What do I need to do to become an Art Therapist?

Different countries have different laws relating to who can call themselves an art therapist/art psychotherapist. In some countries, such as the UK,  in order to offer services as an art therapist/art psychotherapist (both titles are protected by law), it is mandatory to complete a training validated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). These are at MA or MSc level and applicants usually need a primary degree, often in fine art or something similar. In other countries, there are few or no legislative restrictions on who can provide art therapy. Please check your own country’s rules and regulations carefully to understand your particular legal obligations. Morally and ethically, it is also very important not to present oneself as an art therapist/psychotherapist without having obtained appropriate training and personal development. The Introduction and Foundation courses offered here by OCAT are NOT qualifications to practise, in the UK or elsewhere. They are, however, first steps in exploring and learning about the work of art therapy and offer students insights and skills that they may find useful in their work in other contexts.


What qualifications do I get by taking your courses?

The Introduction and Foundation courses do not confer qualifications or imply the right to practise as an art therapist.  However, the courses are useful for people using art in their care, social or educational work  (or interested in doing so), especially if they live in countries where accessing training is difficult. They are also intended as courses for people who want to explore the profession and who may want to take further training in order to qualify. Some degree courses will take into account that students have completed these courses with us, alongside a portfolio of artwork and life experience, as a way to assess students for limited places on their trainings.

We also offer courses designed as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for art therapists and those in allied professions. CPD certificates, which can be used to show continuing professional learning, are issued on course completion.


Are you a University?

No, we are not a university and do not confer university degrees or certificates. We are however a college of learning with a faculty of well-known, trusted, and expert art therapists and psychotherapists from around the world. It is likely that we will offer university accredited qualifications at some point in the future, in partnership with a well-known university.


How can you train in something like this online? Isn’t it all about relationships?

Without a doubt, the quality of relationship in any kind of therapy is crucial to outcomes and without personal, face-to-face experience and experiential learning it is very hard if not impossible to train someone to be a great therapist. The courses currently offered here are not aimed at offering a full art therapy training – they are introductory and foundational courses. We have however included many art exercises in our curriculum to give students an experience of art-based learning and of the role of art in building reflexivity. We will also be offering additional courses and these will be a blend of online learning and face-to-face intensives, in Oxford and in cities in other countries. Please be sure to remain a subscriber to our mailing list to stay up-to-date with these offerings.


Are you only for British students?

Although we are based in England, our faculty is international and students come to us from all over the world.


What languages are your courses available in?

At the moment our courses are available only in English. We will be developing versions in other languages.


What is the law on practicing as an art therapist?

It varies from country to country and anyone wanting to practice as an art therapist needs to know the law and professional regulations in their country of intended practice.


What is the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT)? Are you them?

OCAT is not the same as BAAT; we are totally separate organisations! BAAT is the UK national body representing the art therapy profession.  OCAT faculty members who work in the UK as art therapists are all full BAAT members.


Can I start, pause and resume the course in my own time?



What cards and payment methods can I use to pay for my courses?

Our merchant system accepts a wide range of internationally recognized credit and debit cards, as well as local payment wallets.


How do I contact OCAT’s administration office?

Please email us using the contact form.


How do I join the forum?

Students who have paid for a course with us can become members of our Forum. Joining information will be sent to you.