Mental Health Careers--Art Therapy

cups of colored paint and person with paintbrush dipping into brown paint Using your Psychology degree to earn a Master's degree as an Art Therapist

To those with artistic ability, you might consider using your Psychology degree to earn a Master's degree as an Art Therapist. An Art Therapist combines knowledge and understanding of human development and psychological theories with the visual arts and the creative process. This combination provides a unique approach for helping clients improve mental health, cognitive abilities, and sensory-motor functions. Art Therapists use art media, and often the verbal processing of produced imagery, to help people resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.

Moving forward to earn a Master's degree in Art Therapy is a bit more complicated than that of other Masster's degrees. This is because, you will need to have a degree in art in addition to your Psychology degree. Once you enter an Art Therapy graduate program, it will usually take about 2 years to earn your Master's degree. Your degree typically culminates with a master's thesis (research or other type of project). Keep in mind that during your time in graduate school you will likely have to pay tuition. Also, there may be few chances to receive financial support (e.g., as a Teaching Assistant--TA). With your Art Therapy degree you will need to be credentialed by the Art Therapy Credentials Board--there are 4 types of credentials. 

In the end your Master's degree should offer you greater job opportunities and greater salary than a Bachelor’s degree, and also allows you to be licensed by a state to do certain activities (e.g., testing, therapy). It is important to note, however, that only a few states have a specific licenses to practice Art Therapy, and there are a fews others that regulate Art Therapy under another professional license. Check the American Art Therapy Association website below for more information on licensing issues.

Salary Information

The American Art Therapy Association lists the average yearly income for an art therapist between $30,00 and $80,000.

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Click on the links below to read about other Mental Health careers that only require a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology:

Mental Health Careers--Mental Health Technician

Mental Health Careers--Social Work Assistant

Mental Health Careers-Foster Care Case Manager

Click on the links below to read about other Mental Health careers that require a Master's Degree:

Mental Health Careers--Genetic Counselor

Mental Health Careers--Licensed Professional Counselor

Mental Health Careers--Marriage and Family Therapist

Mental Health Careers--Master of Social Work

Mental Health Careers--Master's in Psychology

Mental Health Careers--Pastoral Counseling

Mental Health Careers--School Counseling

Mental Health Careers--Substance Abuse Counselor

Click on the links below to read about other Mental Health careers that require a Doctoral or Professional Degree:

Mental Health Careers--Doctoral Degree in Psychology 

Mental Health Careers--Psychiatrist