Art Therapist

Use activities like painting or crafts to treat patients' emotional issues.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$25,000 – $63,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Art Therapists do?

Art Therapists are a type of mental health professional who use the sight and creation of art to help their patients work through illness, mental issues or past trauma. Your patients come from all over, including retirement homes, halfway houses, women’s shelters, psychiatric hospitals, and schools. Along with good art skills an open mind, lots of patience and good listening skills are important tools for Art Therapists in their dealings with these ranges of clients and illnesses.

The premise of an Art Therapist’s job is that art helps a patient boost their self-esteem, work through a loss, lower their anxiety, and overall improve their mental, emotional and well-being. Using this theory you work with a wide range of patients with a wide range of issues: In one day you may find yourself working with a young burn victim, an elderly AIDS patient, someone with depression or schizophrenia, and a person with developmental needs.

You make your therapy plans by combining psychology with different forms of art, creating personalized sessions that include activities such as loom weaving, picture painting, or quilt sewing to address a patient’s individual therapy needs. Throughout the sessions you keep track of your client’s progress with detailed records, notes and charts to see what is helping the patient, and if you are meeting your overall therapy goals.


Should I be an Art Therapist?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • Also known as: Art Therapy Certified Supervisor, Art Therapy Specialist, Board Certified Arts Therapist, Certified Art Therapist See More

    How to become an Art Therapist

    Most Art Therapists have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aca9aa&chl=|certificate+%284%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2896%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,96
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