Art therapists help individuals, families and groups improve their physical and mental health through the creative process of art. They assess the strengths and needs of patients and design customized treatment plans that may include drawing, painting and other art processes. Art therapy is based on the belief that artistic self-expression helps people solve conflicts and problems, manage stress, improve self-esteem and develop social skills. Therapists work with people of all ages to help them through emotional problems, mental illness, disabilities and a variety of other medical issues.
Art therapists are found in all kinds of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, behavioral health centers and correctional facilities. They work a regular schedule of 40 hours a week. In hospitals, art therapists work in psychiatric departments, child-life programs and therapy departments as part of a team that includes physicians, psychologists, counselors, psychiatrists and nurses.
Art therapists hold at least a master’s degree from an accredited program and complete a clinical internship.
There are over 30 schools in the country with art therapy programs, but none in Iowa.
Licensure and Certification
After graduation, art therapists are required to complete at least 1,000 hours of clinical experience working with patients, with at least 100 hours supervised, to become a Registered Art Therapist and be eligible to practice. Once registered, they can also become board-certified by taken a written exam offered by the Art Therapy Credentials Board.
Career Outlook Map of Iowa
The job outlook for art therapists is below average, with an expected growth rate of 9% across the state.