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Studying for The Art Therapy Credentialing Board Exam (ATCBE)

Studying for the art therapy board exam can be quite the daunting task, especially for those embarking on their first board exam journey. It's natural to feel overwhelmed, not knowing exactly what to study and for how long. But fear not, as I've got you covered. Here's a comprehensive guide packed with resources, invaluable tips, and savvy tricks tailored for the budding art therapist gearing up to conquer the ATCBE.

Art Therapy Rx: Study materials and resources for future art therapists.

Getting Started:

So, you've made the decision to take on the art therapy board credentialing exam, huh? Let's delve into how it all unfolds. It's important to note that what follows is a succinct overview of crucial details. For more comprehensive information, I highly recommend visiting the ATCB website by clicking here

First and foremost, you'll need to apply through the Art Therapy Credentialing Board (ATCB) to take the test and gain approval before scheduling your exam date. Once approved, you'll have a window of up to 6 months to book your exam at an approved testing center. Details regarding this will be provided upon approval by the board.

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When gearing up for the ATCBE, it's crucial to understand that there are two options available: you can opt for board certification alone or go for board certification coupled with state licensure. Ensure absolute clarity on which exam suits your needs. When in doubt, don't hesitate to reach out to the ATCB for clarification. They're incredibly helpful—I've had my own share of confusion, and their assistance was invaluable!

As a side note, for those in Texas, passing the exam grants you the ATR-BC credentialing, and you can then request the board to forward your official test scores to the LPC board to add the "AT" designation to your existing licensures, such as LPC/AT. However, this process isn't a walk in the park, particularly with the LPC board facing a backlog and prioritizing other matters. I'll keep you posted on my progress with this!


The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, with only 170 of them being scored. The remaining questions serve the purpose of testing new material for future exams. It's designed to evaluate your knowledge across various facets of art therapy, with questions structured to elicit the "best choice" answer.

For a comprehensive breakdown of all testing content areas, refer to information provided by the ATCB click here. You're allowed up to three attempts within a calendar year, with each re-test requiring a fresh application. An unofficial score report is available immediately after the exam, while the official report takes approximately 12 days.

Test Study Guides:

As I mentally prepared myself to embark on the studying journey, I scoured the internet in search of the ultimate study guide, only to come up empty-handed. There wasn't an official guide available; the one I stumbled upon on Amazon was disappointingly general and unhelpful.

It's worth noting that the board doesn't endorse any specific study guides, although they offer a modest preparation guide outlining test areas and a few practice questions.

After some diligent searching and reaching out to fellow art therapy friends on social media, I stumbled upon an unofficial guide that proved to be an absolute gem for exam prep. Created by Barbara Cooper, this study guide is available for purchase through her Facebook page. Click here to order your study guide. It's incredibly comprehensive and well-organized, perfectly aligning with exam content areas and even featuring practice questions to gauge your knowledge.

Study Tips

My top study tip? Invest in Barbara's study guide—it's a game-changer. Not only does it keep you organized, but it also hones in on exactly what you need to know. Juggling multiple textbooks can quickly lead to overwhelm, so having a centralized resource is invaluable.

Don't forget to thoroughly study the code of ethics; it's a crucial component of the exam. Additionally, while the ATCB prep guide may be concise, it provides invaluable insight into how exam questions are written—a resource that undoubtedly helped alleviate some of my exam jitters.

Give yourself ample time to prepare! Whether you're a seasoned test-taker or someone prone to testing anxiety (like myself), avoid rushing into the exam immediately after approval.

You have a 6-month window—make the most of it. I personally utilized the entire duration, breaking down my study guide into manageable sections and setting time limits for each.

As my study period drew to a close, I allocated about a month to revisit content areas where I felt less confident, ensuring a thorough understanding before the big day.

Lastly, inject some fun and interactivity into your study routine by creating flashcards. I utilized a nifty website called, which allowed me to transform my study material into engaging flashcards and various games. Not only did this make studying more enjoyable, but it also provided a convenient way to test myself during downtime, as the flashcards were accessible via my phone. Trust me, it's worth it!

While preparing for the art therapy board exam may seem like a daunting task, armed with the right resources, strategies, and ample determination, you're more than capable of acing it. Remember, it's not just about passing a test; it's about honing your skills and knowledge to become a proficient art therapist. Stay focused, stay resilient, and don't hesitate to lean on the support of fellow professionals and the valuable resources provided by the ATCB. Best of luck on your journey towards becoming a certified art therapist!

With Love,



Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be utilized as a form of self-help, personal clinical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content on this blog is meant for educational purposes and to provide clinical art therapy directives/resources for trained mental health professionals. This information is by no means a substitute for therapy.

Affiliate/Earning Disclaimer: Lauren Graham is an affiliate of the As an affiliate/associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases that are made by clicking on the affiliate links provided in this post. I only recommend products that I believe to be valuable and purchasing through my links is the same as shopping through each site. The only difference is you will be supporting my future work and allowing me to continue creating free quality content for you. Thank you!


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