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Become A Therapist

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Working As A Therapist

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $42,170

    Average Salary

What Does A Therapist Do

A Therapist is responsible for providing mental health help and support for those that need it. They interview patients to obtain the information needed for planning and administering therapeutic treatments.

How To Become A 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.


A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) is the most common requirement for entry-level positions. However, some employers may hire workers who have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as psychology or sociology.

A BSW prepares students for direct-service positions such as caseworker or mental health assistant. These programs teach students about diverse populations, human behavior, social welfare policy, and ethics in social work. All programs require students to complete supervised fieldwork or an internship.

Some positions require a master’s degree in social work (MSW), which generally takes 2 years to complete. Master’s degree programs in social work prepare students for work in their chosen specialty by developing clinical assessment and management skills. All programs require students to complete a supervised practicum or an internship.

A bachelor’s degree in social work is not required in order to enter a master’s degree program in social work. Although a degree in almost any major is acceptable, courses in psychology, sociology, economics, and political science are recommended. Some programs allow graduates with a bachelor’s degree in social work to earn their master’s degree in 1 year.

In 2015, there were more than 500 bachelor’s degree programs and more than 200 master’s degree programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Some universities offer doctoral programs in social work, where students can earn a Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) or a Ph.D. Most doctoral programs in social work require students to have a master’s in social work and experience in the field. Many doctor’s students go on to work as postsecondary teachers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states have licensure or certification requirements for nonclinical social workers. Requirements vary by state.

All states require clinical social workers to be licensed. However, some states provide exemptions for clinical social workers who work in government agencies. Becoming a licensed clinical social worker requires a master’s degree in social work and a minimum of 2 years of supervised clinical experience after graduation. After completing their supervised experience, clinical social workers must pass a clinical exam to be licensed.

Because licensing requirements vary by state, those interested should contact their state board. For more information about regulatory licensure boards by state, contact the Association of Social Work Boards.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Clients talk to social workers about challenges in their lives. To effectively help, social workers must be able to listen to and understand their clients’ needs.

Empathy. Social workers often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations. To develop strong relationships, they must have compassion and empathy for their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Being able to work with different groups of people is essential for social workers. They need strong people skills to foster healthy and productive relationships with their clients and colleagues.

Organizational skills. Social workers must help and manage multiple clients, often assisting with their paperwork or documenting their treatment.

Problem-solving skills. Social workers need to develop practical and innovative solutions to their clients’ problems.

Time-management skills. Social workers often have many clients and administrative responsibilities. They must effectively manage their time to provide adequate service to all of their clients.

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Therapist Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Swedish

  • German

  • Russian

  • Japanese

  • Portuguese

  • Arabic

  • Chinese

  • Thai

  • Hindi

  • Korean

  • Italian

  • Hebrew

  • Mandarin

  • Armenian

  • Polish

  • Cantonese

  • Vietnamese

  • Gujarati

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Therapist Education


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Real Therapist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Head Performance Therapist Golden State Warriors LLC Oakland, CA Sep 03, 2015 $160,000
Therapist Caron Foundation of Florida, Inc. Boca Raton, FL Dec 09, 2016 $132,318
Therapist Caron of Florida Inc. Boca Raton, FL Dec 09, 2016 $123,165
Therapist Caron Foundation of Florida, Inc. Boca Raton, FL Sep 12, 2013 $115,000
Musculoskeletal Therapist Steven D. Bowditch Flower Mound, TX May 01, 2015 $106,000 -
Therapist New York Psychotherapy and Counseling Centers NY Sep 21, 2016 $100,176
Physcial Therapist Restore Professionals, LLC Birmingham, AL Aug 01, 2015 $100,000
Musculoskeletal Therapists Steven Bowditch Flower Mound, TX May 01, 2015 $100,000 -
Occupationl Therapist Interface Rehab Inc. Novato, CA Nov 17, 2014 $93,915
Physicial Therapist St. Vincent Dunn Hospital Bedford, IN Nov 30, 2015 $93,915
Occupationl Therapist Interface Rehab Inc. Los Angeles, CA Nov 17, 2014 $91,828
Therapist Brookhaven Medical Centers, Inc. Snyder, TX Mar 01, 2015 $91,828
Physcial Therapist Orthopaedic & Neurological Rehab., Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 06, 2014 $91,745 -
Physcial Therapist Rancho Physical Therapy Murrieta, CA Jun 09, 2015 $72,002
Physicial Therapist Heritage Care, Inc. Hyattsville, MD Dec 30, 2013 $71,510
Therapist Reed City Hospital Corporation Reed City, MI Sep 23, 2013 $70,720
Therapist Reed City Hospital Corporation Big Rapids, MI Sep 23, 2013 $70,720
Physicao Therapist Active Physical Therapy Services LLC Takoma Park, MD Aug 30, 2015 $70,387 -
Physial Therapist Cora Health Services, Inc. Palm Bay, FL Sep 10, 2014 $70,228
Pysical Therapist Home Health Care Plus Inc. Dallas, TX Oct 01, 2013 $69,000
Physcial Therapist RN Staff, Inc. Danville, IL May 16, 2013 $50,046
Therapist Contemporary Family Services Inc. Germantown, MD Aug 24, 2016 $50,000
Bilingual & Bicultural Therapist Western Psychological and Counseling Services, P.C Portland, OR Jan 01, 2014 $48,606
Therapist II With Multicultural Specialties Frontier Behavioral Health Spokane, WA Sep 14, 2014 $48,006
Therapist Foothill Family Service Pasadena, CA Aug 22, 2016 $48,000
Therapist Foothill Family Service El Monte, CA Apr 09, 2016 $48,000
Therapist Foothill Family Service El Monte, CA Jun 13, 2016 $48,000

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Top Skills for A Therapist


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Top Therapist Skills

  1. Group Therapy Sessions
  2. Individual Treatment Plans
  3. Mental Health Services
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide individual therapy to middle/high school males Conduct group therapy sessions dealing with issues such as domestic violence and aggression
  • Conducted mental health assessments, developed individual treatment plans and developed supervision plans and safety plans.
  • Supported six elementary schools with delivery of mental health services to children and families in a school setting.
  • Provided crisis intervention to individuals and families.
  • Conducted weekly family therapy sessions with all individuals on caseload.

Top Therapist Employers