For art therapy credential holders, there are many milestones to be reached: from applying for the Provisional Registered Art Therapist Credential (ATR-Provisional) at the beginning of one’s art therapy career, to achieving ATR status, passing the Art Therapy Board Certification Exam, obtaining the ATR-BC, and then, one day, after a long and vibrant career, considering a date for retirement from professional art therapy work. If you are considering winding down your art therapy career in the next five years, it is not too early to begin planning how to approach your credential status during retirement.
Retirement-minded credential holders need to be aware of ATCB policy and procedures that will help credential holders retain their credentials should that be desired. For this purpose, the ATCB provides credential holders with a Retired Status Application Handbook. This handbook, which was recently updated in 2019, is available at www.atcb.org. Look for the Retired Status link under the Credential Holders drop-down menu, click on the Retired Status link which will open the page of information. Once you are there, locate the Retired Status Application Handbook link highlighted in blue, and click to open the comprehensive document.
To apply for Retired Status with the ATCB, your credentials (ATR, ATR-BC, ATCS) need to be in good standing. You must attest that you have retired from paid art therapy service, education, and supervision provision and that you seek retired status credentials such as ATR-Retired, ATR-BC Retired, and/or ATCS Retired, depending on your credential status prior to retirement. While retired, you may not be employed as an art therapist, but may participate in unpaid, volunteer art therapy work. Adherence to the ATCB Code of Ethics, Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures remains a requirment for Retired Status credential holders. The annual maintenance fee for retaining Retired Status of your art therapy credential is $25.
What about continuing education? Prior to retirement it is important for board certified art therapists (ATR-BCs) to assess where they stand regarding continuing education credits and the recertification date. If you apply for Retired Status within the 12-month period immediately preceding your recertification, you will need to have completed the required CECs for the 5-year period, and recertify your current credential (ATR-BC, and or ATCS) before applying for retirement status (ATR-BC Retired and/or ATCS Retired). After you achieve retirement status, you no longer need to accumulate CECs.
Is retirement forever? Well, we all know many athletes who have returned to professional sports after a period of retirement. Art therapy Retired Status credential holders have the same option. The Retired Status Application Handbook provides directions and necessary procedures for applying for a return to Active Status. For example, a Retired Status credential holder is required to take 6 credits of continuing education credits in Ethics within the 6 months prior to reactivating credentials with the ATCB.
I strongly encourage those considering retirement in the next few years to explore ATCB options. For those of you considering retirement in the next few years, I strongly encourage you to explore your ATCB options. Start perusing the handbook and proactively contact the ATCB National Office should you have any questions about preparation for your art therapy retirement years. The ATCB staff will be happy to help!
Barbara-Parker Bell ATR-BC is currently the president of the ATCB and an Associate Professor and the Director of the Art Therapy Program at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida