Art Therapist

Art Therapists help people deal with issues and emotions by helping them to express themselves through art.

The Role(s)

Art Therapists help people to express themselves through art. They create a secure environment which helps people build their self awareness and self confidence.

Art Therapists work with people of all ages including

  • children
  • young people
  • adults
  • the elderly

Clients may have a range of difficulties such as

  • emotional, behavioural or mental health problems
  • learning or physical disabilities
  • neurological conditions or physical illnesses

You could work one-to-one or in groups.


Skills and abilities

Useful skills include

  • artistic skills and ideas
  • communication skills.

Useful abilities include

  • flexibility
  • resourcefulness
  • resilience
  • sensitivity
  • maturity


Entry Requirements

To practice as an Art Therapist, you must be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).

In order to register with the HCPC, you must first successfully complete an approved postgraduate qualification in Art Therapy. You will usually need a first degree in Art or a relevant subject.

Courses take two years full time or three years part time.

The British Association of Arts Therapists (BAAT) runs an 'Introduction to Art Therapy' course which could help you decide if this is the right career area for you.


Modern Apprenticeships

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

Currently, there are no Modern Apprenticeships which would lead directly to a career as an Art Therapist.


Learning and Development

Once qualified, Art Therapists can join the British Association of Arts Therapists (BAAT).

Registered Art Therapists have to keep their skills and knowledge up to date through Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

BAAT runs courses, conferences and seminars where Art Therapists can exchange ideas and update their skills.

You could specialise in a particular type of client such as children, the elderly or offenders or you could become a specialist in a particular issue such as dementia, mental health or palliative care.

As an experienced practitioner, you could become a Senior or Consultant Art Therapist, managing the work of a team of therapists.

You could become the head of an Arts Therapy department, coordinating the work of therapists from other disciplines such as music or dramatherapists. You could also train other Art Therapists. 

Professional Bodies

Find out more information from these professional bodies

British Association of Arts Therapists