Students who want to become art therapists express themselves creatively, are interested in human behavior and have a desire to serve others.

We offer an intensive pre-art therapy program that prepares you for success in art therapy graduate work, which can lead to your master’s degree and becoming a Registered Art Therapist.

Career Opportunities

  • Community centers
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Schools
  • Substance abuse programs
  • In-home care

Study Format

  • On Campus
  • Online

Art Therapy Degree Overview

Art therapists use art for healing and growth among their clients, which may include children, victims of abuse, people with disabilities and senior citizens.

As the nation’s aging population increases, there has been a significant rise in the need for mental health professions. Art therapy is a growing career field and can serve as a complement to other types of therapy, by using the creative process to help people improve their mental health.

In this pre-professional program you will take courses in studio art, ranging from drawing to ceramics to printmaking. You will also have required psychology classes, exploring topics such as group dynamics and theories of personality. A course on professional strategies for artists will, among other items, help you put together a well-designed portfolio—a graduate school admissions requirement—that emphasizes your skills in a variety of mediums.

For more information, visit our catalog pages for required courses.

Art Therapy Major Opportunities

A pre-art therapy degree ensures you will be ready to apply for admission to a professional art therapy program, where you will earn an advanced degree and can pursue the designation of Registered Art Therapist (ATR). 

CUC is surrounded by many excellent schools, major medical centers and social service agencies that give students the benefit of a wide range of experiences in the area of psychology. Being in the midst of the Chicago metro area means students have many opportunities to volunteer, participate in internships and to visit cultural institutions. Examples include the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, National Museum of Mexican Art and the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.

As you explore your career options, the Office of Career Services helps you find internships to suit whatever career direction you plan to take after graduation. Career Services partners with the Illinois Small College Placement Association and CareerRookie, which provides extensive databases of internships, jobs and resources to help you shape your future.