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Art therapist

Alternative titles for this job include Art psychotherapist

Art therapists help people express difficult thoughts and feelings through creative activities.

Average salary (a year)

£35,000 Starter


£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 variable

You could work

freelance / self-employed managing your own hours

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Art therapist

You can get into this job through a university course or an apprenticeship.


You'll need to complete a postgraduate qualification approved by the Health and Care Professions Council.

Full time postgraduate courses normally take 2 years to complete. Part time courses take 3 years.

You should have a degree in art or creative therapies to do a postgraduate course.

You may be able to apply if you've got a degree in a related subject, for example psychology, nursing or social work.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information


You may be able to do an arts therapist degree apprenticeship.

You'll usually need a qualification or experience in art, drama or music to apply.

Entry requirements

To do this apprenticeship, you'll need:

  • entry requirements vary

More Information


To get a job as an art therapist, you'll need paid or volunteering experience with:

  • community arts projects
  • youth work
  • people with disabilities or mental health issues

You can find volunteering opportunities through:

More Information


Career tips

You could try an introduction or foundation course in art therapy to give you an idea of what the work is like.

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the British Association of Art Therapists for access to professional development and networking opportunities.

Further information

You'll find more details about this career, courses and training through the British Association of Art Therapists and Health Careers.

You can also find out more about working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You might work with clients who have:

  • learning disabilities
  • emotional, behaviour or mental health problems
  • speech and language difficulties
  • an injury or illness or are recovering from an addiction

You'll help clients:

  • gain greater awareness of their feelings
  • express themselves
  • work through their emotions
  • come to terms with difficult times in their lives
  • move on in a positive way

Working environment

You could work in a prison, in an NHS or private hospital or at a school.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become self employed and create your own business.

You could also:

  • become a senior art therapist
  • manage a team of therapists
  • manage an arts therapy unit
  • move into teaching

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an Art therapist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Diploma in Art & Design

  • Provider: NCG
  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Carlisle

Diploma in Art and Design

  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: London

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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Skills assessment

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