Become an Art Therapist

What kind of training and education does an art therapist need to have?

In Canada, an undergraduate degree in fine arts, psychology, social work or counselling is required before entering one of the art therapy programs. If the undergraduate degree is in another area, a prior learning assessment can be recognized to determine appropriate equivalency. It is recommended to have art and psychology courses.  These programs include post-graduate diplomas, graduate diplomas and Master’s degree programs.  (See our Art Therapy Training page.)

Will the training that I have outside of Canada be acceptable to Canadian standards?

Art Therapy is currently a self-regulated field in Canada.  However, to be able to be a Professional or Registered member of CATA, you must have graduated from an art therapy program that meets CATA’s education standards.  These are listed on our Art Therapy Training page.  

If the professional art therapy association of a particular country recognizes the program, CATA honours that program as meeting CATA education standards. As an example, if you took your training in the USA, the professional association in the US is the American Art Therapy Association (AATA).  They have a listing on their website of all the schools with programs that they have approved.  Same in the UK and other countries.  If you are concerned whether the program you wish to take will allow you eligibility to be a Professional or Registered member of CATA in the future, and that country does not have a governing association, then you can direct your question to our Education Director at

What is the typical salary of an art therapist?

Salaries are comparable to those of a counsellor, social worker or therapist with graduate degrees and vary depending on whether you work in private practice or for an agency.

Canadian Art Therapy Survey

Please refer to the following link for a study about art therapy and Canada created by Angela C.Y. Lewis, MD, MSc (Counselling), DTATI:  Art Therapy in Canada, Now and Then: A Comparison between the National Surveys of Art Therapists in Canada from 2005 and 2010 (Lee, A.).  National Survey of Art Therapists

CATA Educational Standards

These documents will show you the standards we use to approve art therapy schools in Canada.  In the Art Therapy Training section of our website, you will find a matrix showing how each of the approved schools meets our standards.

CATA Education Standards – 2015-04-05

CATA Post-Master Education Standards

Become a CATA Member