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Art therapist


Job Description


Art therapists help people overcome mental health issues and behavioral difficulties by expressing themselves through creative activities. They will work with a wide range of patients who are affected by various issues and will guide them through the creative process to encourage them to engage with their feelings.

Entry Requirements

To become an Art Therapist you will need a relevant degree followed by a postgraduate course or an apprenticeship.


You will need a degree in art or creative therapies which will allow you to take your postgraduate course.

For your degree you will usually need 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent.

Click here to search for a suitable course.

Your postgraduate qualification will need to be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council.

Full-time postgraduate courses normally take 2 years to complete. Part-time courses take 3 years.

You may be also able to apply if you've got a degree in a related subject, for example psychology, nursing or social work.


You may be able to do an arts therapist degree apprenticeship but will need a degree in a relevant subject to qualify for the degree apprenticeship.

You will also need a qualification and experience in art, drama or music to apply.

Click here to search for an apprenticeship.

Career Tips

You'll need paid or voluntary experience in community arts projects or youth work, or experience of working with people with disabilities or mental health issues.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.

You could try an introductory or foundation course in art therapy to give you an idea of what the work is like.

You'll find more details about this career, courses and training through the British Association of Art Therapists and Health Careers.

You'll need to pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults.

Career Path and Progression

With experience, you could become self-employed and build up your own practice. 

You could also become a senior arts therapist and manage a team of therapists, manage an arts therapy unit, or move into teaching.

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • Music therapist
  • Fine artist
  • Dance movement psychotherapist
  • Art Teacher

Required Skills

You'll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Salary Range

£31,365 to £44,503

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