Art Therapist Salary in 2017

An art therapist combines art with psychology to help patients, oftentimes children and adolescents, with behavioral, emotional, and psychological issues. In the US, an art therapist earns close to $50,000 per year compared to about C$51,000 ($40,289 USD) in Canada, and £28,000 ($32,920 USD) in the UK.

Annual earnings for art therapists in Australia and New Zealand are about AU$74,000 ($57,689 USD) and NZ$62,000 ($43,116 USD), respectively, while salaries in South Africa are about R198,000 ($14,487 USD) per year and just under Rs383,000 ($5,882 USD) in India. Geographic region, professional experience, and work setting affect earning potential for art therapists, with further details provided in this guide.

How Much Does an Art Therapist Make per Year?

The chart below outlines salaries and hourly wages for art therapists worldwide.

Art Therapist Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Wage $24 C$24 £13 AU$35 NZ$30 Rs184 R95
Annual Wage $49,650 C$50,871
($40,289 USD)
($32,920 USD)
($57,689 USD)
($43,116 USD)
($5,882 (USD)
($14,487 USD)

art therapist salary

Factors that Influence the Art Therapist Salary

Art therapist earning potential varies by geographic region, work experience, and work setting. This guide outlines the impact of these factors, as well as information on a career as an art therapist.

1. Geographic Area

Art Therapist Salary in US

Art therapists in the US earn about $50,000 per year, equivalent to $24 per hour. Bonus income potential is light, but can add another $600 to overall earnings. Entry level art therapists receive more than $41,000 per year, with increasing incomes to more than $72,000 annually for senior level professionals.

Art Therapist Salary in Canada 

In Canada, an art therapist can receive, on average, C$51,000 per year, or C$24 per hour. Bonus pay may add another C$600 to overall earnings. While senior level art therapists earn about $74,000 annually, those in entry level positions earn more than $42,000 when beginning their careers.

Art Therapist Salary in UK

An art therapist in the UK receives an average annual salary of roughly £28,000 per year, while hourly wage earners receive about £13 per hour. Bonus income potential is minimal, but can add another £300 or more to overall earnings. Entry level art therapists see annual incomes of about £23,000 compared to more than £41,000 annually for senior level professionals.

Art Therapist Salary in Australia

The average annual salary range for art therapists in Australia is between AU$62,000 for those early in their careers to more than AU$107,000 for senior level positions. While the average annual salary for all experience levels is about AU$74,000, the average hourly wage is AU$35. Close to AU$1,000 can be earned in additional bonus income.

Art Therapist Salary in New Zealand

Art therapists in New Zealand receive about NZ$62,000 annually, plus another NZ$800 in bonus pay. Hourly income sits at NZ$30 per hour. As a new art therapist, starting salaries average NZ$52,000 per year with yearly pay increasing to over NZ$91,000 per year for senior level professionals.

Art Therapist Salary in India

As an art therapist in India, the annual earnings range from R324,000 for entry level positions to over Rs565,000 for senior level professionals. The average annual salary is about Rs383,000 per year, or Rs184 per hour, and bonus pay can add another Rs4,500 to overall earnings.

Art therapist Salary in South Africa

In South Africa, the average pay for an art therapist is about R198,000 per year, or R95 per hour. Bonus income potential can add another R2,400 to overall earnings. Art therapists beginning their careers earn an average starting salary of more than R166,000 per year compared to about R290,000 annually for senior level professionals.

2. Experience

The gap between entry level and senior level pay for art therapists ranges from about 72% to 76%, meaning that experience adds to overall earning potential. While incomes in Australia are among the highest, the growth in earnings is about 72%, or AU$45,000 more per year. In the US, incomes increase about $31,000 per year, or 76%, for senior level professionals compared to entry level art therapists.

3. Industry

Art therapists are employed in schools, counseling centers, hospitals, and in private practice. Those who work in the public sector or for nonprofit organizations likely have fewer opportunities for bonus pay and salary ranges may also be lower compared to the for-profit, private sector.

Working Hours

Work setting influences work hours. For example, those employed in educational settings work during normal school hours with the same holiday and summer breaks taken by students, while hospital art therapists typically work Monday through Friday during normal business hours and private practice art therapists may offer additional hours in the evenings and weekends to accommodate patient needs. While most art therapists work full-time hours, there are many opportunities for part-time employment and flexible scheduling.

Bonuses and Benefit Packages

As members of the healthcare community, medical, dental and vision insurance are often provided to art therapists, although if employed part-time, these benefits may be offered on a small scale or not at all. Private practice art therapists may need to cover these expenses on their own. Bonus income is possible, but does not add dramatically to overall earning potential.

Job Outlook

A career in art therapy provides a significant amount of job satisfaction that comes from helping those in need. With the rising need in mental healthcare and awareness in treatment, growth among art therapists is expected to increase through 2024 at a rate of about 19%, as estimated by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. To work as an art therapist, a master’s degree in art therapy with training in counseling, is required. Licensure with the appropriate state or regional agency is also required.


Art therapists earn solid incomes, and while salaries are not as high as some healthcare positions, a high level of job satisfaction comes with this profession. Benefits packages include healthcare coverage and paid time off, and while bonus pay is possible, it does not offer large sums of additional income. The future need for art therapists is expected to rise, which should provide sufficient job opportunities for newly trained art therapists.

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