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Applicants for art therapy training come from diverse backgrounds: whilst many have a formal art and design qualification, applications from professionals in the Health and Care sectors (nurses, social workers, allied health professionals, etc.) and Education are also considered providing that they can demonstrate on-going personal involvement in art-making.

In order to practise in the UK as an art therapist/art psychotherapist (both titles are inter-changeable and protected by law), it is mandatory to complete a training validated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

All HCPC validated art therapy trainings are at MA or MsC level and applicants will usually need a primary degree. Approved training programmes are available at a number of establishments in the UK (please consult list in the information pack). Please contact them directly for details and availability of courses.

Prior experience of care work is needed before training as an art therapist:, usually a year full-time (or part-time equivalent). This does not have to be art-related, but has to be a task that puts the applicant in charge in a professional capacity of the welfare of a vulnerable person (child, adult or elder). Therefore experiences such as parenthood and being a carer for a friend or family member, although valuable, do not count as work experience. The work experience can be part-time and does not have to be in a "one block" format. Applicants can go back a few years and include both paid and voluntary work.

Applications can be made to several colleges simultaneously  (this is not a system like UCAS).

Art therapy trainings meet the criteria set by the HCPC and are usually run as a two-year full time, three-year part-time course. However, the way colleges deliver the core course requirements differ with some offering modular provisions. If needing to work during training, please check how the programme is delivered and how many days per week are required throughout its duration.

There is no funding available for art therapy training and most students self-fund through a career development loan. Please click on the pdf for more information about Art Therapy training:


Collaborative Pieces: Intro and Foundation Course Video

Find out more about our Introduction and Foundation Courses.

You can also view our Art Therapy Videos section for more videos on Art Therapy.