Art Therapy a Good Career? An Outlook on Art Therapy

We’ve written about the definition of art therapy and who it can help before. These are good places to start to see if this is of interest to you. If you already know you’re interested in utilizing art and creativity to heal others, then keep reading about whether it’s a good career move. You can also start looking for schools with art therapy programs and learn how to become an art therapist.

Art Therapist Job Search
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Art Therapy Career Outlook

Art therapy as a career has been trending upward in the last 5 years or so. However, it appears that there has been a significant decrease in art therapy related jobs in the United States since the beginning of 2009, with a slight pick up in March/April of 2010 (likely due to macro-economic factors).

Some locations have a higher demand for art therapists and art therapy related positions, so you will have to do some investigation to check the career health of art therapy for your location, whether you’re willing to move, and so on. Unfortunately, it’s still not quite as popular as some other therapies, but most major metros should have several options for you to explore.

If becoming a licensed and certified art therapist isn’t for you, then you can still broaden your horizon by utilizing art and creativity in other jobs/careers, such as speech therapy, counselling, psychotherapy, and many others (know some others? Make your suggestions in the comments). Some people may take continuing education art therapy courses and/or add art therapy to their skillset to help with their existing job.

The Art Therapy Career Path

To become a certified and licensed art therapist, you will likely have to complete a variety of educational and internship requirements. Check with your local art therapy organization for more information about your area.

You will likely have to take some variety of art classes and psychology classes, get a master’s degree, and achieve the appropriate requirements for your certification and licensure.

Another potential art therapy career path is to apply the healing power of art and creativity to a position that affords you this freedom and can still be beneficial. It would be wise to take some classes and even attempt to achieve some level of certification, if possible, to help with your art therapy career initiatives.

For more information visit art therapy careers and jobs.


  1. Kristin says

    I completed my masters degree in Art Therapy this past summer. (Woo hoo!) I plan to combine this degree with my first career (architect) by being an art therapist/ counselor for those both studying to be in art-related fields and those working in art-related fields.

    I hope others will join me!

    • Vadakorn says

      Wow, I am an Architect considering art therapy as a career also. I thought it was just me.:)

  2. Kristen says

    I was accepted to two Master’s programs. Mount Mary in Milwaukee and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Pratt has a spring/summer intensive program that I plan to enroll in, which is low-residency although quite spendy. I’m very nervous about whether this is truly the route I should take, because I don’t want to move out of Minnesota and I know the art therapy career outlook here is bleak!! Any advice or words of encouragement?

  3. Craig says

    Kristen, If you do not want to move out of Minnesota you could look into the Masters level Art Therapy program at the Adler Graduate School in Richfield. At AGS you can also get training to become licensed as either a Marriage and Family therapist or Professional Councelor (LPCC)while getting yout AT training. This will be helpful for your future career opportunities especially if you stay in MN.

  4. Krsitina says

    Really consider your options, and where (geographically) you may end up after graduate school. Art Therapy jobs will be most prevalent in larger cities, with a larger population of hospitals who have psychiatric facilities. Understand that unless you are in a large city, the work you may be doing is more traditional therapy or even recreation/activity therapy. You may not find work with your desired population. The reality is rarely how it is painted in graduate school.

    I got my Master’s in AT in spring of 08 and haven’t been able to find good, consistent work. My classmates have been more successful, but that is most likely because I relocated to a smaller city than they are working in. It helps to have flexibility as well – if you don’t care where you live, maybe you can just search for the perfect job. Keep in mind that every state is going to have a different certification/licensing process though, and some states do not have an AT license at all. In that case (as was my case) you will have to go out for the state’s general counselor’s or therapist’s license just to get work (which may prove to be complicated – it took me 15 months, and the license required me to go back to school for a course that my grad program didn’t provide). I may have a skewed view since it has been tough since leaving graduate school, but that has been my experience, and the above would be my advice. I’m sure you’ll hear lots of success stories, but it would be wise to understand the risks of embarking on a new career and shelling out the dough for graduate school.

    Good luck!

  5. Bobbie says

    You need to be willing to “market” yourself and your field. Although I am employed as a “school based counselor” for a mental health center, I am an art therapist. I run 7 art therapy groups per week and do mostly art or experiential therapy in groups or individual therapy. I also have training in family therapy which is necessary when working with children. I rarely see “art therapist” jobs in the midwest, but often there are ways to work as an art therapist within other counseling jobs. Make sure you can be licensed in the state you want to locate yourself.

  6. Lauren says

    How is the outlook for being a certified art therapist in New York State? I’m currently enrolled in the BFA Art Education program, but if that doesn’t work out (teaching positions are difficult to find on Long Island, especially with the cuts they are making), I may continue my education and enroll in the Master’s art therapy program at C.W. Post which does lead to certification. Has anyone graduated from the master’s program or know what the career outlook is in NY? Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  7. Admin says

    Our sincerest apologies if anyone was offended by the previous imagery as this was not our intent. We have updated the picture. Thank you for the comments.

