Art therapists work in a wide range of organizations and fields, which may surprise you. In the opinion of Psychology Today, people who enjoy art but want a more secure financial future will find art therapy jobs to be very appealing. It’s no surprise that the job market is crowded. Knowing where to look for work as an art therapist can make the process a lot more straightforward. Art therapists frequently work for healthcare organizations of all sizes, from large health systems to small private practices, as well as social service agencies and public and private educational institutions.
Systems and Procedures in Health Care
A large percentage of art therapists’ clients have some sort of physical or mental health issue, so it’s no surprise that healthcare systems and businesses frequently hire these professionals, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There are a wide variety of companies and roles in this industry. There are both generalist art therapists and specialists who work with specific populations of patients in the healthcare system, such as those with cancer or eating disorders.
Art therapists are frequently employed by both general medical and psychiatric hospitals. Patients who are admitted to the hospital on an inpatient basis frequently attend group therapy sessions. Children’s hospitals are more likely to employ art therapists, but adult hospitals may also employ art therapists. Art therapists are frequently employed in a variety of inpatient settings, such as assisted living, long-term care, physical rehabilitation, and nursing homes.
Art therapy is often incorporated into the multi-pronged treatment efforts of addiction and substance abuse treatment providers. Art therapists in such facilities may work one-on-one with drug users as well as in groups. When working with clients, it may be necessary for them to think about what they want to change or leave behind, as well as what they want to change or leave behind in terms of their drug use.
At mental or behavioral health outpatient clinics, there are many opportunities for art therapists. Art therapists have the option of starting their own private practice or joining an existing group, private practice, or agency.
Recruitment of art therapists is sometimes delegated to staffing agencies rather than the medical or mental health organizations themselves. Staffing agencies are often looking for short-term and contract workers, but there are also long-term options available.
Organizations that provide services to the underprivileged
An art therapy career in social services can be fulfilling if you have a strong sense of social responsibility and a desire to help others. Organizations that provide social and community services may be public or private, non-profit or for-profit, and they may work with a variety of different kinds of people. Youth, seniors, victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, veterans, people with autism spectrum disorder and those incarcerated are a few examples of populations with which an art therapist might work within a social services organization.
Art therapists can look for work in a variety of community-based arts organizations. Besides art therapy, many arts organizations offer additional services, such as art education and after-school programming.
Public schools and private academies
Art therapists are also employed by private and public schools. In educational settings, art therapists often work with students who have special needs, whether in specialized schools or in traditional public school special education classrooms. They may help students with autism, ADHD, and a wide range of learning disabilities and mental and behavioral health disorders find appropriate and effective ways to express their feelings and solve problems.
There are other school art therapists who work with the general student population, providing support to all students and, in some cases, mental health counseling. According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy has been shown to be an effective learning tool in the classroom and a field that should be integrated into program and curriculum design. The therapeutic use of art among schoolchildren has been found to aid in developing skills in reasoning, organizing thoughts, and conveying fears.
Art therapy is a great option for children who may not be able to express themselves verbally due to a lack of language skills, as it is primarily nonverbal and fun.