How to Become a Therapist. 5 Steps to Follow

Therapy is a big commitment, and it’s a good idea to make sure that you want to take this path before you begin your training. While many therapy professionals will tell you that there are no shortcuts to becoming successful in the mental health field, they will also likely agree that having some general guidance along the way can help you get started on (and stay on) the right track. Important considerations when getting started with a career in counseling include:

What do I want out of my career? Do I truly want to be a therapist or counselor? It’s important to think about what really drives your interest in helping others. Some people choose careers based solely upon passion; others deliberate over salary, work environment, or other factors. There are different types of therapy professionals, and it’s important to consider which type of therapist fits your personality best.

What is the training required for my chosen profession? While there are many different career paths in this field, professional licensure or certification is required for most all therapists, counselors and psychologists. You may choose to start out with a master’s degree and move on to further education for credentials like doctorate degrees in psychology, counseling or social work; some people even get advanced training after earning their bachelor’s degree so that they can earn credentials such as Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).

How do I find good schools? Researching good programs is essential when considering your options. You’ll want to consider factors like location, required courses, the school’s reputation and even its cost before you confirm enrollment. In addition to finding an accredited program that suits your learning style, it can be helpful to take some time out of study or work in order to gain experience in the real-world therapy field before entering into a formal education program.

What will my family think? Therapy can certainly seem mysterious at first glance; however, most therapists have similar training characteristics – such as years of schooling and supervised clinical experience – whether they provide counseling services for children or adults with addiction issues. Your family might wonder how you could possibly make enough money on an entry-level salary to keep you afloat, but bear in mind that many therapists – especially clinical social workers and licensed counselors – are able to supplement income with their credentials for private practice.

What Does A Therapist Do?

There are many different types of therapy professionals, and each type performs slightly different duties which can depend on many factors – such as the client’s age or gender, the diagnosis they have been given and even their unique needs. Some therapists may work in an office providing individual psychotherapy to clients who need counseling services; others might travel to schools or other areas where their expertise is needed to provide group therapy sessions on a regular basis. Some people even choose careers as mobile mental health specialists, bringing groups together in multiple locations. Regardless of what you choose for your career path, here are some common themes that all therapists will experience regardless of specialty:

Helping Clients Redefine Their Problems Therapy is about more than just solving deep-seated problems or “curing” people of their emotional distress. When you work as a therapist, it gives clients the opportunity to redefine challenges they may be facing in new and empowering ways.

Eliciting Growth Through Insight Therapy involves helping clients explore their thoughts, feelings and behaviors in order to find more effective ways to grow as individuals. This can be an important process for those coping with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), depression or other mental health conditions that aren’t easily tackled by a quick fix like taking medication, talking about their personal lives or even getting some exercise. As therapists, we help our clients transform themselves into better individuals instead of simply treating symptoms – thus leading to healthy results for ourselves as well.

Boosting Self-Esteem There is a lot of pressure on people in our fast-paced society to achieve perfection, but it’s just not possible. Those who struggle with imposter syndrome might feel like they can never do anything right, that everyone else has the secret to success except for them. In fact, those who suffer from symptoms like these should be among the first clients you focus on helping during your time as an entry-level therapist since this may help them learn to see things differently than before – thus boosting their self-esteem and confidence for future endeavors.

All of us have some degree of potential we haven’t yet tapped into, whether it’s based on what we accomplished last week, last month or even ten years ago. The ability to help clients – and yourself – redefine their own potential can be a truly rewarding experience for everyone involved.

Surveying Options For Career Entry

When you’re feeling ready to take your first steps into the therapy field, there are numerous options available based on your current location as well as what you want to accomplish in terms of specialty. You might choose to stay where you’re most comfortable while also working with people who are close by – like family members or friends that live nearby, or those who fit into categories such as age group (children or teens), gender (male or female) and ethnicity (Hispanic American, Asian American, etc.). On these pages, you’ll find a quick primer on some of the main points that will help guide your initial steps toward career entry.

How Much Does A Therapist Make?

The amount of money you can expect to earn as a therapist will depend largely on your specialties and the type of work you do. By far, private practice makes up the largest share of income over time – ranging from $38,000 to over $76,000 per year for qualified professionals. Those who have achieved advanced degrees such as a Masters or PhD are capable of earning more than those with just an undergraduate degree; as well, therapists working in Western states like Texas, Nevada and California tend to earn higher salaries than their peers in other regions across the country.