  8. Mindy says

    I think that we need to be clear. An Art Therapist, according to the American Art Therapy Association, is someone who has their Master’s Degree in Art Therapy. People can say they use art as therapy in different fields, as you suggested, but NEVER can ethically say they are doing Art Therapy.

    • Antje says

      Well, yes, that accounts for America, and as I understand for Australia and the UK as well. I have graduated as an art therapist in the Netherlands with a BA degree after 4 years of full time study (which means I have spend twice as much time studying the field as master degree students in the US,UK and OZ). It is frustrating that with this intense education I am obviously not allowed to practice as an art therapist in those countries, whereas people with “less education” can. It’s a funny thought though that there is a master study without a bachelor study upfront.. I think art therapy is the only study I heard about that has that. Every other field has to teach the basics first (BA) and then go in depth (MA). I just hope one day the educational system is equalized globally in the sense of enabling people to do their work and share their experiences globally. (Just to mention, my first education was nursing with some years of experience in mental health institutions before I started studying art therapy).
      For me art therapy is THE best job ever! But if it is not an easy road to take, well depending on where you want to work, in which field, in an institution or private practice…there are a lot of things to consider and obstacles to overcome.. A lot of people I know from University are doing at leas ONE other thing to pay the bills.

      I must say though, that I love the internet. Especially in fields that are not that common, as art therapy, it helps enormously to connect with other people interested in that field and other professionals.
      So are there any art therapist who tried to get licensed/ find a job as an art therapist in the US, UK or Australia with a bachelor degree from Europe? Any advice or tips would be highly appreciated!

      Many thanks!

  9. JJ Murphy says

    Having spent a lot of money on my art therapy degree, I think you ought to rethink advising readers that they can take a few courses and do some art therapy as a result. Calling it art for healing– same difference. Maybe it would be better that you just stay with topics about how art therapy helps and leave this type of career information to the professionals.

  10. says

    A lot of these comments resonate with me. I agree with Kristina, it is important for art therapists to be willing to market themselves as art therapists, especially if they are not going to work in a city where they will probably get a job as an art therapist. In a smaller town, often the ATR credential will be an add-on to an LPC-dominant job title (i.e. clinician, etc.) which in some ways can make folks more marketable… However, it’s like asking a science teacher to coach a sport (which they also have legit training in)–their dominant degree is in education, but they may have been hired mainly because the school needed a coach. Art therapy is a good career; one just must be willing to market, market, market (and defend your ATR credentials), as it is a new (but growing) career. I am an art therapy graduate student in the midwest set to graduate this May, and after spending hours of looking for possible job openings (I live in a rural area), there’s not much for art therapist-dominant positions here. It seems we’re even having to defend the ATR credentials on this blog, which shouldn’t need to happen…

    Also, in response to the image posted previously, I just don’t understand the image and want to hear the thoughts about it by the admin. With all due respect, what does it mean?

  11. Anna says

    How is the market for AT jobs in New Mexico? Also, are there different/better jobs if you obtain PhD? Thanks!

  12. Lucy says

    I <3 art therapy ust to go when I was about 9. I am gonna be an art therapist when Im older because I love art and I love helping people.

  13. maria says

    Art Therapy covers all sorts of art (ie. dance, singing, painting, sculpting etc.) I am in process myself, and am enjoying it from all directions. In any therapist, a graduate degree is necessary (for an artist as well as psychology). Through academic advisors, I have been advised to cover the basic as well as the specific job. I finished with an associates in Sculpting and am in process of a BFA in Saptial Arts and a BS in Clinical Psych. This is just the start for a well rounded Art Therapist as I have been told. MFA, MS and PhD would make me experienced and ready for any position that is available. It may not be an Art therapy position at first, but the experience make me a better candidate for specialized positions.

  14. Shannon says

    Does anyone know how difficult it is to work in states that recognize LPC if you are an LMHC? and vise versa? My husband will be graduating with a masters in school counseling as well as the necessary coursework/hours for his LPC. The art therapy masters program I want to do when he’s graduated is in Florida where we’re now realizing he will need substantially more classes and supervised hours to become an LMHC there, as LPC is not recognized. I’ve also noticed there are more states that recognize LPC, so this has me wondering if I will have a hard time in states other than Florida (and a handful of others) with an LMHC….. I’m so confused about all of this and any advice would be more than helpful. Thanks so much for any info you may have.

