Best Art Therapy Programs of 2022

Are you interested in a helping career that uses visual art skills? Art therapy may be the ticket. Check out the best art therapy programs of 2022.

portrait of James Mielke
by James Mielke

Published on July 6, 2022 · Updated on July 7, 2022

Edited by Taylor Gadsden
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It is becoming common knowledge that Americans—especially young Americans—are facing an unprecedented mental health crisis. As a result, mental health professionals, including art therapists, will play a key role in managing this spike of individuals facing serious mental health challenges.

Art therapists use a dual expertise in both traditional art skills and therapeutic and clinical skills. These helping professionals can jumpstart their healthcare degree and career by enrolling in a bachelor's in art therapy program.

Undergraduate art therapy programs introduce students to the foundational skills they will use when they begin their art therapist careers. Through a blend of studio art, art therapy, and psychology courses, these pre-professional programs prepare students for the master's degree programs required to earn their certification.

Throughout their undergraduate journey, art therapy students complete general education and major requirements, often graduating in about four years. In addition to standard classroom learning, many programs also require students to complete an internship or practicum alongside a working art therapist. Some programs also provide flexibility through online coursework.

On the following page, we spotlight ten of the best bachelor's in art therapy programs. Keep reading to see which schools stand out by offering academic programming worthy of student investment.

Our Top Pick

Taylor University - Upland, IN

Why It's #1: Indiana's Taylor University is the number one school ranked on our 2022 Best Art Therapy Programs list. This standout institution has a 77% graduation rate. And while this private institution comes with private school tuition rates, 99% of students receive some sort of financial aid. Taylor University has a 73% admission rate, meaning that it is relatively generous when admitting new learners. Those admitted can expect relatively small class sizes with a 12-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.

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2022 Best Accredited Bachelor's in Art Therapy Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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#1

Taylor University

School Information
Location Upland, Indiana
Admission Rate 68%
Graduation Rate 77%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,015
Out of State | $1,015

Credits to Graduate
128

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Established in 1846, Taylor University is a private Christian institution based in Upland, Indiana. Taylor offers a pre-professional bachelor's in art therapy that prepares students for graduate-level work through a curriculum pulling from psychology and art disciplines. 

Core classes include topics such as art history, figure drawing, abnormal psychology, and fundamentals of counseling. Before graduation, students complete a practicum in an art therapy setting.

Prospective students can apply through the Common Application and must establish their Christian faith in an essay or verbally. While Taylor does not require standardized test scores, those opting out must submit additional application information.

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#2

Lipscomb University

School Information
Location Nashville, Tennessee
Admission Rate 63%
Graduation Rate 68%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Semester
In State | $18,576
Out of State | $18,576

Credits to Graduate
69

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | N/A

Lipscomb University is a Nashville-based, private institution that offers an in-person bachelor's in art therapy. This interdisciplinary degree provides students with a blend of art and psychology classes. Core courses include topics such as lifespan development, introduction to psychology, and art theory. Students also take studio art classes like printmaking, sculpture, and painting.

Prospective students can apply through the Common Application or directly by completing Lipscomb's online application. To gain admission into the art therapy program, applicants must submit an art portfolio.

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#3

Northwestern College

School Information
Location Orange City, Iowa
Admission Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 68%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,080
Out of State | $1,080

Credits to Graduate
124

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Based in Orange City, Iowa, Northwestern College plays home to an art therapy program that integrates both art and psychology coursework. Alongside general education coursework, degree-seekers complete 42 credits of major requirements. 

Students tackle art classes like drawing, ceramics, and painting. In addition, psychology coursework includes topics such as psychopathology, developmental psychology, and exploring psychology. Before graduation, students also complete an internship at an approved location.

Alongside standard admission materials, applicants must submit a digital art portfolio documenting past work.

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#4

Temple University

School Information
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 60%
Graduation Rate 74%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $687
Out of State | $1,238

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Established in 1884, Temple University is a Philadelphia-based public institution with more than 27,000 undergraduate students. Temple's bachelor's in art therapy requires courses in studio art, art history, and psychology. 

In addition, core art therapy classes include topics such as creative process in art therapy, introduction to art therapy, and fieldwork in art therapy. Alongside coursework, students can participate in the active Therapeutic Art Club of Temple University.

In addition to standard application requirements, prospective art therapy students must submit a digital portfolio comprising 10-20 pieces of original work. 

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#5

The University of Tampa

School Information
Location Tampa, Florida
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 58%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 0% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $640
Out of State | $640

Credits to Graduate
124

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)

The University of Tampa is a private institution that plays home to a lengthy catalog of undergraduate and graduate programs, including a pre-professional bachelor's in art therapy. This interdisciplinary program introduces students to foundational courses in art, art therapy, and relevant social sciences. 

Core art therapy classes include introduction to art therapy, arts in health, and art therapy with adults. Before graduation, students also complete a practicum experience and a capstone project.

Prospective students can apply through the Common Application, the Coalition Application, or by submitting an application directly to the University of Tampa.

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#6

Union University

School Information
Location Jackson, Tennessee
Admission Rate 53%
Graduation Rate 68%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,150
Out of State | $1,150

Credits to Graduate
128

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)

Established in 1823, Union University, located in Jackson, Tennessee, offers a pre-professional bachelor's in art therapy. Degree-seekers take various art and psychology classes. Standard major requirements include courses such as sculpture, photography, painting, experimental psychology, and theories of personality. Before graduation, students also complete an art therapy internship.

Prospective students must hold a high school or GED diploma and submit an application with all relevant fees. Applicants must include official high school transcripts and standardized test scores.

