Art Therapist Salary 2023| How Much Does Art Therapist Make?

Art therapists are professionals who use art to help their clients express their emotions and increase their psychological well-being. Art therapy can be especially helpful for individuals who have difficulty communicating verbally, including children.

If you want to pursue a career in art therapy, one of the key questions you may have to ask will be, “How much does an art therapist make?” Keep reading to find out all you need to know about an art therapy salary.

What Does An Art Therapist Do?

The duty of an art therapist usually includes guiding their clients through art projects and using these expressions to comprehend the challenges they face. They can also help their patients discover insights into their mental health that they didn’t recognize previously.

Art therapists use therapeutic techniques that incorporate a mix of healthcare science and psychology, and allow patients to channel and process their feelings through creativity. They work with a variety of patients, from children to adults, with a range of needs and disorders

You can find art therapists in places like schools, where they interact with kids of various ages in groups or one-on-one sessions. Many others work in medical settings like community clinics and psychiatric institutions, where they may assist patients with physical or mental illnesses. Others run their own practice, catering to a wide range of clients.

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How Much Does An Art Therapist Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics  (BLS), therapists, which can include the job title of art therapists, make an average annual salary of $62,090. Of course, this salary can differ widely based on things like location, job title, experience, and place of work.

Another recent report posted on ZipRecruiter posits that the average annual pay for an Art Therapist in the United States is $65,553 a year. While ZipRecruiter is seeing yearly salaries as high as $108,000 and as low as $31,000, the majority of Art therapists’ salaries currently range between $44,000 (25th percentile) to $80,500 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $97,000 annually across the United States.

On another reputable job site, Glassdoor, the estimated total pay for an Art Therapist is $88,425 per year in the United States area, with an average salary of $68,563 per year. These numbers depict the median, which is the midpoint of the ranges from their proprietary Total Pay Estimate model and based on salaries collected from their users.

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Art Therapist Salary By State

The table below contains a list of the creative art therapist average salary by state:

StateAvg. SalaryHourly Rate
District of Columbia$65,380$31.43
New Hampshire$51,960$24.98
New Jersey$50,401$24.23
New Mexico$49,343$23.72
New York$54,570$26.24
North Carolina$50,108$24.09
North Dakota$55,618$26.74
Rhode Island$57,985$27.88
South Carolina$44,099$21.20
South Dakota$43,064$20.70
West Virginia$50,660$24.36
Table Source:

How Much Does An Entry-Level Art Therapist Make?

According to Payscale, an entry-level Art Therapist with less than 1-year of experience can expect to make an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $43,462 based on 21 salaries.

Similarly, a mid-early career Art Therapist with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total salary of $46,032 based on 120 salaries reported on Payscale. Lastly, a mid-career Art Therapist with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $49,195 based on 67 salaries.

How Much Does An Art Therapist Make Per Hour?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly pay for an Art Therapist in the United States is $31.52 an hour.

Highest Paying Cities or Art Therapists

Here’s a list of the top 10 cities where the typical salary for an Art Therapist job is above the national average. First on the list is San Mateo, CA, with Boston, MA, and Daly City CA close behind in the second and third positions.

CityAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
San Mateo, CA$77,353$6,446$1,488$37.19
Boston, MA$76,803$6,400$1,477$36.92
Daly City, CA$75,972$6,331$1,461$36.52
Berkeley, CA$75,930$6,328$1,460$36.50
Renton, WA$75,736$6,311$1,456$36.41
Santa Monica, CA$75,727$6,311$1,456$36.41
Lowell, MA$74,875$6,240$1,440$36.00
Green River, WY$74,549$6,212$1,434$35.84
Irvine, CA$73,496$6,125$1,413$35.33
Newark, NJ$73,066$6,089$1,405$35.13
Table Source:

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How To Become An Art Therapist

According to, a master’s degree is necessary for entry-level practice in Art Therapy. The educational standards demand graduate-level coursework that includes training in the creative process, psychological development, group therapy, art therapy assessment, psychodiagnostic, research methods, and multicultural diversity competence.

Students must also complete, at minimum, 100 hours of supervised practicum, and 600 hours of supervised art therapy clinical internship.

In addition, preparatory training in studio art (drawing, painting, clay, etc.) and foundational areas of study in psychology are required in advance of graduate studies.

The art therapy graduate curriculum is hinged on the fact that focused art-making constitutes reflective practice and facilitates learning.

FAQs On Art Therapists

Is art therapy a good career?

An art therapist does not necessarily set up a clinic like the conventional doctors. After acquiring sufficient education and courses, one can work for hospitals, rehabilitation care centers, psychiatric organizations or clinics, assisted living centers, orphanages, senior communities, and schools.

How much do entry-level art therapists make?

An entry-level Art Therapist with less than 1-year of experience can expect to make an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $43,462

What is group therapy?

Group therapy or group psychotherapy is the practice of treating a group of clients together in one sitting throughout multiple sessions. This practice allows people to receive motivation and support from their peers who are taking the same group therapy.

What is considered art therapy?

Art therapy involves the use of creative techniques such as drawing, painting, collage, coloring, or sculpting to help people express themselves artistically and examine the psychological and emotional undertones in their art.


If you are interested in becoming an art therapist, start by checking with your state to know more about the education, training, and professional credentials you will need to practice. In most cases, you may need to first become a licensed clinical psychologist, professional counselor, or social worker in order to offer psychotherapy services.

In the U.S., the Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc. (ATCB) offers credentialing programs that allow art therapists to become registered, board-certified, or licensed depending upon the state in which they live and work.


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