Educational standards for approved art therapy master’s programs were established in 2007, and are overseen by the AATA’s Educational Programs Approval Board (EPAB). These educational standards for EPAB approved programs remain in place and current or prospective students can review them here.
New 2017 educational standards for accredited art therapy programs are now established and can be reviewed here. A five-year period of transition is currently under way in which the EPAB approval process is transitioning to an accreditation process under the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). This process is managed by the Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education (ACATE).
Regular and rigorous review of approved and accredited programs ensures the ability of the program to prepare their students for entry level skills and post-graduate certification as an art therapist.
PREPARATION FOR BOARD CERTIFICATION IN ART THERAPY (ATR, ATR-BC)
Either an EPAB-approved master’s program or a CAAHEP accredited master’s program will fully prepare you to meet the education requirements necessary to go on to seek board certification. It is important to know that graduation from either a program approved by EPAB or a program accredited by CAAHEP will prepare you for a future as a board-certified art therapist.
WHERE CAN I FIND A LIST OF PROGRAMS?
The list of EPAB approved programs is available here. In the future, as programs transition to becoming accredited under CAAHEP, a link will also be provided.
Undergraduate and doctoral programs currently do not undergo formal review. Listing of an undergraduate or doctoral program on the AATA website is not indicative of an endorsement by the AATA but is offered for information purposes.
Professional entry to art therapy requires a master’s degree. Additionally, students are advised to familiarize themselves with the current procedures of the Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc. (ATCB) in order to understand the requirements for board certification.
The educational program requirements include, but are not limited to:
- Theories of art therapy, counseling, and psychotherapy
- Ethics and standards of practice
- Assessment and evaluation
- Individual, group, and family art therapy techniques
- Human and creative development
- Multicultural issues
- Creativity, symbolism, metaphor
- Research methods
- Internship experiences in clinical, community, and/or other settings
TYPES OF ACCREDITATION
It is important to know there are two different kinds of accreditation – institutional and program. Approved and accredited programs have institutional accreditation while an art therapy program itself can also have either approval or accreditation at the art therapy program level. Institutional accreditation, which includes all programs listed on our website, fully meets requirements for board certification of graduates even as the art therapy program itself is also either approved or accredited.