Professional Resources

Becoming an Art Therapist

How does one become an art therapist?

1) Start by researching the profession of an art therapy. This information can be found on the American Art Therapy Association’s website.

2) Prepare to apply for a master’s program by researching which prerequisite classes are necessary for the master’s level art therapy program you are planning to apply for. These are usually posted on the program’s website. These prerequisite classes include both psychology and fine arts classes. Some undergraduate institutions offer art therapy tracks, which are helpful, but not necessary to apply for graduate school.

3) 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.

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

5) 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. at

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

Brief Overview of the Art Therapy Profession

Education and Training Standards

EPAB Approved Art Therapy Programs

What are the advantages or disadvantages of attending an approved school over a non-approved school?

The Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB) allows a graduate of an approved school to apply to be a registered art therapist after 100 hours of clinical supervision. The ATCB requires a student from an unapproved school to have many additional supervision hours before applying to be a registered art therapist.

Most states require an art therapist to hold an additional state counseling license to bill private insurance or federal insurance programs, such as Medicaid. Therefore, in addition to an ATR or ATR-BC, most art therapists in Vermont hold dual credentials: an LCMHC, LicSW, or other mental health care provider and an ATR or ATR-BC.

ATAV is currently in the process of applying for state licensure for the ATR-BC, which should lead to those credentialed as an ATR-BC to no longer maintain an addition license to be reimbursed for services funded through federal health insurance, such as Medicaid and other private insurance companies. The public would also be protected from the malpractice of art therapy by individuals who do not have adequate or approbate training to safely use art for clinical intervention with those seeking mental health services.  If approved, an art therapist would need to obtain and maintain an ATR-BC through the ATCB to meet the standards for state licensure.

AATA Approved Graduate Training Programs

Professional Resources

Vermont State Licensure for ATR-BCs

From Lisa Myers, ATAV Government Affairs Committee Chair:

We are in the process of providing the OPR with recommendations for rule changes to the educational requirements for the LCMHC to better accommodate art therapists seeking licensure in Vermont.

If you currently reside and practice  as an art therapist in Vermont, please join us for GAC meetings to contribute to this process.

Lisa Myers, ATAV GAC Chair