  15. says

    Kristin – Don’t know if you’ll see this comment, but I’d love to hear more about your plan of being an art therapist/counselor for those both studying to be in art-related fields and those working in art-related fields. This seems to be a really unique twist on the more conventional practices of art therapy, and I’d like to pick your brain a bit about it. Also, where did you study? Comment back, or email me through my blog if you see this :)

  16. Anne says


    I have worked in a very, very rural area as a full-time art therapist for almost four years, working in a clinic. I make an above average wage and have good benefits. I have ATR-BC, and LPC credentials as well as an ATRL-licensed art psychotherapist credential. Around here the LPC credential is necessary to bill insurance companies. The clinic carried me for the first 2 years while I worked long enough to achieve my license.

    There are a lot of people and employers who will tell you no out of ignorance of what art therapy can provide to the therapeutic community, but you must have the confidence and conviction of your modality to move ahead in AT. I see a very diverse profile of patients and have had some successful outcomes using art therapy. You must essentially trust the process and know that what you offer is important.To be honest, I had to be the art lady a couple of times in the early years. I had to remember that all art-making is therapeutic. I also have done art therapy in some extreme conditions wherein I was the only educated therapist within 30 miles in all directions dealing with the entire community’s children. Goodness, I love my job as an AT.

    Now, about getting the required face-to-face hours to get the license to bill insurance: it has come to my attention that there are clinics that are advertising for Bachelor’s level therapists, and some are rural. This is a way for them to draw Master’s level therapists for lower pay. However, this is also a way to get the necessary hours needed for a license. Keep this in mind when looking for work. You’ll be underpaid for 2 years, but come out with a license. Those unlicensed jobs are hard to find.

  17. michelle says

    I graduated dec 2010 with my masters at Hofstra University located in Nassau County, Long Island, NY. The program and the professors were all great and highly recommended. I even went to the school there as an undergrad studying psychology and minoring in fine arts.
    It is very hard to find an art therapy job, even harder finding a place that will hire you while you are working towards liscensure. There are a lot more opportunities in the city and in psych facilities or in hospitals.

    networking with colleagues, supervisors and professors will definitely help in the long run. There is always going to be someone who knows someone who needs an AT or there may be a related position that could eventually help you land an AT job.

    I want to work as an AT for kids with special needs but i might have to do AT in a different field until I get licensed. It is an ongoing battle.

  18. kelli says

    I am going to graduate with a BA in Psychology, but had no idea what I wanted to do with it, and also have a desire to be an Art Teacher, but thought, I also love psychology and would hate to waste that degree,… would Art Therapy be a good choice for a masters? I am seeing that there isn’t a great outlook for it, but there isn’t much of an outlook for anything I want to do anyways (LOL) so should I just go for it? It sounds like the perfect combination of what I want! P.s. I live on Long Island, so the outlook is probably much less, right?

  19. says

    Hi there. I am looking quite seriously at entering a masters program for AT but am doing some research first as I would have to take out loans and what not to achieve the degree. I was wondering if anyone was/is familiar with the Portland Oregon market or the Bay area in California. Would anyone have any information on the opportunities available to an AT grad in those areas?

  20. BCVC says

    I earned a master’s degree in art therapy and marriage and family therapy in 2008. I had set out to become an art therapist only and the MFT was just part of the program, everyone said it was better for job security. Well the MFT is what has gotten me jobs in the past few years. The problem is that even though I get to do some art therapy with individual clients and families, also run one group in the summer for kids, that it is not what i actually wanted to do. With all the evidence-based practice, billing, severe diagnosis, and productivity …it makes working as a therapist not my cup of tea. So if anybody tells you that a dual degree will give you job security, they are right, but it may not be what you set out to do, it may not be your dream. Now that I have finished my MFT intern hours I am looking for a different job as a recreational therapist where I can have fun with clients. At this point I’m not motivated to even pass the MFT exam because I don’t see myself opening a private practice unless it’s art therapy. But who will pay?

  21. SA says

    I graduated from an MFT/Art Therapy program in 2003. I have been increasingly disappointed in this “growing field.” As far as I know, not one of the graduates in my cohort is working as an art therapist and they are located all over the country. I have exhaustively pursued opportunities, to the extent that I have been willing to relocate, but they are so few and far between that it feels completely unrealistic. Like BCVC, I have managed to survive due to the MFT component and have been licensed for several years as an MFT. I have used art therapy as a modality where it fits in agency work and in private practice, but am longing for the opportunity to work as an art therapist as part of an interdisciplinary team.

