Art Therapists

Plan or conduct art therapy sessions or programs to improve clients' physical, cognitive, or emotional well-being.

Sample of reported job titles: Art Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC), Creative Arts Therapist, Group Therapist, Oncology Art Therapist, Registered Art Therapist (ATR), Therapist

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Observe and document client reactions, progress, or other outcomes related to art therapy.
  • Design art therapy sessions or programs to meet client's goals or objectives.
  • Conduct art therapy sessions, providing guided self-expression experiences to help clients recover from, or cope with, cognitive, emotional, or physical impairments.
  • Confer with other professionals on client's treatment team to develop, coordinate, or integrate treatment plans.
  • Assess client needs or disorders, using drawing, painting, sculpting, or other artistic processes.
  • Talk with clients during art or other therapy sessions to build rapport, acknowledge their progress, or reflect upon their reactions to the artistic process.
  • Develop individualized treatment plans that incorporate studio art therapy, counseling, or psychotherapy techniques.
  • Write treatment plans, case summaries, or progress or other reports related to individual clients or client groups.
  • Select or prepare artistic media or related equipment or devices to accomplish therapy session objectives.
  • Analyze or synthesize client data to draw conclusions or make recommendations for art therapy.
  • Interpret the artistic creations of clients to assess their functioning, needs, or progress.
  • Customize art therapy programs for specific client populations, such as those in schools, nursing homes, wellness centers, prisons, shelters, or hospitals.
  • Communicate client assessment findings and recommendations in oral, written, audio, video, or other forms.
  • Establish goals or objectives for art therapy sessions in consultation with clients or site administrators.
  • Recommend or purchase needed art supplies or equipment.
  • Supervise staff, volunteers, practicum students, or interns.
  • Gather client information from sources such as case documentation, client observation, or interviews of client or family members.
  • Instruct individuals or groups in the use of art media, such as paint, clay, or yarn.
  • Analyze data to determine the effectiveness of treatments or therapy approaches.
  • Review research or literature in art therapy, psychology, or related disciplines.
  • Conduct information sharing sessions, such as in-service workshops for other professionals, potential client groups, or the general community.
  • Teach art therapy techniques or processes to artists, interns, volunteers, or others.
  • Photograph or videotape client artwork for inclusion in client records or for promotional purposes.
  • Coordinate art showcases to display artwork produced by clients.
  • Coordinate field trips for client groups to museums or other public displays of art.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology
Hot Technologies are requirements most frequently included across all employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 94% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 87% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail — 75% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 63% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 52% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 55% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Telephone — 50% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 44% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Physical Proximity — 74% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 39% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Sitting — 52% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 42% responded “Every day.”
  • Letters and Memos — 44% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Time Pressure — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 32% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 42% responded “Important results.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 35% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 35% responded “Important.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 31% responded “Fairly important.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 56% responded “40 hours.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 45% responded “Important.”
  • Level of Competition — 45% responded “Moderately competitive.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 42% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Consequence of Error — 32% responded “Fairly serious.”
  • Deal With Physically Aggressive People — 42% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections — 34% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
Education
Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
Related Experience
Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.
Job Training
Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, physician assistants, and veterinarians.
SVP Range
Over 4 years of preparation (8.0 and above)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
  • Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
  • Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

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Knowledge

  • Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Fine Arts — Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
  • Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures, and their history and origins.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Philosophy and Theology — Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 91%
     
    responded: Master’s degree requiredmore info
  • 6%
     
    responded: Post-master’s certificate required
  • 3%
     
    responded: Post-doctoral training required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

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Interests

Interest code: SAI
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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Work Values

  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

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Work Styles

  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wage data for Therapists, All Other.
Employment data for Therapists, All Other.
Industry data for Therapists, All Other.
Median wages (2021)
$28.61 hourly, $59,500 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2021)
40,800 employees
Projected growth (2021-2031)
Much faster than average (11% or higher)
Projected job openings (2021-2031)
3,300
State trends
Top industries (2021)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2021-2031 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2021-2031). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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