Comparing The Possibilities Of Working As A Therapist

In today’s world of technology-driven change, going online has become second nature for many people. As a result, you can perform most of the work involved in being a therapist from home – even if you have to travel out to meet with clients in person every now and then. On these next few pages, we’ve highlighted some of the main differences between working as an online therapist vs. one “in person”:

Working From Home/Office Location Online therapists are able to work anywhere they like so long as they have access to their computer, Internet connection and other necessary accessories for performing therapy sessions without distraction. This could mean setting up shop within your own living room or bedroom; perhaps you’ll even prefer getting out into nature by working from a nearby park during your morning sessions before heading back home to meet with family members during lunch.

Working in-person takes a lot more time and energy – but may be required for certain situations such as group therapy, helping clients who need transportation to get to the office or other similar concerns. In many cases, those who work this way have the advantage of being able to choose their own hours so they can work through lunches or afternoons without having to worry about conflicts with appointments; however, these professionals are also at risk of losing out on business if they don’t make themselves available enough.

Online Therapy Advantages From A Client Perspective

There’s no denying that online therapy sessions can help make things easier for everyone involved ; fortunately, you won’t have to do much in terms of changing up the way you interact with others. On these next few pages, we’ve highlighted some of the main advantages that are here for the taking when working online with a therapist :

The ability to talk openly without having to worry about anything but the task at hand. In-person therapy sessions can be awkward if you don’t know how to relate on an emotional level; in contrast, many people find it easier to open up and discuss anything they like without any stress.

Retaining anonymity and identity protection is another huge boon that comes from this type of work – something clients will love especially if their personal details or circumstances could cause them embarrassment or otherwise lead not only peers, but family members to judge them harshly.

How Can I Earn The Highest Therapist Salary?

When it comes to earning a salary in clinical psychology, many factors can influence the amount you’re able to collect from each client depending on where you work and how much effort is factored into your practice. Here are a few of the primary qualifiers that will affect your income :

The type of therapy practices you choose to focus on. You may want to consider sticking with something more common or widely accepted by other professionals such as family therapy – which helps families solve relationship problems.

Where in the country you choose to treat patients. While there aren’t any guarantees, those who live near coastal areas tend to charge higher fees because they have access not only to clients who need help but also experts who can collaborate.

Additionally, therapists who work in or around the nation’s capitol usually earn more than those located elsewhere. This is especially true for those who practice in urban areas where demand may outpace supply due to the location’s popularity and its tendency to attract people with issues that need help.

While there isn’t a way to guarantee how much you can earn as a therapist, there are ways to help you increase your income over time – such as enrolling in doctoral programs if you haven’t already; also, keeping up-to-date with new technology and trends within clinical psychology will only make you more attractive when it comes time to search for jobs or offer your services online.

Steps To Becoming A Therapist

Of course, it’s important to consider exactly what you need to do to become a therapist – especially since there are a number of different career paths in clinical psychology and many ways that you can practice legally.

Here is an overview of the steps necessary for entering this profession:

1. Earn A Bachelor’s Degree In Psychology

In order to enter graduate school and pursue your Master’s or Ph.D., you must first earn a Bachelors’s degree in psychology. Your undergraduate college should have credentials experts who can help direct you toward the right courses to take while also providing insight into any other requirements that most programs expect applicants to meet before enrolling.

2. Pursue Graduate School

Upon earning a Bachelor’s degree, you will need to apply for admission into one of the clinical psychology graduate programs at universities or colleges in your area. These programs should provide you with all of the applicable information to help guide your decision-making process – such as whether or not they accept more than one type of degree (i.e. Bachelors vs. Masters).

3. Earn A Master’s Degree Or Ph.D

This is where things start to get interesting; after being accepted into an M.A./Ph.D program, you can learn about what types of projects and assignments are necessary to complete your coursework and earn an undergraduate degree in clinical psychology. From there, you would continue to work toward a higher degree and engage in ongoing research projects that will help further your knowledge in the field.