    Not only would I advise folks considering art therapy to not pursue it as a degree (especially a stand-alone degree – nearly useless!), I would advise anyone considering graduate school to avoid master’s level therapist programs altogether. Transferring MFT licensure state to state is a nightmare (especially if you are from CA), and in some states, MFT’s are barely recognized and virtually un-hirable. Get your PhD. Or at the very least, LCSW. Or, at the very, very least, make sure your MA program and subsequent internship will make you eligible for both MFT and LPC licensure (not only in your state, but in any state you might move to – the guidelines are sometimes very inconsistant) and become duly licensed. You will be more employable and more universally recognized and you can augment your therapy skills with training in art therapy. When I was a newly-graduated art therapist, I would have really strongly disagreed, however, 8 years and nearly zero job prospects later, I feel that there are far too many programs/graduates for the opportunities available. I still feel extremely passionate about the power of art to heal, but, at some point, making a steady living and getting some return on the time and financial investment matters, too.

  22. says

    How is everybody? hope all is well. I have a question, I’m an artist, graduated from School of Visual Arts, BFA in Illustration, worked at Bellevue Hospital, as an Assistant Teacher in their Day Care Center,(both in Manhattan, New York) now unempolyed, laid off! I’m thinking of getting my Masters in Art Therapy. Is there a program, where I can learn to be an art therapist, and get paid? If so, could someone, let me know?
    Thank you and have a great day!

  23. Olivia Hendren says

    I’m working on my undergraduate degree’s now in art and psychology and am going to further pursue art therapy in a master’s program. I was wondering if it is better when looking for a job to have a art therapy masters degree from a regualr college or an online college or if it matters. Also i was wondering if the internship requirment for the masters program is a paid intership. If any one had any information i’d greatly appreciate it!

  24. Samantha Wotton says

    I’m 19 years old, and I’m majoring in Art Therapy at Anna Maria College. I’ve recently started to contemplate whether it’s art therapy I want to major in, or something else. I’m worried that I won’t find a job. I live in Maine, so i’m pretty sure, by the sounds of majority of the comments I’ve read, that I would have to move. Which I don’t really want to do, but am willing. i’ve already completed one year, and feel like I’m stuck in the art field because I don’t want get too far behind. As a 19 year old, soon to be sophomore, I still don’t know what I want to do, and it’s scaring me a lot.. Any advice??

  25. Joan says

    The whole outlook of finding art therapy jobs looks kind of bleak. Upon getting a certification and degree, you are now able to open up your own center, great. Where are you going to get the money to do that?? I think that instead of each individual art therapist trying to do private sessions, they should combine their funds with other art therapists or art teachers to open up a center, rather than just one person trying to make it on their own. That way it would be cheaper, and more helping hands in using the practice, and hopefully bring in more funds. I am still unsure of going to masters for art therapy, since my bf wants to get a masters also at either SVA or Pratt Institute. SO our tuition combined would be $128,000. That money could be a downpayment of a house!

  26. Tiffany says

    I’m looking into joining the Art Therapy career. What I’ve found so far for what works me is either Wisconsin, Illinois, or Kentucky to complete what is needed. I’m hearing mixed thoughts on if this is a good career move or not and would love more insight. I have already graduated High School and have an Associate’s Degree. Advice?

  27. Beth Casey says

    After seeing the photo, I thought it was hilarious. Art Therapy is underpaid in many places and undervalued. It is true people will pay more for coffee than for art therapy. In my experience many pyschiatrist or other professionals do not see the value in art therapy.

    What I do not understand here is the states is why are we unable to get reimbursed – that is the biggest issue, other professions who do similar work get reimbursed – we must as a profession make our case.

  28. karina avilez says

    I’ve been wondering how common is it to get a job after graduation here in southern california or nyc after completing a degree in art therapy?

  29. says

    I am sorry to hear so many discouraging comments about working in the field of Art Therapy. Yes. Graduate School is expensive and the economy has been tough for the past few years. I would say, IF it is something a person is really drawn to then they will be one of the passionate fortunate ones to find themselves doing what they love. I have found it to open all kinds of doors. I have had many different facets to my career over the past 17 years, but my foundation as a Master’s level Art Therapist has been key.

    If anyone would like to contact me about my unique career path as an Art Therpist and more, you are welcome to do so. Exploredotuzomaatgmaildotcom.

    • monena says

      I was wondering about doing art therapy combine with my Animation degree which I haven’t got, yet. My parents and family have been pressuring me open my options more. And I have mixed feelings, because reading people’s different reviews on things. I was thinking of going between Art gallery and Art therapy. Of course, I’ve read information and heard others in both these fields. In which case, resulted many struggles(financial issues) and job related issues too. However, the school I wanted to go is the Art institute of Michigan (Novi) they only have two course of psychology and that is Psychology and Social Psychology.

      Now, It’s making rethink everything, where I am back to square one. I don’t want to be struggling for rest of life when it comes to secured a job or worry about money issues every time something takes down fall. I am 25 years old, and I have struggle seven years of trying to my bachelor’s degree. Most of it was financial or family matters problems. I am tired and don’t which way is up anymore. I change art schools twice; both stayed only a year. I need some career that is stabled. I wanted to be animator, but, since that is becoming saturated. Which forced me to elsewhere; to have a back-up. I do not like to struggle nor do I have to find out that no one will hire me because of this.

