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Become A Creative Art Therapist

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Working As A Creative Art Therapist

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $68,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Creative Art Therapist Do

Recreational therapists plan, direct, and coordinate recreation-based treatment programs for people with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses. These therapists use a variety of modalities, including arts and crafts; drama, music, and dance; sports and games; aquatics; and community outings to help maintain or improve a patient’s physical, social, and emotional well-being.

Duties

Recreational therapists typically do the following:

  • Assess patients’ needs through observations, medical records, tests, and discussions with other healthcare professionals, patients’ families, and patients
  • Create treatment plans and programs that meet patients’ needs and interests
  • Plan and implement interventions to prevent harm to a patient
  • Engage patients in therapeutic activities, such as exercise, games, and community outings
  • Help patients learn social skills needed to become or remain independent
  • Teach patients about ways to cope with stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Record and analyze a patient’s progress
  • Evaluate interventions for effectiveness

Recreational therapists help people reduce depression, stress, and anxiety; recover basic physical and mental abilities; build confidence; and socialize effectively.

They use activities, such as arts and crafts, dance, or sports, to help their patients. For example, a recreational therapist can help a patient who is paralyzed on one side of their body by teaching them to adapt activities, like casting a fishing rod or swinging a golf club, by using their functional side.

Therapists often treat specific groups of patients, such as children with cancer. Therapists may use activities such as kayaking or a ropes course to teach patients to stay active and to form social relationships.

Recreational therapists help people with disabilities integrate into the community by teaching them how to use community resources and recreational activities. For example, therapists may teach a patient who uses a wheelchair how to use public transportation.

Therapists may also provide interventions for patients who need help developing social and coping skills. For example, a therapist may use a therapy dog to help patients manage their depression or anxiety.

Therapists may work with physicians or surgeons, registered nurses, psychologists, social workers, physical therapists, teachers, or occupational therapists. Recreational therapists are different from recreation workers, who organize recreational activities primarily for enjoyment.

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How To Become A Creative Art Therapist

Recreational therapists typically need a bachelor’s degree. Many employers require therapists to be certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).

Education

Recreational therapists typically need a bachelor’s degree, usually in recreational therapy or a related field such as recreation and leisure studies.

Recreational therapy programs include courses in assessment, human anatomy, medical and psychiatric terminology, characteristics of illnesses and disabilities, and the use of assistive devices and technology. Bachelor’s degree programs usually include an internship.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most employers, particularly those in hospitals and other clinical settings, prefer to hire certified recreational therapists. The NCTRC offers the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential. Candidates may qualify for certification through one of two pathways. The first option requires a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy, which includes the completion of a supervised internship of at least 560 hours, and passing an exam. The second option also requires passing an exam, but allows candidates with a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated subject to qualify with a combination of education and work experience. Therapists must take continuing education classes to maintain certification.

NCTRC also offers specialty certification in five areas of practice: behavioral health, community inclusion services, developmental disabilities, geriatrics, and physical medicine/rehabilitation. Therapists also may earn certificates from other organizations to show proficiency in specific therapy techniques, such as aquatic therapy or aromatherapy.

As of 2014, only New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Utah required recreational therapists to obtain a license. Requirements vary by state. For specific requirements, contact the state’s medical board.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Recreational therapists should be kind and empathetic when providing support to patients and their families. They may deal with patients who are in pain or under emotional stress.

Leadership skills. Recreational therapists must be able to plan, develop, and implement intervention programs in an effective manner. They must be engaging and able to motivate patients to participate in a variety of therapeutic activities.

Listening skills. Recreational therapists must listen carefully to a patient’s problems and concerns. They can then determine an appropriate course of treatment for that patient.

Patience. Recreational therapists may work with some patients who require more time and special attention than others.

Resourcefulness. Recreational therapists customize treatment plans for patients. They must be both creative and flexible when adapting activities or programs to each patient’s needs.

Speaking skills. Recreational therapists need to communicate well with their patients. They must give clear directions during activities or instructions on healthy coping techniques.

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Do you work as a Creative Art Therapist?

Average Yearly Salary
$68,000
Show Salaries
$45,000
Min 10%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$104,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Telecare
Highest Paying City
Hayward, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.5 years
How much does a Creative Art Therapist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Creative Art Therapist in the United States is $69,054 per year or $33 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $45,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $104,000.

Real Creative Art Therapist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Creative Art Therapist Interfaith Medical Center New York, NY Oct 25, 2011 $59,740
Creative Arts Therapist, Dance. Dc DBH Saint Elizabeths Hospital Washington, DC Jan 11, 2014 $53,697
Creative Arts Therapist New York University Hospitals Center New York, NY Jun 13, 2011 $50,088
Creative Arts Therapist Jacob Perlow Hospice New York, NY Nov 15, 2011 $50,000
Creative Arts Therapist New York University Hospitals Center New York, NY Jun 13, 2014 $48,204

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Top Skills for A Creative Art Therapist

  1. Activity Therapists
  2. Group Therapy Sessions
  3. Creative Arts Therapy
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide individual and group therapy sessions.
  • Facilitated daily Process Group and bi-monthly Creative Arts Therapy group tailored specifically for addiction and recovery.
  • Provide case management for 10-12 clients including: facilitating individual sessions, creating/revising treatment plans, referral/follow-up with resources.
  • Facilitate milieu therapy including conflict resolution and crisis intervention in the treatment facility.
  • Develop innovative programming for new adult intensive unit as a member of an interdisciplinary team of therapeutic providers.

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Top 10 Best States for Creative Art Therapists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. California
  3. New Jersey
  4. Nevada
  5. Arizona
  6. North Carolina
  7. Arkansas
  8. New York
  9. Connecticut
  10. Pennsylvania
  • (20 jobs)
  • (202 jobs)
  • (53 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (39 jobs)
  • (99 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (261 jobs)
  • (22 jobs)
  • (232 jobs)

Creative Art Therapist Demographics

Gender

Female

64.9%

Unknown

17.7%

Male

17.3%
Ethnicity

White

63.3%

Hispanic or Latino

14.2%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

4.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.2%

French

23.1%

German

7.7%

Japanese

7.7%

Slovak

7.7%

Korean

7.7%
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Creative Art Therapist Education

Schools

Hofstra University

17.6%

New York University

14.3%

Pratt Institute-Main

10.9%

Drexel University

7.6%

School of Visual Arts

7.6%

College of New Rochelle

6.7%

Columbia College Chicago

5.0%

Long Island University - C W Post Campus

4.2%

Lesley University

4.2%

Nazareth College of Rochester

3.4%

Fordham University

2.5%

Molloy College

2.5%

Albertus Magnus College

1.7%

Immaculata University

1.7%

Texas State University

1.7%

Cleveland Institute of Art

1.7%

Hunter College of the City University of New York

1.7%

California Institute of Integral Studies

1.7%

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

1.7%

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

1.7%
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Majors

Rehabilitation Science

56.5%

Fine Arts

6.2%

Mental Health Counseling

5.3%

Psychology

4.8%

Counseling Psychology

3.3%

Theatre

2.9%

Social Work

2.9%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.9%

School Counseling

1.9%

Elementary Education

1.9%

Music

1.4%

Political Science

1.4%

Business

1.4%

Physical Therapy

1.4%

Clinical Psychology

1.4%

Graphic Design

1.4%

Sociology

1.0%

Computer Applications

1.0%

Nursing

1.0%

Health Care Administration

1.0%
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Degrees

Masters

66.0%

Bachelors

15.0%

Other

10.5%

Certificate

5.3%

Associate

2.0%

Doctorate

0.8%

License

0.4%
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