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Art therapist: Salary and conditions

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  • Jobs in the National Health Service (NHS)  are usually covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) Pay Rates consisting of nine pay bands.
  • Typical salaries for NHS art therapist entry level posts (band 6) range from £25,783 to £34,530.
  • Salaries for NHS art therapists with some experience range from £30,764 to £40,558 (band 7).
  • NHS principal art therapist posts (band 8a) are generally £39,239 to £47,088.
  • Salary levels outside the NHS can vary depending on the employer and whether working part time and/or self-employed.
  • Hours worked will depend on the employer. Within the NHS the work is mainly nine to five, but with private practice the hours can be more varied to fit around both the client and practitioner and could involve weekends and evenings.
  • Opportunities exist for part-time and portfolio working, e.g. some art therapists may divide their working time between the NHS, private practice and teaching, and many art therapists combine art therapy with other types of related work.
  • Career breaks are possible but it is vital to keep up to date with developments in the profession through attending courses and maintaining established networks.
  • Jobs are available in most parts of the UK as key employers include social services, local authorities and the NHS. Art therapists in private practice may take referrals from these organisations. However, some jobs are not advertised and art therapists may need to generate their own work through a range of activities, including networking.
  • Travel within a working day is frequent. Some art therapists work for several employers and may travel between them during the week.
  • There may be some travel to residential courses, seminars and workshops, as continuing professional development (CPD) is an essential element of continued registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) .

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.

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Written by AGCAS editors
May 2014

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