Art Therapist Salary – Trends, Averages

**Are you an Art Therapist or working in the field of art therapy? Please take a minute to fill out a quick and anonymous survey and we will share the aggregated results for you and others to view.

Art Therapist Job Search
job title, keywords, company, location

According to the American Medical Association, the following art therapist salary information applied to 2009:
Starting salary: $39,000
Overall Average: $30,000 – $50,000
Upper Ranges: $80,000 – $149,000

As you can see, the figures are a bit erratic. We’ve created our own survey and have added our information below to contribute to your research and information gathering.

Please note that the data presented here may not be 100% accurate, and is meant to provide an overview of salaries related to art therapy. We’ve updated the data with information submitted directly through our salary survey.

Topics Covered:
What Factors Affect Art Therapist Salaries?
What is the Average Salary of an Art Therapist?
Art Therapy Salaries by Geographic Location
Additional Data From Our Survey
Other Interesting Art Therapy Career Info

What Factors Affect Art Therapist Salaries?

The average salary of an art therapist’s job and jobs related to art therapy or someone who utilizes art to heal depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • certification, licensing, etc.
  • employer
  • experience
  • geographic location
  • salaried employee, independent contractor, hourly, etc.

If you’re not familiar with art therapy, you can read more about what it is and how it helps. You can also learn more about schools and education. We’ll be adding more to these sections in the future as well as our careers section in time.

What is the Average Salary of an Art Therapist?

As we mentioned above, a professional Art Therapist’s salary will depend on a variety of things including employer and geographic location. Salaries in the United States tend to range approximately between $30,000 and $70,000. According to data submitted directly through our survey, the average U.S. Art Therapist salary is approximately $42,000 per year.

Average Salary by Years of Experience

Please keep in mind that this is a very rough estimation for average salaries. For example, it’s entirely possible that someone with 1-4 years of experience can earn more than someone with over 20 years of experience. Please fill out our anonymous survey to help us provide better information for you and others in the future. **Update – We have updated the chart below to reflect data directly from our survey. Since the amount of data we currently have is somewhat low, we’ll update this more in the future once we have collected more data.

**The data in the chart above is from our Salary Survey. We currently only enough data for the U.S. only, with 30+ individuals reporting. We did not have enough data to report on the 20+ years category, so we have left that off for now. Want to help make this data better? Please contribute to our anonymous salary survey.

Professional Art Therapists with…

  • less than 1 year of experience may earn less than $35,000 per year on average
  • 1-4 years of experience varied in salary quite a bit, earning between $30,000 and $60,000 per year, with an average of $38,000
  • 5-9 years of experience averaged about $52,000 per year on average
  • 10-19 years of experience may earn between $44,000 and $50,000 per year on average
  • 20 or more years of experience may earn $65k or more annually – we only have a handful of people reporting data for this group so far.

Art Therapist Salaries by Geographic Location

As you may already be aware, geography can affect salary, not only internationally, but also within a country as well. Stay tuned for an upcoming article about the average art therapy salary for various parts of the United States.

Additional Data From Our Survey

  • 80+% of respondents are certified and/or licensed
  • 45% of respondents have 1-4 years of experience
  • 44% of respondents have at least 5 years of experience
  • 80+% of respondents have a Master’s Degree
  • 100% of respondents are female
  • 70% of respondents work(ed) for one of the following: NPO/NGO, Government, Hospital

Additional Art Therapy Career Information

Most professional Art Therapists are female and are most often employed by government, schools, hospitals, and companies. Others may be employed by non-profit organizations and/or run their own private practice. Government, school, company, and hospital art therapy positions may vary widely in salary, often between $10,000-$15,000.


  1. says

    With the massive increase in persons returning from deployments from front line countries with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, the need for therapist of all genders is paramount. It does help some clients/patients to talk to people of their own gender, with shared experience, to help bring closure to certain events. When both Britain and South Korea answered the gap in Professional Psychological health care workers recently, gender played no role. Their is nothing wrong with men serving as Art Therapist. It was Carl Jung that first developed the concept of “Art Therapy”. No matter what gender, any person that truly wants to help others with art in the healing process, should feel any bias in joining this field.

