Becoming an Art Therapist
Training for the professional practice of art therapy requires a master’s degree from institutions of higher education recognized by regional accreditation bodies that are approved by the Department of Education. Minimum educational, professional, and ethical standards for the profession are established by the American Art Therapy Association. A list of approved programs can be found on the website of the American Art Therapy Association.
The nearest graduate level programs to Maryland are:
George Washington University (Washington, DC)
Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)
Eastern Virginia Medical School (Norfolk, VA)
** Saint Mary-Of-The-Woods College (St. Mary-Of-The-Woods, IN) offers the only AATA approved long-distance (online) Master's degree in Art Therapy.**
Credentials and Licensing
A national credential is offered through the Art Therapy Credentials Board, with two levels:
Registered Art Therapist (ATR) is the credential that ensures an art therapist has successfully completed specific graduate-level education in art therapy and gained supervised, post-graduate clinical experience.
Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC) is the highest-level art therapy credential. ATR-BCs pass a national examination, demonstrating comprehensive knowledge of the theories and clinical skills used in art therapy.
**The ATR and ATR-BC are not equal to a state's license, and therefore may not be recognized by private insurance companies as eligible for billing or reimbursement**
In addition to the art therapy credential, it is possible for an art therapist to also have a state license to practice mental health counseling. Each state sets unique qualifications for their licenses, so it is possible that no two states have the same criteria.
Few of the 50 states are fortunate enough to have either a separate license for Art Therapists, or some accommodation that specifically includes them under an existing license. These are listed below:
State laws with professional art therapy licenses:
Licensed Professional Art Therapist - New Jersey
Licensed Professional Art Therapist – New Mexico
Licensed Professional Art Therapist – Kentucky
Licensed Professional Art Therapist – Mississippi
Licensed Clinical Professional Art Therapist – Maryland
*For more on the Maryland Art Therapy license, please see the Licensure section of this website.
State laws licensing art therapists under other professional licenses:
Licensed Professional Counselor with Specialty Designation in Art Therapy – Texas
Art Therapy included in the Creative Arts Therapist License – New York
Art Therapy as a Related Field for the Professional Counselor License – Pennsylvania
Registered Art Therapist with a License to Practice Psychotherapy – Wisconsin