Art Therapists

Health Science > Therapeutic Services

Projected Growth: Faster than average

Projected Job Openings

Extensive Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to Plan or conduct art therapy sessions or programs to improve clients’ physical, cognitive, or emotional well-being.

Common job titles of Art Therapists include:

Experience and Education

Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.

  • 76.19% said they needed a Master's Degree.

  • 23.81% said they needed a Post-Master's Certificate.


    Instruct individuals or groups in the use of art media, such as paint, clay, or yarn.

    Develop individualized treatment plans that incorporate studio art therapy, counseling, or psychotherapy techniques.

    Observe and document client reactions, progress, or other outcomes related to art therapy.

    Interpret the artistic creations of clients to assess their functioning, needs, or progress.

    Gather client information from sources such as case documentation, client observation, or interviews of client or family members.

    Establish goals or objectives for art therapy sessions in consultation with clients or site administrators.

    Write treatment plans, case summaries, or progress or other reports related to individual clients or client groups.

    Design art therapy sessions or programs to meet client's goals or objectives.

    Conduct art therapy sessions, providing guided self-expression experiences to help clients recover from, or cope with, cognitive, emotional, or physical impairments.

    Talk with clients during art or other therapy sessions to build rapport, acknowledge their progress, or reflect upon their reactions to the artistic process.

    Teach art therapy techniques or processes to artists, interns, volunteers, or others.

    Supervise staff, volunteers, practicum students, or interns.

    Select or prepare artistic media or related equipment or devices to accomplish therapy session objectives.

    Confer with other professionals on client's treatment team to develop, coordinate, or integrate treatment plans.

    Communicate client assessment findings and recommendations in oral, written, audio, video, or other forms.

    Assess client needs or disorders, using drawing, painting, sculpting, or other artistic processes.

    Analyze or synthesize client data to draw conclusions or make recommendations for art therapy.

    Review research or literature in art therapy, psychology, or related disciplines.

    Customize art therapy programs for specific client populations, such as those in schools, nursing homes, wellness centers, prisons, shelters, or hospitals.

    Analyze data to determine the effectiveness of treatments or therapy approaches.

    Recommend or purchase needed art supplies or equipment.

    Conduct information sharing sessions, such as in-service workshops for other professionals, potential client groups, or the general community.

    Photograph or videotape client artwork for inclusion in client records or for promotional purposes.

    Coordinate field trips for client groups to museums or other public displays of art.

    Coordinate art showcases to display artwork produced by clients.


Tablet computers

Razor knives

Hot glue guns

Hole punches

Edge punches

Digital still cameras

Digital camcorders

All Tools

Digital audio recorders

Computer data input scanners

Circle cutters

Artists’ scissors

Artists’ paintbrushes

Artists’ easels

35 millimeter cameras


Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign

IBM SPSS Statistics

Trimble SketchUp Pro

Appointment scheduling software

Autodesk Maya

Case management software

All Technologies

Image databases


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.


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.

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.


Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.


Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.


Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.


Teaching others how to do something.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Systems Evaluation

Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.


Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

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