Know the Facts About a Career in Art Therapy

If you are considering a career in art therapy, you are probably a creative and caring person – this is the kind of person who makes the best art therapist. The field of art therapy involves therapeutic methods using forms of expression and creativity to help people improve their emotional, mental and physical health. Art therapy can help people resolve personal issues, find relief from inner turmoil, manage anger and other negative emotions, reduce stress and improve their sense of confidence and self-worth. Art therapists may work in private practice, or they may work in schools, prisons and mental health facilities. If this sounds like a fascinating and rewarding career, it would be worth your time to learn more about the job options in this field.

Education and Training Requirements
As with most therapy professionals, a college education is required to become an art therapist. Some jobs are open to bachelor’s degree-holders, but these tend to be entry-level positions, such as therapy assistants. In most cases, the job will require a master’s degree, and some art therapists in more prestigious positions hold doctoral degrees. After you have completed a graduate degree, you will also need to complete an internship to qualify for licensing and certification in most states; even if this is not a requirement where you live, it is a great way to boost your chances of getting a good job. Education requirements may also include courses in art, although you don’t necessarily have to be a good artist to be an art therapist.

Career Outlook
Although art therapy has been around for a while, it has grown a great deal in the last five years. Jobs dried up a bit in 2009 following the economic downturn, but things have been picking up since 2010 in the United States. If you are willing to relocate, you will have the best luck finding a good job in this field, as some areas of the country have a higher demand for art therapists than others. Larger cities tend to be the best places to start an art therapy career.
Salary Information
The average starting salary for art therapists is approximately $39,000. For those with great skills, experience and reputations in the higher-paying metropolitan areas, it’s possible to earn a six-figure salary as an art therapist. This is not the norm, though, and one should always go into a career with a realistic vision and goals.