Mental health therapists support people with mental health issues. The clientele is as diverse as can be, from troubled teens to dysfunctional families and adults. Mental health therapists assess cases and provide counseling and therapy to resolve communication problems or internal conflicts.

Mental health therapists might work in schools, hospitals, or human service agencies. Sometimes they operate a private practice, but whatever the case, their work is rooted in the community, being aware of every available resource and support service.

If you are considering a job as a mental health therapist, being compassionate has to be your priority. You have to know how to communicate and, perhaps more importantly, how to listen. If you are able to handle the emotional weight of this position, you are in for a highly rewarding profession.

What Does a Mental Health Therapist Do

Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. One group of social workers—clinical social workers—also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.   

Learn more about what a Mental Health Therapist does

How To Become a Mental Health Therapist

Although most social workers need a bachelor’s degree in social work, clinical social workers must have a master’s degree and 2 years of post-master’s experience in a supervised clinical setting. Clinical social workers must also be licensed in the state in which they practice.

Learn More About How To Become a Mental Health Therapist

Mental Health Therapist Career Paths

Average Salary for a Mental Health Therapist

Mental Health Therapists in America make an average salary of $50,259 per year or $24 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $70,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $35,000 per year.
Average Mental Health Therapist Salary
$50,259 Yearly
$24.16 hourly
$35,000
10 %
$50,000
Median
$70,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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How To Become a Mental Health Therapist
How To Become a Mental Health Therapist Career Overview

States With The Most Mental Health Therapist Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active mental health therapist jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where mental health therapists earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Mental Health Therapist Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
1California8,932$69,994
2Texas4,970$46,135
3Illinois2,571$54,081
4Ohio2,534$46,878
5Pennsylvania2,439$38,768
6Washington2,376$63,894
7New York2,360$62,399
8Indiana2,345$44,586
9Georgia2,300$36,526
10Michigan2,291$49,395
11North Carolina2,281$55,482
12Virginia2,190$55,919
13Massachusetts2,122$52,414
14Florida1,862$39,907
15Maryland1,693$47,885
16Colorado1,687$50,482
17New Jersey1,632$62,417
18Missouri1,584$43,870
19Minnesota1,544$60,566
20Wisconsin1,453$48,622
21South Carolina1,372$37,806
22Arizona1,244$48,412
23Alabama1,111$41,202
24Iowa1,075$47,514
25Kentucky999$40,099
26Tennessee991$38,893
27Oklahoma838$38,649
28Kansas795$44,012
29Oregon781$51,742
30Arkansas781$30,834
31Louisiana630$37,719
32Utah604$51,382
33Nebraska585$36,505
34Idaho491$52,455
35Maine470$52,592
36Nevada437$62,739
37Connecticut404$70,469
38Mississippi318$37,360
39Delaware314$58,121
40Hawaii286$51,051
41North Dakota266$60,195
42Montana249$49,559
43New Hampshire232$61,674
44New Mexico222$50,222
45Rhode Island207$50,819
46Alaska168$62,862
47South Dakota161$53,456
48West Virginia127$40,169
49Wyoming108$47,562
50Vermont100$54,304

Mental Health Therapist Education

Mental Health Therapist Majors

Mental Health Therapist Degrees

Masters

48.9 %

Bachelors

43.9 %

Associate

4.0 %

Top Colleges for Mental Health Therapists

1. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

2. Hunter College of the City University of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,182
Enrollment
16,205

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

4. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

5. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

7. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

8. SUNY at Albany

Albany, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,011
Enrollment
13,434

9. San Jose State University

San Jose, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,796
Enrollment
27,125

10. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

Top Skills For a Mental Health Therapist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 34.7% of mental health therapists listed social work on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and emotional skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Mental Health Therapist Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Mental Health Therapist templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Mental Health Therapist resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

Mental Health Therapist Resume
Mental Health Therapist Resume
Mental Health Therapist Resume
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Mental Health Therapist Resume
Mental Health Therapist Resume
Mental Health Therapist Resume
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Mental Health Therapist Resume
Mental Health Therapist Resume
Mental Health Therapist Resume
Mental Health Therapist Resume
Mental Health Therapist Resume
Mental Health Therapist Resume
Mental Health Therapist Resume

Mental Health Therapist Demographics

Mental Health Therapist Gender Distribution

Female
Female
77%
Male
Male
23%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among mental health therapists, 76.7% of them are women, while 23.3% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among mental health therapists is White, which makes up 80.9% of all mental health therapists.

  • The most common foreign language among mental health therapists is Spanish at 74.2%.

Work Experience Programs For Mental Health Therapists

Virtual work experience programs replicate work at top companies and help you gain the skills to be successful when applying and working there. In only a few hours, learn the relevant tools necessary to complete a typical work day at that company. Virtual work experience programs are 100% free, open-access, and self-paced. No experience or application is required!

Wealth Management Program

Company: Goodbody

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Strategy Consulting Program

Company: Accenture Australia

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Engaging the community Program

Company: Teach for Australia

Cost: Free

Duration: 2 hours

Public Health Policy & Management Program

Company: Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Human Resources Program

Company: General Electric

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Project Management Program

Company: Accenture North America

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

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Best States For a Mental Health Therapist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a mental health therapist. The best states for people in this position are Connecticut, California, Washington, and Alaska. Mental health therapists make the most in Connecticut with an average salary of $70,469. Whereas in California and Washington, they would average $69,994 and $63,894, respectively. While mental health therapists would only make an average of $62,862 in Alaska, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Mental Health Therapist Jobs:
8,932
Highest 10% Earn:
$102,000
Location Quotient:
1.29

2. Washington

Total Mental Health Therapist Jobs:
2,376
Highest 10% Earn:
$87,000
Location Quotient:
1.37

3. North Dakota

Total Mental Health Therapist Jobs:
266
Highest 10% Earn:
$83,000
Location Quotient:
1.2
Full List Of Best States For Mental Health Therapists

How Do Mental Health Therapist Rate Their Jobs?

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Top Mental Health Therapist Employers

Most Common Employers For Mental Health Therapist

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Corizon Health$61,566$29.6018
2Thriveworks$59,496$28.6030
3Catholic Community Services of Utah$58,581$28.1615
4Mental Health Center$58,439$28.1019
5Arlington County, VA$57,943$27.8621
6Pathways$56,130$26.9917
7Seneca Companies$55,124$26.5021
8Prince William County$54,560$26.2329
9Johns Hopkins Medicine$51,783$24.9025
10Shields$51,739$24.8719

Mental Health Therapist Videos