      I am already struggling as it is. Have been heavily disappointed in many ways of pursuing my dreams. And it going to push me, where I’m going to look in a different career I don’t like, on that hand, produces more money to survive on.

      Sorry for complaining, but, I am in serious need of help. Since you said art therapy had all kinds of of doors open up to you.

  30. Nancy says

    I need some advice. I just finished my BA in psychology and would like to go onto a Maters degree in art therapy and counseling. It is a dual degree because Ohio law does not recognize art therapy as a legitaate therapuetic filed. I am hoping that in the near future this will change. However, after reading all of the post on this site I became very discouraged and wondered if I will be making a big mistake by investing so much time and money into a degree that I may never use. From what I understand, as it stands right now, art therapist have to market themselves. I really need some advice. Should I get a degree in something else? Those of you working in Ohio, what has it been like? The school I would be attending (Ursuline) tells us the market isn’t great out here but the school has a 99% internship rate. Help. What should I do???

  31. says

    I feel your pain when it comes to deciding whether the degree is worth the time and money. I have a Master’s degree in Art Therapy from Florida State University, which I paid approximately $55,000 for out-of-state tuition. Do I feel that the education was worth it? Most Definitely. Is my income comparable to the debt I have acquired? No.

    The best advice that I can give you would be to be honest with yourself. If you have no intention of becoming a licensed Art Therapist or in participating to further legislature or research initiatives for the field, this may not be your best option.

    Art Therapy is not a cake walk. You spend a significant amount of time validating yourself (with the help of your art therapy friends:) and encouraging others to be art therapy advocates. A 99% internship rate is wonderful, but this is not an employement rate.

    As Art Therapists, we often find ourselves having to carve out positions within organizatons that are open to the benefits of Art Therapy. It requires a lot of self-marketing and self-care on our part.

    It’s a wonderful career path, if you are willing to putin the work.

    Good Luck on your search!!

  32. Melissa Tejada says

    Hi everyone !

    Well i’ve read the comments posted on here, I have to say I’m kind of disappointed because of the job search after getting your degree. I have been really undecided with what to do in the future. What really bothers me is science. Science and I tend to not click together. I love the arts though. I love drawing so much and I love kids. Many have suggested I be a teacher, but that’s not something I really want. I like Art Therapy it grabs my attention, and I also like pediatric Physiotherapy. I guess I would like some reassuring that Art therapy is a good career. That it’s worth all the money and all the time. Most of the comments I read here weren’t so reassuring, and that got me a little too upset. But if anybody has any comments about my little trouble , please feel free to comment/ help me .

    my e-mail is

    thank you !!

  33. Joyce says

    Hi, everyone!

    I have read all comments here, which made me realized that an art therapy career might not be very popular. That’s what concerns me so far.

    I am planning to attend John F. Kennedy University, Pleasant Hills, CA for a second master in MFT, specialized in expressive arts. But, I felt like that I wasted my time studying though out-of-state online university. I have a first Master of Science in general psychology. I was supposed to take instership program but there was none of MFT intership programs for me, I felt like I am too old to start over again.

    Is it so worth if I start over again?

    I really want to be a registerd art therapist, I found one university, Belmont, California. They told me that I can take post-master of arts in art therapy. I told them that I dont have any prequities for art therapy. They offer that there are prequities available for me before getting in post-master program. So what do you think?

    For art therapy career, I want to work with disabled people and veterans of military in the art studio on my own business. So it’s pretty challenge for me. If I own my business for art therapy and growing fast, i would consider to hire some art therapists. However, I cannot predict the future yet.

    So, should I go to JFKU to start over again for MFT in expressive arts or go to Norte Dame University to complete post-master?

    Hopefully, you can give me some advices.

    Thank you!

  34. JP says

    Hi, I was just wondering, I know a lot of schools offer an MA in Art Therapy, which allows you to become licensed as a counselor or/as well as an Art Therapist…

    one of the schools I really want to apply to only offers an MPS (Master of Professional Studies)… does anyone know if an MPS in Art Therapy offers this option as well…

    I ask as I really want to be a serious Art Therapist, but if the job market is slim I’d also like to be able to work as a counselor until I found an Art Therapy job

  35. Miki says

    Hey everyone!

    I am almost finished with my BS in art and am really interested in art therapy. I love art, psychology, children, and helping people. I am thinking of attending Marlyhurst in Oregon and gettIng a MA in art therapy. I am really sad to read all the negative comments about art therapy and am really starting to rethink my career choice. I feel kind of lost right now…any advice? Also, how is the job market in Florida? Please send me an email about your experiences or advice! I’d really appreciate it. :)

  36. Jessica says

    I have felt both the negativity and the passion that has been commented on throughout this discussion. I am currently enrolled in a Master’s program of art therapy and I wish to express the indescribable benefits of being an art therapist. Yes, the job market is extremely tough, but if you have the passion, you will find a way.

