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What majors would I need to take to become an Art Therapist for teens or kids?

Hi I am a freshman in high school and I was wondering what majors for college I would need to take to be an art therapist for teens and kids. I want to go into therapy and I want to know what to do to get there. #art #majors #therapy #teenagers #art-therapy


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Andrea’s Answer

You would definitely need to focus on psychology and fine art classes (i.e., drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, etc.). And....definitely go the ART THERAPIST route and don't get pulled into becoming a licensed clinical therapist. Many schools are now combining art therapy with clinical therapy in order to train you to be a professional licensed counselor. You will only end up taking more courses, more time, more money...and you'll accumulate more debt. Also, make sure you apply colleges with art therapy programs that are AATA (American Art Therapy Association) approved. Check out the AATA website for their listing of national and international colleges that offer AATA approved art therapy programs. Also, look into grants that you might be able to apply for through the AATA (American Art Therapy Association). You might want to look into St. Mary of the Woods University in Indiana....they are the only school that offers an AATA approved online art therapy program and the cost is very reasonable in comparison to other Art Therapy programs.


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Ellen’s Answer

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Hi Katrina!
Art Therapy is a great field, and it is growing in importance. (The wife of Vice President Pence is an art therapist--let's hope she is able to call attention to this valuable field!) It is also a relatively young field, so there will be changes and different programs developed in how art therapists are trained. So try to be flexible; you've got a few years to figure this out. At the very least you will want courses in psychology, studio art, and art education. If you love art and want to work with children to help them overcome the challenges in their lives through art making, good for you!


Since you want to work with children, that most likely will be in a public school setting, which will require some sort of certification or teaching license. Most of the art therapists that I met as an art teacher all started out as art teachers and then specialized in art therapy through courses or getting a master degree. So, I would think that an undergraduate in art education combined with a a masters in Art Therapy might be the way to go. There are probably schools with art therapy undergraduate degrees, but most school systems now require some sort of a masters degree. Of course, there might be some art therapists in private practice, which will have other requirements.


I would talk to your current art teacher or with your guidance counselor or check out art therapy careers in your school's career center (if they have one).


Even as a high school student, I think there would be some opportunities for you to work or volunteer with kids in after school programs or community art centers. Please remember that at the center of your future career are children, and getting to know them in an art setting will be a valuable step.


Best wishes!


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Daniela’s Answer

Hello Katrina,


The most appropriate course in art therapy to work with youth and children, is the Art Education:


"Art with art education is a professional certification program offered in conjunction with the School of Education. It requires a minimum of 44 credits in art and a series of required courses in education and art education. Upon successful completion of the program, you may receive certification from the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a teacher of art, grades K through 12 ".


"Elementary art teachers help young children develop their artistic abilities. They work in public and private schools, art studios and community centers. A bachelor's degree in education and student teaching experience are generally required for these teachers. Elementary art teachers who teach in public schools must be licensed by the state".


In the links below , you can check more details about the career:


http://www.carlow.edu/Art_Major_Art_Education_with_Certification.aspx
http://study.com/elementary_art_teacher.html


Good success and achievements!


Hi Katrina, there are many paths that will get you to the same result. If you want to be an accredited psychotherapist, then you need to have a master's degree minimum and that would be in art therapy if that is what you truly want to do. A good friend of mine is currently in grad school for art therapy. She got her BA in psychology and art. Ultimatlety you want your major to be related to what your masters degree will be in. That could be psychology, social work, art, and educatio to name a few. I also believe there are BA programs that prepare students for masters programs. Your BA major will not be as important as grad school. Check out the Art Therapy Credentials Board and reach out to art therapists in your region. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions! KC K.

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Marilyn’s Answer

Majoring in Counseling and Psychology would get you the beginning of your training. You might want to take the school track so you could get experience as a school counselor which would require a Master's in those areas. Then you could become a licensed counselor and take additional coursework if necessary in the field of art therapy. Some schools may combine this training in a Master's program. Take as many art courses as you can so you will have the background in that field as well.
Best of luck,
Marilyn Balke-Lowry


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