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Art Therapy

Mission + Licensure / Certification


The mission of the ESU Graduate Art Therapy Program is to prepare exceptional graduates who think purposefully, creatively, and ethically about the psychological constructs involved in the art making and reflection processes. We strive to inspire professional art therapists who will advance art therapy theory, practice, and research, and provide service to those in need. The program is one of only a handful in the central United States. By maintaining a low student-to-faculty ratio, the Art Therapy program provides quality individual attention and helps to meet the needs of the increasingly diverse student body. Our faculty combines strengths in clinical experience with diverse populations, research skills, fine arts training, state and national professional service, and international networking to offer students an exemplary art therapy education.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs/Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education (CAAHEP/ACATE) as well as Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs / Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education (CAHEEP/ACATE) requires accredited art therapy programs to, at minimum, "prepare competent entry level art therapists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills) and affective (behavior) learning domains."

Licensure / Certification

Art therapists are credentialed nationally by the Art Therapy Credentials Board. Registered art therapists (designated by the initials ATR) have accrued post-graduate supervised work experience in art therapy.

Graduates of programs accredited by CAHEEP/ACATE, such as Emporia State, need fewer such hours to attain the ATR than do graduates of non-approved programs. Upon earning the ATR, art therapists may sit for the national certification examination to become Board Certified (ATR-BC). Board certification is the highest level of national credentialing in art therapy and is maintained through continuing education.

Kansas does not currently license art therapists. However, students who complete the dual art therapy and clinical counseling track are eligible for the Licensed Professional Counselor license in Kansas. Kansas’ licensing standards are rigorous and license eligibility in Kansas equates to license eligibility in other states, however license type and post-graduation hour requirements may vary.