  2. says


    What are your sources for the salary information? Usually bloggers link their sources throughout their post, so that others can judge for themselves the accuracy of the information provided.

    Also, before I fill out a survey, I would like to know more about you! Alternately, why have you chosen not to include an “about” section to your blog?

    – Liz

    PS: The links for this paragraph don’t work…at least not on Safari. They load up the same page we’re on now:

    “If you’re not familiar with art therapy, you can read more about what it is and how it helps. You can also learn more about schools and education. We’ll be adding more to these sections in the future as well as our careers section in time.”

  3. Admin says

    Great comments Gregory…we definitely didn’t mean that men should shy away from the field! It’s just that there are significantly more women currently working in the field.

    Thanks for the feedback. As we mentioned, we’ve compiled data from multiple sources (and will continue adjusting with others as we find them) in order to reach our own conclusions, but the data is by no means perfect or 100% accurate and is meant to be a general overview. As I’m sure you’re aware, there are many factors involved that it’s difficult to come up with accurate numbers. It’s a difficult challenge and we welcome any suggested sources. This is one reason we have decided to include a quick anonymous salary survey. We are getting great responses and plan on including this data in the future. While we welcome feedback about your salary, we understand if you don’t feel comfortable submitting it. As we mentioned, we don’t ask for any personally identifiable information – we are only interested in the numbers. Thank you!

  4. says


    Although I don’t doubt that your analysis is coming from many sources, it is normal for your readers to be inquisitive as to where your sources are coming from.

    Additionally, my asking to view your sources has nothing to do with the quality of your analysis. Rather, it’s a usual request from readers who belong to academic communities, such as the art therapy community.

    As you are most likely aware, art therapists are often accused of claiming various things without showing empirical back-up, which is why those writers within the art therapy community must be careful to always show their sources.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond.
    – Liz

  5. Admin says

    Liz, we thank you again, and sincerely, for your constructive feedback. We’ve had only a handful of complaints (and a threat if you can believe it!), but we feel the sources issue is a valid one. So, hopefully the following helps answer your question regarding sources. We were obviously limited in what we could find, but we combined data from Payscal and some of the more popular job sites such as Indeed, SimplyHired, etc, as well as any other one-off sources we thought were reasonable.

    We are hopeful the salary survey, over time, will provide us with more solid numbers in the future. We’ve received some great data from the survey so far and will be updating the article to include this. Thanks again!

  6. Admin says

    We’ve updated the data and chart above to reflect data directly from our salary survey. Please keep comments and suggestions constructive and relevant to the article and data provided. We’re certainly open to making changes to the data and presentation as we realize it’s not perfect. However, we feel over time it will be better than most of the data currently on the web. One way to make this data better is to participate in the salary survey.

  7. Julie Roxburgh says

    I am interested in pursuing a Diploma or Masters in Art Therapy and would like any information about long distance learning. Thank you Julie Roxburgh

  8. says

    I live in the Western,Maine area while it is a beautiful state alot of issues seem to fall between the cracks of society,so to speak. I feel that elders in this state need more activies to enlighten their lives. That is why Iam interested on being an art therapist and advocate in this area.I gradute this May ,from Auburn,Maine community college.My degree will be general studies.I will enroll for two more years to earn my bacholars in,humanities.I retired from the resturant world after 29 years due to work cutbacks .All for the good I want to make a difference in someones life ,to help them overcome ,deperrison,lonelyness the feeling that just because their older doesn’t mean that they are not worthty of being in today’s society. Iam here to be an advocate for them.
    Thank you for reading my entry,
    Bess Mahoney

  9. Lauren says

    I’m still an undergrad student, currently going to school at Drexel University in Philadelphia. I’m a psychology major and have been interested in expressive art therapies for a long time. What I can’t figure out about the career is how much creative writing is included in the profession. I’d love to focus on poetry and expression through writing with the people I eventually work with. I just don’t know if that’s possible with this career. Most Art Therapists seem to focus on music or painting or sculpting. While I’d love to incorporate as many modalities as I’m able to, I’m not sure if taking a creative literary focus is actually something I’m able to do. Does anyone know anything about making that success? Do Art Therapists generalize in various forms of expressive/creative therapies or tend to centralize on what they as a therapist are very good at? I just feel so lost when I’m looking at what programs have to offer and how realistic a career with my preference would be… help?

