All coursework must have earned credit from a college or university approved by a national or regional accrediting agency. An overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher is required for all coursework counted towards the credential.
Studio Art Requirements:
- Eighteen-semester credits (or 27 quarter credits) in studio-based art courses.
- The eighteen hours of prerequisite studio art coursework can be at the graduate or undergraduate level but cannot be counted toward the mental or art therapy content requirements.
- Applicants must have completed coursework in various two- and three-dimensional art media (which may include digital art) and processes.
- Optimally, all 18 credit hours would be completed as prerequisites but at least six credits, but the remaining hours must be completed before beginning the art therapy coursework.
- In place of academic-based studio coursework, the ATCB will accept up to two courses (six credits) from a visual arts portfolio demonstrating competency, provided the applicant obtains a letter from a full-time or pro-rata faculty member who has current ATR-BC and who teaches in a program that is within a regionally or nationally accredited institution of higher education, and who has reviewed the portfolio and is willing to attest that the applicant has demonstrated such competency.
- Applicants wishing to fulfill some or all of the studio art requirements through training received outside of traditional academic settings may document clock hours of studio instruction time using the ratio of 15 contact hours as equivalent to one-semester credit. The studio art instructor must verify this documentation. Original letter (s) must be provided with this Verification of Coursework Form.
Mental Health Content Requirement:
A master’s or higher degree with equivalent to 60 credit hours of coursework in the following areas is recommended:
A minimum of three graduate semester credits (or four-quarter credits) or equivalence across the curricula in each of the following six areas. If the master’s or higher degree did not include coursework in all required areas, up to five courses or 15 credit hours may have been completed independent of the graduate program, provided they earned graduate credit at a nationally or regionally accredited college or university. Official transcripts are required for all coursework applied to the ATR requirements. If the content is covered in the context of an art therapy graduate program, this must be demonstrated through course descriptions or syllabi detailing course content.
- Psychopathology/Abnormal Psychology:* Criteria of psychiatric diagnoses, biopsychosocial factors, and level of functioning; theories of psychopathology; ability to recognize indicators of functional and organic disorders in clients; basic knowledge of types of psychopharmacological medications.
- Psychological Assessment:* Historical perspectives of assessment, basic concepts of standardized and nonstandardized testing and assessment, fundamentals of psychological testing, biopsychosocial assessment, statistical concepts including reliability and validity, strategies for selection of the assessment tools, and familiarity with a variety of specific instruments and procedures used in appraisal and evaluation. *Course descriptions/syllabi must demonstrate coverage of DSM diagnostic criteria in use when the course was completed.
- Human Growth and Development: Human psychological development across the life span, theories of personality development, cultural and environmental influences. Familiarity with human behavior, including developmental crises, disability, exceptional behavior, and addictive behavior.
- Counseling/Psychological Theories: Historical development of counseling and psychological theories, understanding of systems perspective, application to case material, and interviewing and counseling skills.
- Research: Basic tenets of planning, conducting, and evaluating research and understanding research methodology, to include qualitative and quantitative designs. The importance of research in the psychotherapy professions, ethical, practical, and legal considerations, and the use of research to assess the effectiveness of mental health services.
Art Therapy Core Content Requirement:
A minimum of 30 graduate semester credits (or 36 quarter credits) in art therapy core curriculum (not including credits earned for practicum/internship or studio art) substantially covers the content in the nine areas listed below. These courses can be completed within a degree program or outside a degree program.
- History or Foundations of art therapy: includes a study of art therapy history and events, the development of art therapy as a distinct therapeutic practice, and the contributions of major art therapy theorists and practitioners.
- Theory of art therapy: includes a study of psychotherapy theories relevant to art therapy.
- Techniques of practice in art therapy: includes a study of the application of art therapy theory, the use of art processes and materials in art therapy practice, and the establishment of therapeutic goals and intervention strategies.
- Application of art therapy with people in different treatment settings: includes a study of art therapy interventions, including materials, theories, and practices for the treatment of individuals in various treatment settings (e.g., inpatient, outpatient, partial treatment programs, and aftercare).
- Art therapy assessment: includes a study of a variety of art therapy assessment tools and methods, administration and documentation of art therapy assessment, and the formulation of treatment goals, objectives, and strategies related to assessment and evaluation.
- Ethical and legal issues of art therapy practice: includes a study of the ethical and legal issues of the art therapy profession, the ethical standards of the ATCB and the AATA, and the proper application of ethical and legal principles of art therapy practice.
- Matters of cultural and social diversity bearing on the practice of art therapy: includes a study of cultural diversity theory and competency models applied to an understanding of diversity of artistic language, symbolism, and meaning in artwork and art-making across culture and within a diverse society.
- Standards of good art therapy practice: includes a study of art therapy professional organizations, credentialing and licensure, public policy, advocating for the profession, and client advocacy.
- Group art therapy: includes a study of the theory and practice of group art therapy, principles of group dynamics, therapeutic factors, member roles and behaviors, leadership styles and approaches, selection criteria, and the influence of art media on group process.