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#7

Springfield College

School Information
Location Springfield, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 68%
Graduation Rate 74%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,200
Out of State | $1,200

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Springfield College is a private, Massachusetts-based institution dating back to 1885. Springfield's bachelor's in art therapy introduces students to the field while also preparing them for admission into the school's graduate program in art therapy. 

Core academic requirements include topics such as art therapy with special populations, multicultural issues in art therapy, and various studio art classes. Before graduation, students complete a hands-on practicum in art therapy.

Applicants must hold a high school or GED diploma, preferably from a college-prep program. Applicants also submit an admission essay, and standardized tests are optional as of July 2022.

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#8

Marywood University

School Information
Location Scranton, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 68%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $685
Out of State | $685

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | American Art Therapy Association

Based in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Marywood University is a private, Catholic institution that offers a bachelor's in art therapy. Core art therapy classes include topics such as approaches in art therapy, introduction to arts and healing, and various studio art and psychology classes.

In addition to the standard four-year bachelor's, students with 90 credits and a 3.0 GPA can apply to Marywood's master's in art therapy program. This accelerated track allows students to earn their master's in just one extra year.

First-year applicants must hold a high school or GED diploma and submit official high school transcripts. Applicants also submit a short writing sample and a recommendation letter from a teacher or school counselor.

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#9

Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion

School Information
Location Marion, Indiana
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 71%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 19% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,062
Out of State | $1,062

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Indiana Wesleyan University is a private, Indiana-based Christian institution with about 10,000 students. Indiana Wesleyan offers a pre-professional bachelor's in art therapy that covers both art and psychology courses.

Degree-seekers complete 30 credits each of art and psychology courses before graduation. Some core requirements include classes such as representational painting, art history, general psychology, and introduction to art therapy.

Applicants must hold a high school or GED diploma and submit official transcripts. Indiana Wesleyan offers rolling admission and does not require standardized test scores or an admission essay.

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#10

Edgewood College

School Information
Location Madison, Wisconsin
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 64%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Year
In State | $33,550
Out of State | $33,550

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Edgewood College is a private, Catholic institution located in Madison, Wisconsin. Edgewood is home to a pre-professional bachelor's in art therapy that offers foundational knowledge and prepares students for admission to graduate programs.

This 62-credit interdisciplinary program blends studio art, art therapy, and psychology classes. Some core courses include topics such as applied art therapy in a multicultural context, art therapy techniques of practice, and history and theory of art therapy.

Prospective students must hold a high school or GED diploma and can apply online.

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Popular Online Art Therapy Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How We Rank Schools

Each year, the BestColleges Ranking Team evaluates hundreds of programs to produce our annual Best Bachelor's in Art Therapy ranking. In 2022, the team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. We identified 10 schools that qualify for our ranking list based on the following criteria.

To ensure the accuracy and quality of our final ranked list, the ranking team reviewed each qualifying school to ensure it met the criteria for our ranking, and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (60%) and affordability (40%).

The BestColleges Ranking Team is made up of contributors from our data science and product management teams. These contributors operate independently from the editorial team. All BestColleges school rankings are produced by the ranking team and are free of editorial influence. Read our Editorial Policy and Standards to learn more.

BestColleges' Ranking Factors

Frequently Asked Questions About Art Therapy Programs

Is a bachelor's in art therapy worth it?

Yes. For students wanting to pursue a career in art therapy, a bachelor's in the field introduces students to the foundational art and psychology skills they will use throughout their careers. While a bachelor's in art therapy does not meet the professional standards for licensure, graduates will have the skills they need to gain admission into a graduate program. As a result, this degree is certainly worth it.

During their undergraduate experience, art therapy students tackle an interdisciplinary curriculum that typically blends studio art, art therapy, and relevant social science coursework. Alongside traditional coursework, many art therapy programs require a hands-on practicum before graduation.

What can I do with a bachelor's in art therapy?

Students pursuing a degree in art therapy typically want to begin a career in the field. While a bachelor's in art therapy can pave the way for various careers, schools tailor these degrees to prepare students for a master's in art therapy program. Art therapists work in diverse environments, including hospitals, crisis centers, substance use rehabilitation centers, and senior communities.

Licensed art therapists often work as independent clinicians and are self-employed. Conversely, some of these professionals work as salaried employees at hospitals and rehab facilities.

Are art therapy majors in demand?

Even though the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not keep data specifically for art therapists, the data for marriage and family therapists shows a field growing much faster than average. BLS data projects a 16% growth for marriage and family therapists between 2020 and 2030.

In addition, reviewing data from fields similar to art therapy and mental health paint a broader picture of job growth. The BLS projects fields for mental health counselors, rehabilitation counselors, and social workers to grow from 2020-2030.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in art therapy?

Determining your earning potential after graduating with a bachelor's in art therapy relies on many factors. According to Payscale, art therapists earned an average salary of about $48,370 as of June 2022. That said, these individuals hold a master's degree and meet all of the relevant credentialing requirements.

In addition to meeting the requirements necessary to jumpstart an art therapy career, experience, geographic location, and the specific role can significantly impact earning potential. Experienced individuals who take on leadership roles tend to make the most.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in art therapy?

Because a bachelor's in art therapy does not lead to professional certification, those seeking a job after graduation typically have access to entry-level roles that do not involve any clinical work.

According to Payscale data, graduates with a master's in art therapy make an average salary of about $43,000 for their first year as art therapists. With experience, the average salary for art therapists often grows. Payscale reports that art therapists with more than a decade of experience earned more than $54,000 per year in 2022. Art therapists in managerial and leadership roles tend to make the most.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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