    At my current internship site, I began an art therapy program. My supervisor is a clinical psychologist who was open to art therapy. Throughout our supervision hours, he has come to truly appreciate the depth of therapy that can be accomplished through the art-making process. My supervisor suggested that I meet with the center director to obtain a job once I graduate.

    So yes, it will be very difficult. But the reward greatly outweighs the challenges.

  37. sara says

    Hi, I live in London. In order to study the Art therapy MA, should i do my BA in Fine Art or Psychology(whilst putting together a portfolio). I have done a-levels in art and psychology and am now doing an Art foundation Diploma. THANK YOU!! PLEASE REPLY ASAP!!!! SARA

  38. LauraRosa says

    Hello everyone,

    I am from Miami FL, I graduated from FIU with my BA in Psychology and a minor in arts. I havee been considering studying art therapy but is has been hard to decide what to do for a Masters between counceling and AT. My fear, as many of you have stated here to be an issue, is the job hunting after such a great investment in the education.

    I love art and i enjoy it with a passion the same way i love helping people and the field of psycholoy.

    I have notice that in some schools ( not that many, maybe i am not hat great in researching school programs) i have notice that you could get certified as a LMHC with some classes through the AT program without necesarly being part of the LMHC masters.

    I wonder if ANY of you know of a school program where you can get certified as an art therapist without necesarly having a masters in art therapy? Meaning, Studying counceling and been able to take the classes necesary for the AT certificaiton.

    FSU is one of the schools who offers 4 LMHC courses in the AT program and, if decided, 3 additional classes to be aligable to work towards the FLorida Mental health licencce.

    I have looked at NYU but WOW thats would be double the price than at FSU and i am not even sure about a certification as anything else.

    If there is any school out there that offers extra clases for ART therapy while doing a different masters? THE HELP WILL BE APRECIATED

  39. LauraRosa says


    Forgot to mention! The advisor from the psyhcology Graduate school told me that it could be more beneficial to get a counceling degree and if I was interested in art therapy i could participate in workshops and seminars, since art therapy is more of a tool. I didnt really have to have a degree in Art therapy in oder to apply art therapy in a session with a client? i would like to hear more about this from everyone out there who is an art therapist, i hope i do not offen anyone by this i am just trying to have a more complete image on how to go about this

  40. says

    Hi Laura,
    How unfortunate that the advisor is so misinformed about art therapy. Of course a trained art therapist has the ability to offer much much more in depth professional application of art therapy then someone who has a therapy or counseling degree and uses art therapy. Yes you can choose to simply learn some aspects of art therapy “via technique” or “tool” and use it in your therapy and counseling practice without a degree but thank God those who wish to understand the depths of the subject dare to go further so that those who can benefit get the opportunity. That is not to say using art should ever be discouraged but we must not misunderstand the importance of supporting the integrity of a profession and the reason for its existence.

    There is a difference between learning to play a few chords on the guitar to hold sing alongs and learning classical music sort of speak.
    Given that I agree with your advisor on one front, in a perfect world one would be able to get hired and practice as an art therapist simply because one has the credentials and the ability. This is not so and is a serious shame. If in the end art therapy loses its potential professional power due to over application of tool or “technique” from others without depth so as to “wash down” its power, we all lose.
    I personally would recommend getting an art therapy degree that also assures your ability to get licensed as a marriage and family or licensed professional counselor as you have stated because art therapist jobs are rare in my experience.

    Many programs offer Art Therapy Counseling or art therapy with marriage and family. Having the depth of understanding to really use art therapy in your practice however goes way beyond technique and the training will stay with you forever. Just my opinion after using art in my counseling work for 16 years, teaching art for another 12 and then returning for my masters in art therapy so I could really study, understand and apply my knowledge to the people I serve. Disappointingly I am in great demand for free services but few will pay. Many want me to work with them so they can learn a technique and apply it themselves and when the grant ends have me move on.

  41. Jen says

    Hi, I would like to know if anyone has advice as far as choosing graduate schools for Expressive Arts Therapy. So far, I have looked at JFK University, CIIS in San Francisco and San Diego University. Does anyone know the differences between the schools or could give me some guidance? Thanks!

  42. Adriana says

    I am a few semesters away from graduating with a BA in Sociology and a BA in Hispanic Studies with a minor in Art. I tried to get a broad spectrum degree in undergraduate so I could benefit from all aspects for graduate. Hispanic Studies can broaden a clientele and I know that is important today. I realize how tough and competitive job markets are nowadays, but I figure that almost anything worth our efforts and time will be tough to accomplish. With that being said, I am very interested in Art Therapy, it has been my goal since my senior year in high school.

