ATR Required Education

  1. ATR Required Education

A master’s degree, coursework in studio art, and specific art therapy content are required for entry-level practice in art therapy.

Consult the current ATR Application Handbook for details about required coursework, art therapy content, expectations and standards, and all documentation required.

  • Master’s degree in art therapy. Applicants for the ATR may graduate from a program “Approved” by the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) OR a program not “Approved” by AATA.* Keep in mind, students in not-approved programs have additional post-education requirements.


  • Master’s degree in a related field plus graduate coursework and supervised field experience in art therapy. Acceptable related fields include Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, Social Work, Psychology, Addictions Counseling, Psychiatric Nursing, and Psychiatry. Graduates from related mental health degree programs have additional post-education requirements.


  • Art therapy content. Students must have 24 credits of art therapy core curriculum plus 700 hours of supervised internship. 70 hours of supervision during the internship must be provided by an ATCB credential holder.


  • Studio art courses. Students must have 18 credits of studio-based art courses at either the graduate or undergraduate level. This coursework must be in a variety of two-and three-dimensional art media and processes.


  • Art therapists must complete the following levels of post-education client work and supervision** to become registered:

Graduates of programs approved by AATA:

  • 1,000 hours of art therapy direct client contact
  • 100 hours of supervision**

Graduates of art therapy programs not approved by AATA:

  • 1,500 hours of art therapy direct client contact
  • 150 hours of supervision**

Graduates of related mental health degree programs:

  • 2,000 hours of art therapy direct client contact
  • 200 hours of supervision**

*Please visit for more information regarding AATA’s role in establishing and maintaining educational standards.

**Please note that half the required supervision hours must be provided by a professional who’s ATR, ATR-BC, or ATCS is in good standing during the entire supervisory experience. Up to half of the required supervision hours may be provided by a mental health professional who also holds professional licensure or certification as a mental health professional. A master’s degree or higher must be required to obtain that license or certification.