How Do I Earn an Art Certification Online?

There are many forms of art certification, including those in art therapy, forensic art and art education. You typically must apply to a credentialing board and pass an exam to gain certification. The following article provides brief descriptions of the process for gaining art certifications and which steps may be completed online. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Earn Art Certification Online

Art is used in a variety of fields, such as clinical therapy, criminal investigation and education. Therapists use art as a tool to help patients with expressing emotions. Forensic artists draw pictures of suspects from descriptions or capture a court scene. Art teachers help students learn about art concepts and creativity. Certification is typically not required or mandated, but voluntary certification in these varied fields is available and can serve as proof of your skills and abilities to potential employers.

Important Facts About Art Certification

Core Courses Art history and theory, surrealism, western civilization art, drawing for art educators, and history of art education
Degree Levels Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees
Possible Careers Museum educator, teaching artist, community arts leader, forensic psychologist, college professor
Key Skills Supervising staff, communication skills, working with youth, researching/presenting work, and enhancing creative ability in professional settings
Median Salary (2018) $47,860 (for all recreational therapists, including art therapists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 7% (for all recreational therapists, including art therapists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Art Therapy Certification

The Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc. (ATCB) offers the Registered Art Therapist (ATR) credential and board certification for art therapists ( To become an ATR, you need a master's degree in art therapy or psychology. In addition, you must have supervised clinical experience after earning your master's degree. To become board certified, attaining the ATR credential and passing an examination is mandatory.

The ATR may be earned by submitting the required information through the mail. The board certification exam must be taken at an approved location. Applications and preparation materials are available online.

Forensic Art Certification

The International Association for Identification (IAI) provides a forensic artist certification ( To qualify for certification, you must complete a minimum number of hours of training through a program approved by the IAI, have two years of work experience in forensic art and provide letters confirming your employment and work experience. You must pass a written test, and you must present a portfolio of your work to be critiqued before earning the certification.

Information about this exam and the application to take the exam may be found online, but the application must be submitted through the mail. Testing takes place under the supervision of a test proctor at a location of the test proctor's choice.

Art Education Certification

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) offers national certification options for art teachers who teach students from ages 3-12 and ages 11 and up ( To qualify to take the certification exam from the NBPTS, you must have a bachelor's degree, hold a state teacher's license and have completed three years of teaching.

You may get the application packet online, but it must be submitted through the mail with all applicable documents. The certification exam can be taken online, but it must be taken at an appointed testing center.

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