    As I am approaching the time to really decide on what programs to go towards and not just day dream, I am confused as to what direction is most beneficial in getting a job. MA in Art Therapy, MPS in Art therapy, MA in Counseling Psychology:Art Therapy, MA in Expressive Therapies: Art Therapy and Mental Health Counseling, I mean the descriptions go for days… Not to mention that my tuition has been paid for by financial aid all 4 years in college. Expensive tuition is expected when applying to graduate school but I still have to survive.

    I am curious if anyone has any recommendations as to which degree programs are better and what school offers them. I have looked into most of the programs on the American Art Therapy Association website, but I am still confused. If anyone could shine a little light or just voice opinions I’d be very grateful!

  43. MS says

    These decisions are always based on and a divide between a. what you have a passion to do and b. what can you survive and thrive with. I wish each of you the best. I have been contemplatind a career in art therapy for 8 years. I have continued to seek information about my desire to be in this profession but I am surronded by the pressure into something practical. Best wishes to all of you.

  44. Sara says

    There seems to be a great divide between what we, as the artists know is intrinsically valuable, and what the business world sees as valuable and is willing to pay for (we all know they need our services, haha). However, once one becomes an Art Therapist, how do we market our degree and abilities, and the healing power of art in a way that we get good-paying jobs? After all, we paid good money for our degrees! Ideas?

  45. says

    I studied art therapy in Canada, worked for several years on that credential, and then followed that graduate credential up with a second degree in ecosystemic/developmental clinical practice. I found that my job opportunities expanded once I also had the second masters and clinical credential that was more traditional and more well recognized in the province (BC) and now the state (California) where I live. I advise anyone entering into the art therapy profession to consider a dual degree program where you can end up with a credential in art therapy and in counseling psychology/MFT as this combination opens many more doors that a solo art therapy credential does. My experience has been that the traditional credential opens the door for me to be considered for a job and the art therapy credential makes me a more valued applicant/employee.

  46. KristinaR says

    Hi! I’m currently in Freshman at an art school, and though it is early, I’m already worrying about the future of my career. I am torn between interior architecture and drawing, and with a BFA in drawing, would it be wise to pursue art therapy? Any advice from those of you already in the field would be great. Both options seem to be not the best career move, but if it’s what I love, then it won’t be work.

  47. cassandra says

    Hello! I’m currently debating whether or not to pursue art therapy. The school nearby offers an MFT license with emphasis on expressive art therapy. I was close to getting a BFA in illustration, but recently dropped out due to the cost, and the realization that I dont want to be a freelance artist, I’d rather directly HELP people more.
    Im planning on finishing my B.A. and continuing to getting an MFA in art therapy.
    Anyone in the feild, please enlighten me on the challenges of being a successful art therapist. Does it help to be a licensed MFT in case there arent many opportunities for an art therapist?
    Furthermore, how has your experiences in art therapy been….does it truly work and make a difference in patients lives? I believe the answer is yes, but I would like to hear what others believe too as reinforcement. I’m sort of on the rocks right now because i’m going through a sort of transitional phase with school.

    Any advice or insights will help.
    Thanks! :)

  48. Tammy Hauser says

    My daughter is an upcoming high school senior. She has discovered a school that offers a bachelors in Art Therapy. She is thinking of getting the BS and then getting a doctorate in Occupational Therapy. Is this a good idea? Does it make sense? Would it help her job chances in general since there is a higher demand for occupational therapists? I guess we were wondering if it would make her more “marketable”.

  49. janice says

    The best way to work toward becoming an art therapist is to make sure that you have a partner who is well off. That way someone else can pay your living expenses while you get to tell everyone about your impressive but mostly non paying work as an art therapist. When your partner starts to have a meltdown you will have all the psycobabble tools necessary to console your partner yet continue getting a free ride until the day you are ready to retire having earned nothing. By then your partner will probably have died of a heart attack and hopefully they will leave you enough money to carry on telling everyone you are a retired art therapist or some bullshit like that.

    • psychobabbler artist says

      Perhaps you might consider some personal art therapy. Being so jaded, even though you express with some humor, can’t be fun.

  50. Adrien says

    I’m a freshman in high school and graduate in 2018. I’ve been looking into this occupation but the job outlook is hazy. I am wondering is this job is good on money (enough to pay off student loans) and support a family with out much struggle; any opinions?

  51. Lucy says

    Hi Everyone! I have a BA in Psychology and am planning on applying to Masters programs… Does anyone know if it is possible to become a certified Art Therapist after going through a regular MFT masters program? Thanks! I’m looking at M.A’s in MFT and MA’s in Art Therapy.

