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Studio Arts

Specialization in Pre-Art Therapy

Associate of Applied Arts

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Learn to heal with art

TCC was the first community college in Virginia to offer an Associate of Applied Arts with a Specialization Pre-Art Therapy

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Art therapists combine psychotherapy with the creative process to improve mental health and wellbeing. Tidewater Community College’s Associate of Applied Arts in Studio Arts with a Specialization in Pre-Art Therapy uses art as a medium to help others. While the curriculum is rooted in studio art courses, you will also receive focused classroom instruction in art therapy, psychology and basic counseling.

Taught by a board-certified art therapist at TCC's Visual Arts Center, the art therapy course work provides instruction in the use of art materials in therapy, the dynamics of the creative process, contemporary approaches in various art therapy settings and psychological therapy. Real-world experience is a cornerstone of the program and students are challenged in the classroom to perform the type of art they would facilitate with a client. Students also benefit from a variety of enrichment activities, including field trips where they gain real experience working with organizations in the community.

After you complete the pre-art therapy specialization, you will be prepared to work in art galleries, museums, and social and human services. You can also assist as recreation aides in cultural art centers and recreation centers.

You will also be prepared to pursue a bachelor’s degrees in studio art or psychology before entering a graduate program in counseling or art therapy.

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What does this program cost?

You can complete a 2-year associate degree for less than the cost of 1 year at a 4-year college or university.

TCC’s studio arts degree with pre-art therapy specialization consists of 4 semesters of full-time study, with most classes held at the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth.

If your schedule doesn't permit full-time attendance, you may also take classes part time.

Estimated Program Cost*:
64 credits x $185.35 per credit = $11,862.40 (not including textbooks and supplies)
*Based on Fall 2018 in-state tuition. Your actual cost may differ.

Where can you go?

Students can transfer to complete their bachelor’s in studio arts or psychology. Virginia Wesleyan College’s art program facilitates students in entering graduate programs, such as the Eastern Virginia Medical School master’s program in art therapy and counseling. Students can also apply credits at Chowan University, which offers a concentration in art therapy under the bachelor’s of science in studio arts, also transferrable to EVMS.

Is this program for you?

Yes, if you:

  • are creative
  • enjoy teaching
  • like working with people
  • demonstrate patience
  • are interested in helping others
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Veterans, transitioning military, spouses and dependents: TCC’s Center for Military and Veterans Education provides academic guidance and help in maximizing your GI Bill® and other educational benefits.

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Tuition assistance such as financial aid, scholarships, work-study, grants and loans can help you save money and reduce college debt.

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TCC’s 33,330 square-foot Visual Arts Center houses 15 studios, a rooftop glassblowing lab and 2,000 square feet of exhibition space

Faculty members include Dorolyn Alper, a registered nurse and board-certified art therapist

State-of-the-art facilities include studios for visual arts foundations, pre-art therapy, 3-D design, drawing, painting and ceramics

Program spotlight

"Art is about the process of self-discovery," says faculty member Dorolyn Alper


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