There are many factors to consider when viewing a potential career. On top of the amount of schooling and how long it takes to enter that field, you’ll want to think about the salary levels, job outlook, and workplace environment in that area.
We’ll go over all these questions below but before we do so you might be curious what therapists actually do, what their job is like, or what is required for them achieve this position.
What Do Therapists Do?
Psychologists who want to work as therapists usually studied psychology. Other specialists may go into research or other related fields in order to expand the field of psychology rather than working with patients themselves. Therapists can be doctors, psychologists, counselors without being those things but it will limit their earning potential owing to lack of specialized education and clinical experience.
Therapists are licensed mental health professionals who address a wide variety of conditions.
Therapists can help their clients lead better lives by improving mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. A therapist might teach a client new skills so they can manage themselves better; for example, behavioral skills to react correctly in a difficult situation or learning social/emotional skills like understanding one’s feelings and how to process them.
Therapists generally have a one-hour client session, but they might see their clients weekly or twice monthly. Therapists will be evaluating the needs and treatments of their patients and staying up to date on current practices and information in order for them to provide the best therapy possible.
Psychologist vs. Therapist vs. Counselor
The work of a therapist is highly complex. There are potential types of therapists and there are many different fields and specializations. Unsurprisingly, there are psychologists, counselors, and psychotherapists. The main difference between these 3 categories is in education and credentials.
Psychologists are the highest-paid specialists in psychology. They have the most education and training requirements, including earning a Ph.D. such as a Doctorate of Psychology or Psy.D, and being licensed by their state board of psychology.
Therapists without a doctorate in psychology are less educated and offer fewer treatments than licensed practitioners, but they don’t require as much schooling.
Similarly, counselors have the least amount of formal education and expertise compared to other therapists except psychiatrists, but can still become great assets in their fields with much experience.
What Skills Do Therapists Need?
A psychologist is someone who has the necessary skills to be a therapist. The field of psychology comes with certain requirements and they need to have a special set of abilities, too.
A therapist’s job is to analyze and reason with data in order to best treat their patients. The success of a therapy session relies on the ability to listen for special details, or even observe small things that might otherwise be overlooked. Therapists use this information, combined with knowledge of their patient’s emotional needs and available treatment options, to create an
Therapists must learn to read a number of nonverbal cues- it’s important for your sessions with clients if you want to be successful.
Superior Communication and Listening Skills
Therapists also often need to speak with their clients, so communication skills are essential. One of the primary aspects of therapy and counseling work is talking tactfully yet sensitively about less than pleasant subjects.
Ethics and Integrity
Therapists deal with all sorts of personal matters. Therapists need to keep secrets and be discreet, or else their patients will not trust them. It’s also important for a therapist to understand ethics in order to know how to act in new, surprising situations. To do this, they should have a strong understanding of ethics.
The time it can take for you to see improvements in your clients’ mental health is a challenging aspect of being a therapist.
However, with the patience and optimism that make you such a valuable asset to them, your patience will be rewarded one day when they come into their own.
You’ll probably need to take a lot of patience if you want to be a therapist. Therapy is never really done, especially with clients who have been coming for treatments their entire lives.
How to Become a Therapist
It is not easy to become a therapist. It takes years of hard work and dedication, but if you are determined and know what you want from life then it can be done.
The steps below will help guide you on your way to becoming a successful therapist.
Get an education in psychology or counseling
This is the most important step because without it, there’s no way that you’ll be qualified for the other steps in this list.
After all, how do people expect to teach others about therapy when they don’t even have any idea how therapy works?
A degree from an accredited university is required for this step as well as completing an internship with supervision before graduating.
The first step in becoming a therapist is to get a bachelor’s degree. Ideally you’ll want to major and minor in psychology or fields related to psychology such as social work, human services, counseling or the like.
Obtain Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
Bachelor’s degrees usually include the study of behavioral and social sciences along with general education courses.
While a bachelor’s degree is not required for licensure, it provides a foundation that will help you finish your graduate work in psychology or counseling if desired. Consider obtaining a BS or BA in Psychology before continuing on to your MS/MA in Counseling or other related field.
Take Specific Courses Related to Therapy (Therapist Training)
In most cases, master’s degrees are needed be certified as therapists; however, some states accept three-year undergraduate programs for graduates who have had supervised clinical experience.
• A coursework plan might include: Social sciences • Human development • Abnormal psychology • Developmental psychology • Child development
• Take your required classes in your major to get your bachelor’s degree.
• If you’re interested in becoming a social worker, take those courses. Likewise for psychologists and counselors, though you will need to add to this list of general education classes with the specific ones that are required by your state or licensing board.
• When you’ve obtained an undergraduate degree (BS, BA), continue on to earn a master’s degree at a university that provides its students the opportunity to work as interns while earning their degrees .
Get a Master’s Degree
Those considering a career in psychology often wonder if they should pursue a doctorate degree or opt for a master’s degree instead. A master’s program is more manageable and doesn’t take as long to complete, but it does require various clinical hours. US law states that students need 1,000-1,500 hours of observation time during the 4-year period.