  52. Raquel says


    I am just overwhelmed by the negativity and skepticism of those whom have lost their spark. I was looking forward to this profession, especially in the Portland Oregon area. It seems so many people have turned out disappointed with their outcome, but don’t want one blog page to dissuade so many. I graduated high school 2014, and am taking classes at Portland Community College for two years in order to save money. My primary choice of career was Art Education for a long time, when I realized that Art Therapy existed. I love Art, and the effect it has on people. It was my only sanity in high school, and I knew I wanted to spread creativity and ingenuity to students. Currently I am taking courses involving Pyschology and Art, but I would like to future farm my best.

    Do any current AT’s have advise for me as for schooling? Should I focus on Psych as my Batchelor’s degree, first? Would this open me to a wider career path? What if it were Art Education, and I mastered in Art Therapy? I never seem to find a decent answer to this question, and it would be very nice to hear the opinion of someone in this career path.

  53. slowdive says

    Remember, ‘hitting the target’ is not impossible. But it’s always smart to plan around the target of an Art Therapist career, as most programs are beginning to do now… Ask yourself, would you be willing to work as a counseling psychologist, mental health counselor, case manager, guidance counselor, or art teacher while waiting for an art therapy position to open up? Is the salary range of $35-42,000 acceptable for you? Would you be willing to move out of state for work, or even start a business of your own? Does your master’s program prepare you beyond an Art Therapy degree?–not many states allow the practice of Art Therapy itself, as I’ve found. Will the time and money spent be worth it? Be honest with yourself and question, question. Go to an art therapy conference if you can. Talk to the art therapists there and listen to what they have to say. Listen intently with your ears and your body. Sit with it for days or weeks. How does the career of art therapist feel in your body? Whatever you decide, follow your heart and at the same time use discernment (don’t lose your footing). very important. hope this helps. Good luck!

  54. Casey Sundahl says

    I have a BFA in Fine/ Visual Arts and an MAT in Secondary Art Education (grades K-12). I’m looking at a few AT programs around the East Coast/ South. Since I have a Master’s already, I have looked into a great program that offers a Doctorate in Art Education specializing in Art Therapy and Counseling. Since I don’t have a MS in Art Therapy, do you think that this would be the best track for me? Or would it be best to do the extended PhD that included picking up the course work and practicum for the AT program, even though I did a practicum for my MAT and have a few years of teaching experience? The program I found is at Florida State. Awesome program, but would mean moving my son and husband with me to Tallahassee, FL. With the acceptance rate and such, I think it would be an amazing opportunity, but is it worth it? Do you all think this would be something to honestly pursue? Thanks!

  55. Jolie Jones says

    Any recommendations on an institute or professional organization to join for art therapy? I live in Texas currently, but anywhere within the U.S. would be suffice?

  56. Tara says

    Really interesting to read the comments here. I, too, am considering a master’s program in AT to prepare for a career, which for me would be a career change (I’m actually the ripe age of 43 already). There’s some trends here in the comments of the posters as many seem surprised to find out that there are challenges finding dedicated jobs in the field, or are seeking info on prospects in their states or cities or the advantages/disadvantages of certain degrees. Admittedly, I was surprised by some of the questions. Nothing greater can be said for doing as much of your own research as possible. There are so many variables that can make a difference in these things, especially when you factor in what type of AT job you see yourself in. Hospital setting? Private practice? Community organization? University teaching, even?

    Coming from special education teaching, where jobs are prevalent, I was very aware of the AT job shortage when I first began considering a career change to AT. That was not a deterrent but it may have been a different story, for me, at 20. I am in NYC. We have the best art therapy programs and schools, widespread acceptance of art as a therapeutic modality (from what I observe) and “the arts” in general, and there is tight regulation of the AT field as a mental health profession. Yet, even here jobs prospects are limited.

    Many posters mentioned a love of art and knowing they wanted to help people, and of course that is a great starting place. I had that starting place, too (I went to art school back in the early ’90s, and have an art teaching license, although I teach special education). There are many ways to help people, of course, and many ways to be creative or work in an art field. I encourage everyone to consider all the different options that are option to them. I know what type of job I am interested in (private practice), the populations, mental health and learning/cognitive issues I would like to work with in my therapeutic practice. I’ve spoke with several therapists in independent practice (though no art therapists, yet, though I will) about their challenges. Frustrations around insurance billing is a MAJOR theme! I have researched the cost of space in this very expensive town I live in. I’ve done all of this before even applying to an AT program, though I have thoroughly researched the various programs. I know my first and second choice and when I would begin if I decide to proceed. All that being said, I am still deciding. Because….

    TL:DR — jobs = yes, challenging / research! research! research! — everyone’s decision will be their own

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