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Art Therapist

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Life As an Art Therapist

Art Therapist Job Description Plan or conduct art therapy sessions or programs to improve clients' physical, cognitive, or emotional well-being.

What Do Art Therapists Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Supervise staff, volunteers, practicum students, or interns.
  • Assess client needs or disorders, using drawing, painting, sculpting, or other artistic processes.
  • Photograph or videotape client artwork for inclusion in client records or for promotional purposes.
  • Teach art therapy techniques or processes to artists, interns, volunteers, or others.
  • Conduct art therapy sessions providing guided self-expression experiences to help clients recover from or cope with cognitive, emotional, or physical impairments.
  • Customize art therapy programs for specific client populations, such as those in schools, nursing homes, wellness centers, prisons, shelters, or hospitals.

Art Therapist Required Skills

These are the skills Art Therapists say are the most useful in their careers:

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Types of Art Therapist Jobs

  • Therapist
  • Expressive Therapist
  • Creative Art Therapist
  • Group Therapist
  • Counselor/Art Therapist

Are There Job Opportunities for Art Therapists?

In the United States, there were 19,200 jobs for Art Therapist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 6.8% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,300 new jobs for Art Therapist by 2026. The BLS estimates 1,200 yearly job openings in this field.

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The states with the most job growth for Art Therapist are Alaska, Colorado, and Washington. Watch out if you plan on working in Alabama, Wyoming, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Art Therapists Salary

Art Therapists make between $29,590 and $77,050 a year.

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Art Therapists who work in California, District of Columbia, or Nevada, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Art Therapists in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $42,860
Arizona $49,440
Arkansas $50,170
California $75,810
Colorado $49,300
Connecticut $59,450
Delaware $46,320
District of Columbia $68,430
Florida $48,290
Georgia $43,950
Hawaii $55,470
Idaho $40,770
Illinois $46,620
Indiana $42,280
Iowa $52,470
Kansas $35,850
Kentucky $45,330
Louisiana $41,180
Maine $49,390
Maryland $48,690
Massachusetts $55,570
Michigan $51,280
Minnesota $54,660
Mississippi $38,470
Missouri $46,000
Montana $44,730
Nebraska $39,420
Nevada $58,480
New Hampshire $46,660
New Jersey $58,220
New Mexico $38,680
New York $55,370
North Carolina $47,600
North Dakota $43,910
Ohio $45,750
Oklahoma $37,760
Oregon $55,410
Pennsylvania $45,900
Rhode Island $49,310
South Carolina $42,240
South Dakota $50,480
Tennessee $41,660
Texas $43,070
Utah $48,230
Vermont $43,120
Virginia $47,590
Washington $59,860
Wisconsin $44,970
Wyoming $50,170

Tools & Technologies Used by Art Therapists

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Art Therapists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
  • Trimble SketchUp Pro
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Creative Suite
  • Appointment scheduling software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe AfterEffects
  • Autodesk Maya
  • Case management software

Becoming an Art Therapist

What kind of Art Therapist requirements are there?

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How Long Does it Take to Become an Art Therapist?

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Where Art Therapists Are Employed

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The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

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References:

Image Credit: Barbara E. Carver via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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