A chapter of the American Art THerapy Association

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has released a preliminary listing of Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes to take effect on January 1, 2018. This will re-classify art therapist from the code for recreational therapist to a group of Healthcare Practitioners under 29-1129 sub-code for "Therapists: All Other".

This change is to more accurately reflect the art therapy profession as a distinct mental health discipline.

SOC classifications form the basis for job descriptions and hiring of both government and private employers and defining categories of services for government and private insurance reimbursement. As a result of our current classification under recreational therapists insurance companies have refused to recognize and reimburse art therapist as providing mental health services. States also did not include or later dropped art therapy as a related service for schools.

 The reclassifying of art therapist under "Therapists: All Other" will require government and private employers to redefine job descriptions, pay levels and hiring guidelines. It will require insurers to reevaluate how art therapy services are covered in individual and group insurance plans.

The proposed change in the 2018 SOC classifications represents a significant win for art therapists and an important step forward in defining art therapy as a distinct profession.

What you can do: 

A third notice announcing the final 2018 SOC structure and occupation codes and titles is expected by Spring 2017, then publication of the final 2018 SOC codes, titles, and definitions for implementation in reference year 2018.

Comments can be submitted by email at soc@bls.gov with the subject line "2018 SOC".

Submit the following comment:

    " I support the change in classification of art therapists as an important step forward in protecting the public through defining art therapy as a separate therapeutic occupation under the 29-1129 sub-code for "Therapist: All Other," and request that it be included in the final 2018 SOC classification.


Submission of such comment will help ensure that this change will be implemented in the final SOC. 

CALL TO ACTION: Labor law Code

US Labor Law