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Accredited Art Therapy Schools

by Nadia Archuleta

Accredited art therapy schools confer bachelor's or master's degrees while teaching students to use creative activities to treat people with developmental, emotional, physical or mental problems. Students focus on their own art while learning art therapy techniques as well as the history and theory of the field. Regionally accredited institutions include two- and four-year nonprofit and degree-granting schools; for-profit and career-related schools generally receive national accreditation.

Cedar Crest College

Located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, this small school features both Bachelor and Master of Arts programs in art therapy. Regionally accredited Cedar Crest has also aligned their art therapy curriculum with the American Art Therapy Association's guidelines. A board-certified art therapist teaches all of their art therapy classes while their psychology professors hold doctorate degrees in their specialty areas. Students have access to many forms of artistic media such as ceramics, metal-smithing and papermaking. Additionally seniors receive real-world experience by participating in an internship program under a master's level art therapist.

Emmanuel College

The Boston-based, private Catholic college features an undergraduate program in art therapy. Students take studio arts, biology, psychology and principles of art therapy classes and participate in a practicum in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. The "pre-professional" program trains students to use art therapy in entry-level positions in hospitals, social service agencies and other specialized programs. Emmanuel's program also prepares students to enter a master's degree program, which is necessary for certification as an art therapist. Emmanuel has regional accreditation.

Millikin University

Regionally accredited Millikin's art therapy program confers a Bachelor of Fine Arts upon completion. The mid-sized university. located in Decatur, Illinois, requires 60 credits in art and 18 in psychology for the Bachelor of Fine Arts in art therapy. They also require a portfolio review before students are admitted as majors in art; the portfolio must include drawings, designs and an essay declaring their motivation to study art. Successfully completing Millikin's art therapy program allows students to transition into a master's degree program or apply directly for work in institutions such as correctional facilities, psychiatric centers and hospitals.

Adler School of Professional Psychology

Earning certification as an art therapist requires first completing a master's degree. Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago confers just such a degree: A Master of Arts in counseling psychology, art therapy. To enter the program, students need a bachelor's degree that includes psychology and art classes as well as a portfolio of original art. The regionally accredited school features a program centered both on traditional counseling theories and comprehension of the connection between creativity and psychology. After completing the program students can apply for registration as an art therapist and take the Licensed Professional Counselor exam.

About the Author

Nadia Archuleta has a B.A. in English writing. She spent five years working abroad and has traveled extensively. She has worked as an English as a Foreign/Second Language teacher for 12 years.

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