Becoming An Art Therapist

How to Become an Art Therapist

  1. How does one become an art therapist?

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

  • Prepare to apply for a master’s program by researching what prerequisite classes are necessary for the master’s level art therapy program to which you plan to apply. These are usually posted on the program’s website.  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.

  • 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. at

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

  1. What are all those letters behind an art therapists name and what do they mean?

  • ATR is defined as an active Registered Art Therapist with the Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc. (ATCB).

  • Once a provider has earned the ATR, she or he is eligible to attain the BC or Board Certification by taking the Art Therapy Credentials Board Examination (ATCBE). The ATR-BC is required to fulfill on-going continuing education requirements in art therapy and is periodically subject to recertification.