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Art Teacher / Art Therapist

Hello, I’m a junior about to graduate this September and I am a little lost on exactly how to go about my college / career. Currently, I’ve narrowed down my career choices to either an Art Teacher or an Art Therapist. (With ambitious plans on eventually doing both, not simultaneously of course.)

Planning on going to community college for 2 years to get my associates, but after that I would prefer to transfer to a college somewhere northeast-ish (NY, NJ, PA, etc.) for my bachelors & masters.

I don’t have a specific question to ask, but any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Subject: Career question for you


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Kim’s Answer

It's great that you've narrowed down your career choices to becoming an Art Teacher or an Art Therapist. Both paths can be incredibly rewarding! Going to community college for your associates is a smart start, and transferring to a college in the northeast for your bachelors and masters sounds like a solid plan.

Here's some advice: Take advantage of any opportunities to gain experience in both teaching and therapy settings. Volunteer or intern at schools, art centers, or therapy clinics to get a feel for both career paths. This hands-on experience will not only help you confirm your interests but also strengthen your college applications.

Additionally, research the specific requirements and certifications needed for each career path. It's important to stay informed about the educational and licensing requirements in the states you're interested in working in.

Remember, it's never too early to start networking and connecting with professionals in the art education and therapy fields. They can provide valuable insights and guidance as you navigate your college and career journey. Good luck, and keep following your passion for art.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Nyx,

Embarking on a Career in Art Education and Therapy

As you chart your course towards a profession in the arts, particularly in the roles of an Art Teacher or an Art Therapist, it's crucial to weigh different elements that will influence your educational journey and professional growth. Here's a detailed roadmap to guide you through the process of becoming an Art Teacher or an Art Therapist, outlining the educational prerequisites, potential job prospects, and strategies for success in these domains.

1. Deciphering the Roles of an Art Teacher and an Art Therapist
Art Teacher:
An Art Teacher, typically based in schools, colleges, or community centers, imparts knowledge on various facets of art such as techniques, art history, and creative expression.
Their pivotal role involves nurturing creativity, analytical thinking, and artistic abilities in students across all age groups.
Art Teachers may focus on specific mediums like painting, sculpture, ceramics, or digital art.
Art Therapist:
An Art Therapist employs art as a therapeutic tool to facilitate individuals in expressing their emotions, improving mental health, and boosting self-awareness.
They cater to a wide range of individuals including children, teenagers, adults, and elderly people grappling with emotional difficulties or mental health disorders.
Art Therapy is applicable in clinical settings, schools, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and private practices.
2. Educational Trajectories for a Career in Art Education and Therapy
Art Teacher:
To qualify as an Art Teacher at the K-12 level in public schools in the United States, a bachelor’s degree in art education or a related field is generally required.
Pursuing a master’s degree can amplify your teaching prowess and unlock more advanced job opportunities.
Acquiring state licensure or certification is usually necessary to teach in public schools.
Art Therapist:
The path to becoming an Art Therapist typically involves obtaining a master’s degree in art therapy or a related field from a recognized institution.
Completing supervised clinical internships and securing certification from the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB) is vital for practicing as a Registered Art Therapist (ATR).
3. Transitioning from Community College to Northeastern Universities
Community College:
Embarking on your academic journey at a community college can be a budget-friendly strategy to fulfill general education requirements and basic art courses.
Ensure to select courses that resonate with your future career aspirations in art education or therapy.
Transferring to Northeastern Universities:
Investigate universities in states like New York (NY), New Jersey (NJ), Pennsylvania (PA), or other northeastern regions renowned for their robust arts programs.
Verify transfer agreements between community colleges and four-year institutions to guarantee smooth credit transfers.
4. Strategies for Success and Future Planning
Forge relationships with professors, professionals in the field of art education and therapy through internships, workshops, conferences, and digital platforms like LinkedIn.
Professional Development:
Keep abreast of current trends in art education and therapy by participating in seminars, acquiring certifications, and seizing continuous learning opportunities.
Career Advancement:
Consider pursuing a Ph.D. if your ambition is to teach at the university level or conduct research in art therapy.
Top 3 Credible Sources Used:

American Art Therapy Association (AATA): The AATA offers valuable resources on accredited programs for budding art therapists and information on professional norms within the field of art therapy.

National Association for Music Education (NAfME): Although primarily focused on music education, NAfME provides insights into wider arts education trends that can be useful for prospective art teachers.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): The BLS provides detailed occupational outlooks for both teachers and therapists which can offer valuable insights into job opportunities and salary expectations within these professions.

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Ahmad’s Answer

Hello! It’s great to hear about your ambitions in art teaching and art therapy. Starting at a community college is a smart choice, as it allows you to save money and explore your interests. Make sure to take courses that will transfer to a four-year university.

As you study, seek opportunities to volunteer or intern in both fields to gain practical experience and clarify your career path. When looking to transfer, consider schools in the Northeast with strong programs in education and art therapy, like NYU, Pratt Institute, Drexel University, or Temple University.

Also, connect with professionals in these fields for insights and advice. This can be done through LinkedIn or local professional groups.

Keep exploring and refining your goals, and feel free to reach out if you have more specific questions. Good luck!
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Nyx !

Congratulations as you approach graduation !

Art Therapy and Art Education are two very wonderful different fields of work and I'm sure that you'll make a decision as to which one to choose. There are a few ways you can go with the course of study.

First you will need to choose a town or a city so that you can look at colleges and see which ones offer an Art Therapy or an Education major. Most colleges have an Art Department that you can take classes from and minor in if that is what you choose. If you choose Art Therapy, I would suggest getting an Associates and the Bachelors degree in Psychology and minoring in Art. For your Masters, you would obtain that degree in Art Therapy. You will have to do a search online to see which colleges in NY, NJ or PA offer that Masters Degree. I know it sounds like a lot of reading, but do feel free to come back here if you still have questions once you pinpoint a college.

For Art Education, I advise getting a degree in Education and certification to teach in the state in which you want to teach in. Look into this further because guidelines may be different from state to state.

I did almost the same route you're going to do: graduated in my Junior year in high school and then moved 3,000 miles away for college. One thing I can tell you is to look into what the residency requirements are in the state you move to. This will have a bearing on the tuition. I had to wait 12 months while living in California to fulfill my residency. Back then there was no tuition for CA residents but they did charge out of state students a tuition. So when you know which college you'll be going to, it will be to your benefit to know when you can get the in-state student tuition rate for college on the East Coast.

Also, if you're anything like I was, anxious to get the college life started, try to be patient about it. I started working until I put my residency in and met a lot of new people and just focused on social activities and adjusting to the West Coast. But without being an in-state student, you'll have the higher tuition rate so the wait is worth it. Or you could pay for one course to begin with. Whatever you decide.

Just as I had to adjust to a tremendously different new state, you will find yourself in awe of the East Coast. It's greatly different from the West Coast where you live now. I hope that you find the difference as exciting as I did !

Do return here for any questions, inspiration or support as we are always happy to help ! Best wishes to you !