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How to Become an Art Therapist in Canada


As published on April 4, 2018 on WHEAT's LinkedIn (HERE)

The path to becoming a Registered Canadian Art Therapist (RCAT) is varied in that individuals from a variety of different backgrounds may be able to pursue Art Therapy as a career.

Many have been pleased to discover Art Therapy as a second career after first pursuing a career in teaching, social work, or fine arts. Others pursue Art Therapy as a career from the start of their educational planning. The field of Art Therapy values backgrounds that are as diverse as the clients we serve.

Regardless of your age or educational background, there are some key requirements to becoming an RCAT in Canada.

Step 1: Assess Your Education

Do you have an undergraduate degree in one of these fields?

Psychology / Fine Arts / Social Work / Counselling

If so, you may be eligible to pursue further training in Art Therapy.

If you have an undergraduate degree in a different, but related, field, we can conduct a prior learning assessment to determine your course equivalencies.

Prerequisite courses for the Winnipeg Holistic Expressive Arts Therapy (WHEAT) Institute’s Art Therapy Diploma include: Developmental Psychology (3 credits) and Abnormal Psychology or Psychopathology (3 credits). This work may also be completed during the course of study.

Step 2: Choose a training program

You can find the full list of art therapy training programs that meet the Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA) standards on their website.

If you’re planning to pursue education while maintaining your current employment, WHEAT’s Art Therapy Diploma may be right for you. With a summer intensive in Winnipeg and online education from September to April,  WHEAT’s Art Therapy Diploma has been specifically designed to fit the schedules of teachers (and others working in the education system), and other presently employed individuals.

Step 3: Study, learn, and grow

Congrats, you’ve started your professional training in Art Therapy! Savour the words of wisdom from the Art Therapists and creative professionals who came before you, and relish in the opportunity to bring your skills, compassion and creativity together all in one place. For the students who find us, this creative and therapeutic process is a sweet elixir, and one that has also led most students to immediate opportunities in a field they are passionate about. 


Step 4: Post Graduation: Register with CATA

To register with Canada’s Art Therapy regulating body, or CATA, you are required to have completed the following:

*Graduation from an accredited Art Therapy training program in Canada

*Registration as a professional member of CATA for six months

*1000 hours of additional art therapy client contact time beyond your training program combined with 50 hours of post-graduate supervision with a registered Art Therapist.

The CATA website provides answers to frequently asked questions on registering.

Step 5: Start your professional practice

The opportunities are limitless! Previous students of WHEAT’s Art Therapy Diploma have ventured into professional opportunities at established counselling practices, local health care facilities, schools, and many have began their own personal Art Therapy Practice.

In fact, WHEAT’s Art Therapy Diploma provides coursework in entrepreneurship and managing your own professional practice so that you may have the tools to succeed as a professional Art Therapist.

If you’ve read up to this point and you’ve been waiting for a sign to switch careers, let this be that sign! Art Therapy is an emerging field and offers numerous opportunities for creative career paths.

Contact WHEAT today info@wheatinstitute.com or 204-293-3869 to learn if Art Therapy is right for you.

April 6, 2018