- Systems in Art Therapy: includes familiarity with family systems and approaches, community and organizational systems and practices, multicultural
Practicum/Internship Requirement: These requirements must be completed within a structured art therapy practicum/internship course for graduate credit. The instructor of record for the internship/practicum course must be a current ATR-BC or ATCS. Additionally, on-site supervision must be provided by someone with a minimum of a master’s degree in a mental health field and a current master’s level mental health credential or license. A master’s or higher degree in a mental health field must have been required to obtain that license or credential. A minimum of 700 hours of supervised art therapy practicum/internship, including a minimum of 350 hours of direct provision of art therapy services to individuals, groups, or families. The remaining hours may include supervision, case review, record keeping, preparation, staff meetings, and other administrative functions. Supervision hours must be overseen and documented as such: individual (1:1) supervision hours must be accrued at a ratio of one hour of supervision for every ten hours of practicum/internship or group (two or more supervisees per supervisor) supervision must be accrued at a ratio of one and one-half hours of supervision for every ten hours of practicum/internship. A minimum of 70 individual or 105 group supervision hours is required.
Post-Education Supervised Art Therapy Experience Requirements
If the Practicum/Internship if the instructor of record for the internship/practicum course is a current ATR-BC or ATCS
A minimum of 1,000 post-education, direct client contact hours using art therapy. Hours used to complete administrative tasks cannot be included to obtain the ATR. Post-education experience must start after the master’s or higher degree was conferred, and all educational requirements and prerequisites were completed and documented.
- Supervision Requirement: A minimum of 100 of hours of supervision. A current ATR-BC or ATCS must provide at least 50 hours. Additional hours may be supervised by an ATR or a master’s or higher fully licensed or credentialed practitioner with a master’s degree or higher in art therapy or a related mental health field and whose license/credential is for independent practice. Automatically acceptable related fields are counseling, marriage and family therapy, social work, psychology, addictions counseling, psychiatric nursing, and psychiatry. Other related mental health fields are considered on a case-by-case basis.** For a supervisor’s license or credential to be accepted, a master’s or higher degree in a mental health field must be required to obtain that license/credential. Licenses/credentials that do not require a master’s degree are not accepted.
If the Practicum/Internship if the instructor of record for the internship/practicum course is an ATR- not a current ATR-BC or ATCS:
A minimum of 1,500 hours of direct client contact using art therapy. Hours used to complete administrative tasks cannot be included to obtain the ATR. Post-education experience must start after the date the master’s or higher degree was conferred, and all educational requirements and prerequisites have been completed and documented. If a course is lacking in any area—i.e., studio art, prerequisites, or AT core curriculum—no credit is granted for any post-education experience. If additional coursework is completed to meet these requirements, post-education experience may then begin to accrue.
- Supervision Requirement: A minimum of 150 of these hours of supervision of which a current ATR-BC or ATCS must provide 75 hours. An ATR may supervise additional hours or a fully licensed or credentialed practitioner with a master’s degree or higher in art therapy or a related mental health field and whose license/credential is for independent practice. Automatically acceptable related fields are counseling, marriage and family therapy, social work, psychology, addictions counseling, psychiatric nursing, and psychiatry. Other related mental health fields are considered on a case-by-case basis.** For a supervisor’s license/credential to be accepted, a master’s or higher degree in a mental health field must be required to obtain that license/credential. Licenses/credentials that do not require a master’s degree are not accepted. ** It is the applicant’s responsibility to determine that each supervisor’s license or credential is current and in good standing throughout the length of supervision and acceptable per the ATCB’s requirements.
Private Practice Hours – Any applicants planning to use post-education art therapy experience in their private practice must be licensed/certified practitioners in another psychotherapeutic discipline. A current /ATR-BC/ATCS MUST supervise ALL post-education art therapy experience hours completed in an applicant’s private practice. Please note that certain states will not allow one to maintain a private practice without the proper credential; the applicant is responsible for being informed about and adhering to the requirements of relevant state licensure boards.
Volunteer Experience– ATCB accepts supervised direct client contact experience providing art therapy services as a volunteer, in lieu of paid employment. Please be aware that in order to qualify, volunteer art therapy experience hours must be accrued through an organization or agency that provides supervised mental health services.
Three positive references from professionals who are familiar with the applicant’s work performance and art therapy skills.
- At least one Reference Form must be completed by a current ATCB credential holder (ATR, ATR-BC or ATCS) who can support the applicant’s competency for registration as an art therapist. Supervisors who complete the Verification of Post-education Experience Form may also submit a Reference Form on behalf of the applicant.
- Two additional Reference Forms may be completed by any of the following professionals who are familiar with the applicant’s work performance and art therapy skills:
- A current ATCB credential holder (ATR, ATR-BC or ATCS) who did not supervise the applicant
- A supervisor who possesses a license or credential in a related mental health field
- A mental health professional or educator who is not ATCB credentialed and who did not supervise the applicant to qualify, a reference must have completed their graduate degree in a related mental health or human services profession.
Spouses or other close relatives may not complete references or verification forms on an applicant’s behalf.