Edinboro’s Art Therapy program receives nation’s first accreditation


Edinboro’s Art Therapy program accreditation

EDINBORO, Pa. – Edinboro University’s graduate-level Art Therapy program earned the first accreditation of its kind in the U.S. by a national governing body. 

This month, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, the largest programmatic accreditor of health science professions in the U.S., granted Edinboro’s Master of Arts in Counseling – Art Therapy the nation’s first standard-compliant accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education.

The 5-year initial accreditation validates Edinboro’s quality in both programming and services, and officially certifies that the Art Therapy program meets professional industry standards. 

“Being an accredited program ensures that our students are receiving the highest standard in their masters-level education and enables them to pursue licensure and professional positions,” said Dr. Penelope Orr, head of the Art Therapy program at Edinboro.  “It is a great honor to have successfully received accreditation as the first art therapy program in the country to receive it. I am very excited for what this means for our students and for the profession.”

Edinboro’s graduate-level Art Therapy program integrates both counseling and visual arts practice while engaging creative power for clinical assessment and treatment.

The 60-credit program, designed using the American Art Therapy Association educational guidelines, can be completed entirely online or with a hybrid of online and on-campus courses. The program outline includes art therapy education, research and clinical and community service.

Additionally, Edinboro offers a post-master’s certificate in Art Therapy that trains current mental-health professionals in art therapy approaches and techniques to qualify students to apply for national art therapist credentials.

Dr. Erinn Lake, interim dean of Edinboro’s School of Education, credits Orr with contributing to the success of the Art Therapy program – leading the vision and implementation of the master’s degree concentration.

“Dr. Orr is a highly-respected, responsive and caring faculty member who has contributed greatly to the success of Edinboro University,” said Lake, who noted Orr’s collaboration with faculty and administration throughout the process. “She is truly a remarkable practitioner in this field. Edinboro students have benefited greatly from her expertise.”

Incorporated in 1994, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs is officially sponsored by the American Medical Association and nearly 70 other organizations. The commission accredits educational programs that prepare health professionals in a variety of disciplinary areas in a process to protect the public and ensure a supply of quality health care professionals.

Composed of professionals from the Art Therapy discipline, the commission’s accreditation committee reviews self-studies, performs on-site reviews and makes a final recommendation to the main governing body.

Following initial accreditation, the commission will continually review Edinboro’s Art Therapy program to ensure compliance with published criteria through progress reports, annual reports and focused on-site visits.

In 2017, Edinboro received the No. 8 national ranking in the “Students Before Profits” award from Nonprofit Colleges Online, related to the Art Therapy concentration.

For more information about Edinboro’s award-winning Art Therapy program, click here.