What is art therapy?

Art therapists are masters level professionals who hold a degree in art therapy or a related field. Educational requirements include: theories of art therapy, counseling, and psychotherapy; ethics and standards of practice; assessment and evaluation; individual, group, and family techniques; human and creative development; multicultural issues; research methods; and practicum experiences in clinical, community, and/or other settings. Art therapists are skilled in the application of a variety of art modalities (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other media) for assessment and treatment.

Art therapy is used with children, adolescents, adults, older adults, groups, and families to assess and treat mental health issues. Art therapists are masters level professionals who hold a degree in art therapy. To learn more about the professional credentialing of art therapists, please visit the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB).

More information on on the ethical principles for art therapists can be found on AATA’s ethics page.

FAQs

How do you become an art therapist?

  • Start by researching the profession. Tons of information can be found on the American Art Therapy Association’s website

  • Attain a master’s degree in art therapy. Even if you earned a bachelor’s degree in the field, a master’s degree is required to practice as a clinician and to become a registered art therapist.

  • Check your state’s licensing requirements for regulations regarding the practice of art therapy.

  • Visit your local art therapy chapter and American Art Therapy Association websites for access to scholarship information, professional publications, a list of undergraduate programs, etc.

  • Contact an art therapist if you are interested in learning more about a firsthand account of an art therapist’s journey.

How do I become a registered and/or board certified art therapist?

Contact the ATCB National Office for Official Requirements at http://www.atcb.org/

The ATCB provides national registration (ATR) of completion for Master’s level work at an approved Art Therapy education program, two years of supervised practice and, board certification (BC) to those ATR art therapists who pass a nationally administered exam.

What types of credentials can art therapist's have?

  • Provisional Art Therapist (ATR-P)

  • Registered Art Therapist (ATR)

  • Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC)

  • Art Therapy Certified Supervisor (ATCS)

What are the advantages of becoming registered and board certified?

The ATR-BC is the highest credential you can earn as an art therapist. The ATR-BC is an assurance to employers, clients, and the public that you have met the rigorous standards set by a nationally recognized credentialing body.

Where can I learn more and/or become registered?

Contact the ATCB National Office for Official Requirements at http://www.atcb.org/

The ATCB provides national registration (ATR) of completion for Master’s level work at an approved Art Therapy education program, two years of supervised practice and, board certification (BC) to those ATR art therapists who pass a nationally administered exam

​If I am moving from another state to practice art therapy, what do I need to know about art therapy in Massachusetts? What resources are available to me to?

Join NEATA! We often can connect you with a few people who have recently gone through the same process and can share their experience and advice.

Licensure Info:

Maine

Does Maine offer an art therapy license? No

Does Maine license related professions? Yes

Licensing Agency: Maine Board of Counseling Professionals

Massachusetts

Does Massachusetts offer an art therapy license? No

Does Massachusetts license related professions? Yes

Licensing Agency: Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions

Rhode Island

Does Rhode Island offer an art therapy license? No

Does Rhode Island license related professions? Yes

Licensing Agency: Rhode Island Board of Mental Health Counselors

Connecticut

Does Connecticut offer an art therapy license? Yes!

Does Connecticut license related professions? Yes

Licensing Agency: Connecticut Department of Public Health

Please check out the Connecticut Art Therapy Association (CATA) for more information.

Vermont

Does Vermont offer an art therapy license? No

Does Vermont license related professions? Yes

Licensing Agency: Vermont Board of Allied Mental Health Office of Professional Regulation

Please check out the Art Therapy Association of Vermont (ATAV) for more information

New Hampshire

Does New Hampshire offer an art therapy license? No

Does New Hampshire license related professions? Yes

Licensing Agency: New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice

New Hampshire currently has title protection for art therapists

Education Info:

Undergraduate Art Therapy Programs in New England:

  • Ana Marie College Paxton, MA - BA in Art Therapy

  • Emmanuel College Boston, MA - BA in Art Therapy

  • Endicott College Beverly, MA - BFA in Art Therapy

  • Lesley University Cambridge, MA - BS in Art Therapy

  • Springfield College Springfield, MA - BS in Art Therapy

  • University of New England Biddeford & Portland, ME - Minor in Art Therapy

AATA Approved Graduate Programs in New England: