Become A Therapist Without A Degree – You cannot become a mental health counselor without a degree. Mental health counselors, psychologists, and marriage or family therapists need some type of training in psychology or a related field. Other positions may be entered without a degree, including:
To become a mental health counselor, students should begin by earning a degree in a counseling-related subject such as psychology or sociology. Their curriculum should include subjects that include human development and subjects such as abnormal psychology.
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In many states, a mental health counselor must have a master’s degree in counseling. This program must be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP). It demonstrates that the program content meets the highest standards set by mental health professionals.
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All states, along with the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, require mental health counselors to pass one or more National Board of Certified Counselor exams. Applicants may be required to pass a state-specific exam.
Before you can practice as a licensed mental health counselor, you must have hands-on experience through graduate and postgraduate internships under the supervision of licensed counselors. States may require between 2,000 and 3,000 clinical hours to obtain a license.
Once you complete the required hours and pass the licensing exam, you can apply for a mental health license in your state. This will be considered the final step necessary for licensure to practice independently. Many people may already have a master’s degree in something else (mental health, psychology, counseling, social work, etc.) and are interested in pursuing art therapy, but don’t want (or can’t) invest all the time and money.
Also, there are some of you who are already art therapists, but you are in the awkward situation where you are not licensed in your state or it is too complicated to get licensed in that state. So what to do?
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So today I am answering your question – is it possible to practice art therapy without another degree or certification – which you may have considered. But my answer is a bit complicated, so bear with me. There is one area where this will require some kind of degree or certification…so I’ll share with you how you can do it the easy way even if you need those things. **Note: I exclusively cover US related items**
* And pssst… if you want to know about what kind of art therapist career is best for you, you can take my review/quiz here.
So I have a 2 part answer to my yes. This is because it depends on what situation you are in.
Well, it looks very different, because you have to be a licensed art therapist to practice art therapy in these states. So here’s what you can do to do art therapy in these states.
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If you already have a master’s degree (therapy, psychology, counseling, social work, etc.) and want to do “clinical work” and get “jobs,” then doing a post-master’s certificate program is a great option.
This is primarily a master’s level program suitable for individuals who already have a mental health degree but need to take art therapy courses or credits to obtain art therapy board certification (ATR-BC) and/or obtain an art therapist license in your state.
It doesn’t take as much time as a full-time masters in art therapy, so that’s a big plus.
But what if you don’t need or want to work in clinical settings or attend these programs? Then you can consider…
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What I mean by “non-clinical” work is helping people who don’t have a diagnosis of mental illness or working in non-medical or non-mental health settings.
I also call this “creative welfare” work. This type of work has many names.
I believe that art therapy can come in many different forms, and that it doesn’t always have to be “clinical” – with art therapy as a treatment for mental illnesses and their diagnosis.
With non-clinical work you are primarily helping people outside of normal mental health treatment or medical facilities. And that means you don’t do “mental health treatment” or psychotherapy.
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And so, you work more in the field of human services, in the field of “life coaching” or creative “health”. Helping people improve themselves through art therapy or an “art as therapy” approach.
So, technically, you’re not doing “art therapy” as in psychotherapy, you’re using art as a healing tool.
And how do you actually do it? You can work as a freelancer or open your own office/business offering these services to people. You may not be able to strictly call your services “art therapy” or call yourself an “art therapist” per se, as those titles are reserved only for those who are licensed art therapists in your state, but you can be really creative in what you call your services and yourself. It doesn’t matter what your title is, what matters is that you help people.
I don’t want you to feel trapped and helpless because there is so much bureaucracy and restrictions around this idea of art therapy work.
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I want to inspire you to open yourself up to different possibilities and remind you why you want to be in this business – you want to help people from within, using art as a medium of expression. You are here to do a wonderful job. It invites you to do it.
PS If you still have questions about this career path and how to proceed, book my 1:1 career counseling call. In this Zoom call, I can personally answer your specific questions and tailor the information to your individual situation. See the call for advice here.
PPS And if you want detailed and real-world guidance on starting your own online art therapy business (or creative wellness business), I invite you to join my Visionary Art Therapists membership where I give you strategies and support to launch your dream art therapy business through social media and start seeing clients. (You don’t have to be an art therapist to join, just know 😉 We have other creative leaders, coaches and creatives in the group!)
That being said, I hope this was helpful to you. Thanks and see you next time! Can you become a physical therapist without a degree? If you’re asking this question, we have some bad news for you, but also some good news.
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This applies to both physical therapy and physiotherapy, as both require the same education and licensure. You can read our explanation here if you are interested in the difference between physical therapy and physiotherapy.
No, you cannot become a physical therapist without a degree. Physical therapists in the United States typically spend eight years in college and PT school.
However, you can certainly work in physical therapy settings with less education than that, and physical training is another career you may want to consider.
As we said before, the answer is not clear. However, you can become a physical therapist assistant with an associate’s degree (two years).
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However, this possibility is also disappearing, as many colleges offer four-year bachelor’s degree programs for physical therapist assistants. ouch
As we wrote in this article, it is not a big price for a salary. Physical therapist assistants are also having trouble finding work, even though the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 32% job growth rate over the next decade ( source ).
If college isn’t an option, you can become a physical therapy technician (or assistant) without a college degree! These jobs are also in high demand. In fact, physical therapy technicians are one of the reasons why physical therapist assistants have more difficulty finding work.
If you really want to get into physical therapy without a degree, becoming a technician or assistant is the best option.
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Physical therapists must earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, which usually requires an undergraduate degree followed by four years of physical therapy school. ouch
If you want to become a physical therapist, but eight years seems difficult, you can also look into accelerated programs where you can combine a bachelor’s and doctorate degree in a 7-year program.
To become a physical therapist, you must earn a doctor of physical therapy degree. As we mentioned, these are four-year programs after you get your degree.
To become a physical therapist assistant, you can complete a two-year associate degree that leads to certification. Note that many of these programs are now transitioning to four-year degrees.
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There are many healthcare jobs you can get without a degree, so let’s take a look at them.
This great article from Monster provides health care jobs you can get without a degree, and we’ll highlight just a few options you can get without an associate’s degree.
Massage therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists do not require an associate’s degree, and OTs do.
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