  10. Jozelin says

    as a student that has and admired the work and the world that artist try to percept i am passive i do not understand why this is

  11. says

    I am Akaki Inanishvili fron Georgia.2001-2011 in this 10 jahrs i am working in art looking for good job.i have big experiens in this work in Georgia,germany,litva and im looking for good team.plees contact with me.facebook: Akaki Inanishvili or free artis union org. Thank you.

  12. Krystal says

    Hey, I decided when I was 16 after being hit by a car and now being able to understand better people with disabilities that I wanted to be an art therapist. Now that I have epilepsy, I know it’s like to be limited and frustrated about it with no way to get it out. Even though I’m barely starting college at age 17, I’m ready to do this and help people and I deeply appreciate those who are already art therapists.

  13. Anais says

    I love art, and I love to help people, which is why I want to be an Art Therapist.

  14. says

    last year I received Masters in Fine Arts and lately realized that I would like to become an art therapist. What and where kind of education I must add to existed one to become a professional art therapist?
    Thank you, Gina.

  15. Jade says

    im at the end of my junior year in high school and have been thinking about going to seton hill college for my masters in art therapy. im just wondering if i will be able to make a good living with this degree. btw i live right outside of pittsburgh pa. is it difficult to find a job doing this? will i have to move far away? i have a 2year old a would like to stay around family for his sake. what can i do to help myself get a job?

    if u cant answer all of these that is fine, i just need to know how this career choice might pan out.
    thankyou so much, Jade :)

  16. Katie k says

    I am only 13 years old and this is what I want to do the rest of my life until I retire. This website helped me a lot with how much money I’m going to make and how many hours I am going to work when I get older. So thank you.

  17. samantha says

    Hi. I’m in masters interning at a hospital with art therapy.

    I m curious as to when this salary page will be updated. Also the chart shows as little as 35k a year based on the responses. At the bottom of the page though you list 10-15k only. For government and medical art therapy positions. Why is this amt not included and if not from the survey where is the source?


  18. Cayla says

    I am 17 years old and I love art. Art is one of my favorite things to do. I would love to help people express themselves through art. To me art could also be a healing method, it’s a way for anyone to put there feelings into art. I would love to be an art therapist or work with anyone who is an art therapist :)

  19. says

    I am 16 years old and have always been asked what ive wanted to be when I grew up. Ive always shrugged it off because I had no idea! This is the first career I have looked into and actually loved. I use art to help myself with my own emotions and I love the idea of helping others with it too. I feel like this job was made for me.. my only concerns are the amount of college i’ll need and if the salary will be enough


  20. Kelly says

    It seems to me this is a highly specialized/specific form of therapy. For most areas, I believe it would be a luxury to have this type of expertise and wonder if job opportunities wouldn’t be on the scarce side? While i feel it offers an excellant alternative to traditional therapy modalities, as an MSW myself, I would wonder about whether this form of therapy is widely reimbursable through private health insurance? Insurance companies are often very specific about training of therapist. From a private practice standpoint there may be challenges. The mental health care individuals receive is largely driven by insurance companies and what they will pay for. Because the field is so specialized/specific, it seems it may be first on the chopping block for those employed through gov’t/school entities in times of cut backs.

  21. Jane says

    My education and focus in my work has uniquely been woven with threads of Art & Education for many years. I somehow although continue to remain very deeply interested in Art Therapy I’m reluctant about persuing an actual Masters in Art Therapy (for practical monetary reasons). Is there any hope out there that one can actually make a-real-living-wage being an Art Therapist? I seem to come up almost empty handed in my continued investigation about jobs and occupational research in reference to Art Therapy.

Leave a reply