Students will need field hours to complete their degree, and oftentimes these are done in conjunction with an internship where the student is able to put his or her knowledge into action by working directly with clients. This type of experience provides students with valuable insight into the world of therapy as well as firsthand experiences that will aid them in working with patients in the future.
Go through Internships
Your internship is where you’ll put what you’ve learned into practice. You will make mistakes and hopefully learn important lessons from them as well.
You’ll learn skills that will make you a valuable therapist, such as how to communicate in different ways and with different kinds of people.
The best internships are the ones have been approved by your state or licensing board to work under an experienced professional. If you’re lucky enough to receive one of these special placements, do everything you can to ensure that you do well.
An internship will help you gain confidence in your ability to work with clients and make you feel prepared for the state licensing exam (for example, the Independent Examination or Praxis Exam).
Contact your state board of licensure or certification offices and request information on certification requirements. Find out what type of experience and education will be required in order to sit for the exam, and begin working on obtaining that experience.
Find a job
This is kind of obvious but it’s important nonetheless. The more experience that you have as a therapist the better off you are because then clients will want to see you instead of someone else because then they know that they will help them with their problems. The best way to get a job is through networking and asking around.
Maintain your roles as a therapist
This means that you have to perform the duties of a therapist, just like any other role in life.
You need to listen to what your clients are saying with empathy, be compassionate within reason, not take things personally, etc…
If you are doing everything correctly then congratulations! The client should notice positive changes within themselves after every session.
Continue your education
Just because you got your license doesn’t mean that it’s all over for you now. As mentioned before, stay up on new methods and advancements pertaining to psychology and therapy so that you can help out your clients more effectively.
If you want to earn a living and help people, it could be worth getting specialized. With the American Board of Professional Psychology, you can certify yourself in 15 different branches of therapy:
-psychologists for adolescents
-cognitive behavior therapists
-sexual addiction treatment specialists
Continuing your education in specific areas of therapy will allow you to help more people, and specialize.
If you were a generalized therapist, then your practice would be much smaller than those who had specializations.
The best therapists are the ones that have a niche market. So try to earn yourself a certification by taking extra courses in these fields and then specializing in one of them.
That way you could also become an expert within that field and really aid the growth of it! There are plenty of certifications out there too if you wanted to get specialized as well outside this board as well such as different branches in psychology.
How long does it take to become a therapist?
It takes most people about 8 to 13 years to complete their education and internships required in order to become a therapist. The difference largely depends on how high they want to go with their education.
For the average person, a bachelors and doctorate degree will take about 8-13 years–somewhat longer or shorter depending on what educational discipline is pursued. Prioritizing higher degrees will shave off time spent earning the graduate level qualifications that are necessary for professional certification as an MFT, PhD psychologist, or similar professional classification.
But if you go to school for a long time and specialize in one type of counseling, you can learn more and make more money.
How Much Do Therapists Make?
Before you decide to study psychology, analyze the expected salary that can be earned with this degree. The more income an individual expects from his or her education, the less time it will take for student loans to be recouped.
How Much Do Therapists Make A Year?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the lowest 10% of psychologists can make a median annual salary of $43,800 per year and the highest 10% as much as $129,250 per year.
The field of psychology offers its own set of benefits and challenges. In general, though, a psychologist makes around $100,770 a year.
For comparison, PayScale has data on the average annual earnings of psychologists. Using surveys they found that the lowest 10% make about $49,000 per year and those in the higher 10% might earn $113,000 annually.
How Much Do Therapist Make in A Month?
According to the most recent Census survey, therapists can make an average of $6,584 a month. At most they might make $10,770 a month and at least they will make 3,650 if starting out or don’t pursue doctoral degree.
How Much Do Therapists Make in A Week?
The survey of actual psychologists collected by PayScale found that the average rate per hour for this profession is about $48.85 which is just under $50 per hour on average. Just over 10% of these professionals charge less, while almost 10% demand more than two times that hourly wage.
The median salary for a psychologist is $1,954 a week if they work 40 hours at an average hourly rate of pay. The maximum wage the worker can earn is about $5,896 by working overtime on their regular 40 hours. The minimum wage earned would be about $617 weekly for the same pattern.
Therapist Pay by Location
A therapist’s pay can be determined by the type of facility that they work at. For example, therapists working with government-owned facilities make around $96,410 per year. Therapists in healthcare agencies made an average of $86,530 annually. Therapists who work with ambulatory healthcare services make around $79,180
Locating where you live and work can have a significant impact on your earnings potential. For that reason, it’s helpful to take a look at the best paying states in America—where therapists tend to make the most money: California ($114,860), Maryland ($112,330), Kansas ($102,910), Washington (103,760) and
Therapist Pay by Experience
The longer you work as a therapist, the more you will be paid. This is advantageous in that it means your level of experience matters and is rewarded as you remain in this line of work for longer periods of time.
A psychologist, without any experience, will make an average of $62,032 a year. A psychologist with 1 to 4 years’ worth of experience can expect to make up to 70,110 per year. Someone with 5-9 years of experience could be looking at 80,707 in earnings each year while someone with 10-19 years or more.