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A therapist is the keeper of secrets. Neither therapist nor client is likely to advertise what is going on during sessions. You might have pinned down therapists as doctors of psychology who try to help the weak and crazy among us.

Well, the truth is contrary: it is a humble and courageous gesture to seek the help of a professional, not only in moments of crisis, trying to deal with harmful mental patterns or toxic core beliefs, which cause suffering to the patient and his/her or her environment alike, but also on a preventive basis.

So, just as much as it is the job of therapists to diagnose mental health problems and propose and conduct treatments, it is also their responsibility to make sure a diagnosis will never be necessary.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a therapist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $25.47 an hour? That's $52,984 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 22% and produce 54,200 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Therapist Do

There are certain skills that many therapists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed detail oriented, dexterity and physical stamina.

Learn more about what a Therapist does

How To Become a Therapist

If you're interested in becoming a therapist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 46.8% of therapists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 42.0% of therapists have master's degrees. Even though most therapists have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a therapist. When we researched the most common majors for a therapist, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on therapist resumes include associate degree degrees or doctoral degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a therapist. In fact, many therapist jobs require experience in a role such as internship. Meanwhile, many therapists also have previous career experience in roles such as case manager or counselor.

Therapist Career Paths

Average Salary for a Therapist

Therapists in America make an average salary of $52,984 per year or $25 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $70,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $40,000 per year.
Average Therapist Salary
$52,984 Yearly
$25.47 hourly
$40,000
10 %
$52,000
Median
$70,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Therapist Education

Therapist Majors

Therapist Degrees

Bachelors

46.8 %

Masters

42.0 %

Associate

6.2 %

Top Colleges for 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 North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

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

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. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

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

7. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

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

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. Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, MO • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,399
Enrollment
7,356

Top Skills For a 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, 17.7% of therapists listed group therapy on their resume, but soft skills such as detail oriented and dexterity are important as well.

  • Group Therapy, 17.7%
  • Crisis Intervention, 16.1%
  • Treatment Plans, 11.0%
  • Mental Health, 8.9%
  • Psychosocial Assessments, 4.3%
  • Other Skills, 42.0%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Therapist Resume templates

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

Therapist Resume
Therapist Resume
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Therapist Demographics

Therapist Gender Distribution

Female
Female
76%
Male
Male
24%

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

  • Among therapists, 75.6% of them are women, while 24.4% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among therapists is White, which makes up 76.4% of all therapists.

  • The most common foreign language among therapists is Spanish at 66.4%.

Online Courses For Therapist That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): Mindfulness
udemy
4.8
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Learn Skills to Live One Mindfully and Begin your DBT Journey...

Advanced Training for Trauma Treatment of Complex PTSD
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Complex PTSD...

DBT Emotion Regulation
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4.2
(307)

Get a Better Handle of Your Emotional State...

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Best States For a Therapist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a therapist. The best states for people in this position are New Jersey, New Hampshire, Alaska, and North Dakota. Therapists make the most in New Jersey with an average salary of $67,637. Whereas in New Hampshire and Alaska, they would average $62,561 and $62,352, respectively. While therapists would only make an average of $62,253 in North Dakota, 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. New Hampshire

Total Therapist Jobs:
558
Highest 10% Earn:
$84,000
Location Quotient:
1.65 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Maine

Total Therapist Jobs:
327
Highest 10% Earn:
$82,000
Location Quotient:
1.28 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Alaska

Total Therapist Jobs:
231
Highest 10% Earn:
$74,000
Location Quotient:
1.43 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Therapists

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Top Therapist Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ therapists and discovered their number of therapist opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Thriveworks was the best, especially with an average salary of $52,984. Catholic Charities follows up with an average salary of $48,007, and then comes Centerstone with an average of $47,301. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a therapist. The employers include Novant Health, The Monument Group, and Advanced Recovery Systems

Most Common Employers For Therapist

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Anthem$55,791$26.8239
2Prince William County$54,328$26.1228
3Thriveworks$52,984$25.47106
4Family & Children's Services$52,984$25.4738
5Health Connect America$52,984$25.4738
6Great Circle$52,984$25.4726
7Center for Autism and Related Disorders$50,915$24.4829
8Chrysalis$49,698$23.8930
9Trumpet Behavioral Health$49,683$23.8930
10Universal Health Services$49,614$23.8532

Becoming a Therapist FAQs

How long does it take to become a Therapist?

It takes 6 years of professional experience to become a therapist. That is the time it takes to learn specific therapist skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a college degree, then it takes 9 to 11 years years to become a therapist.

Do therapists get paid well?

Yes, therapists get paid well. As most jobs go, location, company, and experience can determine your salary, but you typically earn more with some of the top-paying states like New Jersey, Alaska, and New Hampshire, offering average salaries above $61,000.

How many years does it take to become a therapist?

To become a therapist, it takes about six to ten years due to the required college education. Most employers ask for a master's degree, experience, and license.

Commonly, therapists have a bachelor's and master's degree in psychology or related fields like social work, school counseling, and counseling psychology, which can take around six years. Some employers may also prefer a doctoral degree, which can take three to four years.

How much do therapists make starting out?

Therapists make around $52,000 yearly starting out. As most jobs go, location and company can determine your salary.

On the lower end of the salary range, you can make about $39,000, such as working in the state of South Carolina. On the higher end, you can earn around $67,000.

Is it hard to become a therapist?

Yes, it is hard to become a therapist due to the required postsecondary education and license, taking time and money. It can take about six to ten years as most employers ask for a master's degree, several years of experience, and a license.

What are the three types of therapy?

The three types of therapy typically refer to common psychotherapy types such as psychodynamic therapy, behavioral therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. In general, there are many specialized therapies used to help patients.

What does it take to become a therapist?

It takes postsecondary education and licensure to become a therapist. Most employers ask for a master's degree, and some may even ask for a doctoral degree, especially if it's in the research area.

What is the difference between a therapist and a psychologist?

The difference between a therapist and a psychologist is generally what they focus on when dealing with patients. Overall, they are sometimes used interchangeably and have similar credentials, usually a master's degree or even a doctoral degree.

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