs
What degrees do you need to be an art therapist?
Art therapists need a master’s degree in counseling, art therapy, or other related fields with an emphasis on art therapy.
Is art therapy a growing field?
While the number of “art therapy” careers is limited compared to other counseling professions, many institutions look for art therapists to help patients in a number of ways.
Does art therapy work?
Yes, art therapy can help patients who have difficulty expressing themselves through traditional therapy approaches.