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Art Therapy Licensure in the State of Maryland

We did it! Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of our Legislative Committee (headed by Liz Hlavek and Amanda Bechtel), as well as the efforts of many other Maryland art therapists and supporters, particularly those who lobbied their representatives directly and/or testified in Annapolis, the art therapy profession will now be regulated and protected under law.

Our bill was signed into law on May 29, 2012. (Here’s a photo of our very own Liz with Governor Martin O’Malley as he applied his signature: Bill Signing)

Art therapists meeting the standards to be licensed under the LCPAT designation (Licensed Clinical Professional Art Therapist) will have all the privileges and responsibilities afforded by state licensure. The corresponding law will go into effect in October 2012, so it behooves art therapists, students, related professionals, local institutions and agencies, and consumers, to get to know the LCPAT now.

A version of the House of Delegates bill resulting in the new law is available to view and download at:

1. What is the LCPAT and how will it affect me?
LCPAT stands for Licensed Clinical Professional Art Therapist. It is a professional license for Maryland art therapists under the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists. The LCPAT regulates who can practice art therapy in the state of Maryland.

2. Who is eligible for the LCPAT?
Any art therapist who graduated from an AATA accredited master’s program with 60 credits is eligible. The Art Therapy Board Certification exam is the required exam for licensure. 

3. What are the requirements for the LCPAT?
- 60 credit master’s degree from an AATA approved school
- 3000 client contact hours (2000 of which are accumulated post graduation.)
- ATCB Board Certification

4. Is there a graduate level license?
Yes. An art therapist is eligible for the LGPAT if they have completed a 60 credit , AATA approved Master’s program and are receiving supervision from a LCPAT or other licensed mental health professional. Once an art therapist has fulfilled the required 3000 contact hours and passed the BC exam, they can obtain the LCPAT.

5. Is there a “grandfathering” period and what does that require?
Yes. From October 1, 2012 through October 1 2014, certain art therapists will be able to be “grandfathered” in to the LCPAT. This option is available to any board certified Maryland art therapist who has a minimum of three years postgraduate work as an full time art therapist. Documentation of work experience and board certification must be included in application.

6. Do all 60 credits need to be from an AATA-approved program ?
Yes, they do. AATA accreditation keeps educational requirements consistent.

7. Will the LCPAT be recognized by insurance companies?
Hopefully. This is our next big step, which will require additional manpower and potentially more legislative action.

8. How do I apply for the license and when can I do so?
The license goes into effect on October 1, 2012. By that date, applicants can visit where there will be a new section for applying for the LCPAT or LGPAT. An art therapist will sit on the board and review art therapist applications. MATA will send out an email when the information becomes available online

9. Can I hold both an LCPC and a LCPAT?
Absolutely. if you already have the LCPC or are working towards it, you can certainly keep that license. However, the LCPAT will be required to practice art therapy by October 2014.

10. I already have the LCPC and I took the NCE. Do I still need to take the BC exam for the LCPAT?
Yes. The LCPAT is an art therapy specific license and as such, it is important that the BC exam be the standard that is used. We are working with the ATCB to have the BC exam offered this July in Baltimore in addition to the other cities where it is offered.

11. What is included in the LCPAT scope of practice?
The definition of an LCPAT was written to have parity with the other licenses under the Board. According to legislation, LCPATs will use art therapy for diagnosis, prevention, treatment and amelioration of psychological and emotional or mental conditions.

12. Does this include title protection?
Yes! By regulating the practice of art therapy at a state level, those practicing and advertising themselves as art therapists will have to be licensed as an LCPAT or LGPAT. This means that individuals with no art therapy background will no longer be able to call themselves art therapists.