Colleges that Offer Dance Therapy Programs

As subsection of recreational therapy, dance therapy uses drama, movement, music and the arts as therapeutic tools for people who are ill or who have special needs. Learn about degree programs in the field at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and get advice on choosing a school. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Dance therapy can be studied at the undergraduate or graduate level. Various options include somatic dance, learning to teach dance and studying dance in a creative fashion.

Which Undergraduate Schools Offer Dance Therapy?

If you want to have a career in dance therapy, you may consider enrolling in an undergraduate degree in expressive arts therapy or therapeutic recreation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor's degree is typically the standard requirement for entry-level work in the field. As part of a 4-year program, you may study psychology, visual arts, dance and theater to explore the theoretical side of the arts and its role in counseling. By the end of the 4-year program, you are likely to take part in an internship to apply your classroom skills.

Which Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees in Dance Therapy?

Bachelor's degree programs in dance therapy reiterate the practice of dance through creative studies or even with a business cognate approach. Students can also elect to minor in dance while majoring in something else.

  • The University of Washington offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program in dance with options in dance or creative studies.
  • The University of Akron offers a B.A. degree program in dance with a business cognate; a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree program in dance; and a minor in dance.
  • Minnesota State University offers a B.F.A. degree program in dance.

What Are Graduate Programs in Dance Therapy Like?

If you want to further your studies, you can enroll in a graduate school that offers a Master of Arts in Dance or Movement Therapy. In the 2-year and 3-year programs, you can combine classroom learning and lectures with hands-on studio work and clinical experience providing dance therapy to people in need. Some graduate schools will also require you to complete a thesis project.

What Will I Learn in Graduate School?

While studying dance therapy, it's common to take classes that combine the arts, dance, psychology and counseling. Some of the classes you may take include:

  • Group dynamics and therapy
  • Human psychological development
  • Theories of psychotherapy
  • Movement observation

Which Schools Offer Master's Degrees in Dance Therapy?

Dance therapy at the master's degree level is perhaps the most common of the three avenues of study in the field. For that reason, more variety exists with regard to degree selection.

  • Drexel University offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program in dance and movement therapy counseling.
  • Pratt Institute offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in dance/movement therapy.
  • Naropa University offers an M.A. degree program in clinical mental health counseling with a somatic counseling: dance/movement concentration.

Can I Earn a Certificate?

There are certificate programs available if you want additional studies and guided internships that add to your master's degree. Post-graduate certificate programs can cover movement pattern analysis and movement analysis, for example. There are also undergraduate certificate programs if you want to gain an introduction to dance/movement therapy.

Which Schools Offer Certificates in Dance Therapy?

Certificates in dance therapy include options for teaching. In those programs, students can prepare for working in a dance studio or opening their own.

  • The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a Dance Certificate, a Certificate in Introductory Studies in Dance/Movement Therapy, and a Pilates Certificate.
  • Santa Monica College offers a Teaching of Dance certificate program.
  • North Essex Community College offers a Dance Education Certificate.

What Else Should I Consider?

When looking at schools, you should consider programs that are supported by the American Dance Therapy Association. In 2009, four U.S. states required recreational therapists to be licensed to practice, the BLS reports.

Along with your degree, you may have to be certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification to pursue a career, the BLS reports. Some dance therapists become Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists depending on their backgrounds and career intentions, according to the BLS.

Depending on how you want to study dance therapy, the options are available to suit your passions. Learn how to become a consultant of movement therapy and train to become an owner of a dance studio.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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