Where the creative process meets the healing process.
Art therapy is a calling at the intersection of creativity and human services. By engaging clients in the creative process — whether making art or interacting with it — art therapists help develop and enhance the mental, emotional and physical well-being of people in all age ranges. Because it can unlock emotional expression by facilitating non-verbal communication, art therapy is especially beneficial in cases where traditional psychotherapy has been ineffectual.
To become an art therapist, you’ll need a master’s degree in art therapy, counseling, psychology or a related field and art therapy certification from the Art Therapy Credentials Board.
National median salary for substance abuse and mental health counselors (BLS, 2019)
art galleries on campus
expected demand for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors
The University of Saint Francis designed its pre-art therapy program to prepare you for success in graduate school. With elements of studio art, social work and psychology, our robust, hands-on curriculum builds a foundation in human development and behavior, encourages your artistic talent, and hones your counseling techniques.
Built on Franciscan values of faith and reason, your entire USF academic experience will prepare you to serve people of all backgrounds as an ethical, compassionate mental health professional.
Hone Your Skills With a Creative Concentration
You’ll graduate with an impressive portfolio of artwork in one of three art mediums/concentration areas: 3-D Art, 2-D Art or Photography.
Apply Your Skills Through Internships & Service
As you study art therapy, you’ll gain experience in community and professional settings through internships and service-learning.
You’ll take classes, work independently and collaborate with others in vibrant, creative learning spaces, outstanding art studios, and state-of-the-art labs. And you’ll find art all around you, with five galleries on campus.
In such an interdisciplinary field, you’ll study art therapy with faculty members with educational, artistic and professional experience and expertise:
Your passion for the creative arts and desire to enter the mental health profession might spark your interest in clubs, activities and professional organizations such as:
USF pre-art therapy students pursue master’s degrees in areas such as art therapy and counseling; applied behavioral analysis; and school psychology at institutions such as:
Art therapy certification/licensure can lead to counseling, therapeutic and other clinical positions in a range of settings, from school districts and social services agencies to healthcare facilities and rehabilitation centers.
After they study art therapy some graduates pursue teaching certification (such as through USF’s Transition to Teaching program) and become art educators in grades PreK-12.
Mental & Behavioral Health Positions
With the social work and psychology background you’ll build in the pre-art therapy bachelor’s program, you can find work as a mental health counselor, recreational therapist or related positions.
I really like how many opportunities we have to apply our work to real-life situations. I did a year-long internship at Erin’s House working with teens and younger children. As a facilitator, I used art to help them connect to their peers and work through their challenges. It’s empowering to use what I’ve learned to help others.
Brittney Ley ’19, pre-art therapy and psychology
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