4. Complete Residency Requirements

In order to become licensed and practice legally as a clinical psychologist, you must complete an accredited residency program at one of the approved facilities located throughout your state or region; most therapists who are seeking to enter this career path will need to enroll in at least three years of training – or 1,825 working hours. The key is finding programs that cater to your needs by providing opportunities for hands-on experience, mentorship from expert professionals, and networking opportunities with fellow students who share similar interests.

5. Earn A License In Clinical Psychology

Now you’re almost there ; once you’ve completed your residency requirements and met the licensing standards set forth by your state, you will be qualified to sit for the licensing exam in clinical psychology. To help ensure that both graduates and licensed professionals are meeting the minimum standards for this position, each must complete continuing education courses on an ongoing basis.

6. Practice In The Field

With all of these steps checked off your list, it’s time to put those lessons into action; after spending years learning about this profession from experts – including practicing psychologists within your own community – you will now be ready to apply what you have learned and earn a living as a therapist. As long as you continue pursuing opportunities where you can build upon your degree, learn from experts in this field, gain experience in the field, and share your knowledge with others who may benefit from it, you will be well on your way to becoming a valuable member of the healthcare community.


How hard is it to become a therapist?

This depends in part on the programs you choose to pursue as well as how much time and effort you are willing to invest in your education. If you’re looking for an easy degree that will allow you to study what interests you more than anything else, then clinical psychology may not be the right choice for you; on the other hand, if you want a career where you can make a difference by helping people deal with their psychological issues and improve their quality of life, then look no further. With all of the different ways that clinical psychologists can incorporate themselves into this field – including private practice, academia, government agencies, or nonprofits – there truly is something for everyone.

How much can I make as a therapist?

Furthermore, clinical psychologists are typically paid an hourly wage for their services. Depending on the organization where you choose to work and the duties you hold within that office or facility, your pay scale will vary. For instance, some therapists earn $45,000 per year; others can earn up to six figures. It is not uncommon for those in private practice – who set their own rates based upon what they feel constitutes fair compensation – to command even greater salaries than this. As far as job stability goes, a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that this career path is expected to grow by more than 16 percent during the next decade. This equates to nearly 51,000 more jobs than the projected number of graduates who will be entering this field over that same ten-year period.

Is it difficult to become a therapist?

To become licensed as a clinical psychologist, you must complete an accredited residency program, participate in at least 3 years of supervised training with an expert therapist, and pass the relevant licensing exam for your state. To help ensure compliance with these standards, therapists must also complete continuing education courses on an ongoing basis throughout their careers. As far as what it is like on a day-to-day basis, practicing therapy can take many different forms – including one-on-one sessions for children or adults; group counseling sessions conducted by professionals within local agencies; family intervention techniques that include the participation of multiple family members; and case consultation with other professionals who are dealing with similar issues in their own communities.

How do I choose a program?

There are many different factors to consider when choosing an accredited university or college where you will receive your doctoral degree, including tuition costs, location, faculty credentials, size of the facility, specialties available through that department, graduate school life (i.e., student clubs, organizations within the campus community ), and whether or not the Ph D program is located on-campus. That being said, there are some potential pitfalls of becoming involved in this profession – including heavy workloads for students who are already balancing personal commitments along with their education; small classes that don’t allow for much individualized attention; and instructors who are not as available for consultation outside of class.

What kind of classes will I take?

Like other doctoral programs, you can expect to complete a comprehensive exam at the end of your residency program to demonstrate what you have learned along the way. Students must also enroll in courses on statistics, research methods, neural development, abnormal psychology, personality theory and assessment, clinical issues and diagnosis (including child/adult psychotherapy), interpersonal dynamics, neuropsychology, theories of personality and behavior change (including cognitive and behavioral approaches), psychological testing, quantitative methods in research design, substance abuse disorders (including addictive behaviors ), women’s mental health issues, multicultural issues, group therapy techniques, family therapy techniques, psychotherapy supervision, and research methods. These classes are usually spread across several different terms, with some courses building upon prior lessons and others offering more in-depth information on the current topic being covered.

What kind of salary can I expect to earn?

Therapists who have completed a doctoral program will typically work in private practices or for mental health agencies that specialize in working with children or adults. Hours are flexible depending on your professional obligations (i.e., during tax season when students must complete additional coursework) as well as what is required by the clinical facility where you choose to work. In addition, therapists may conduct group therapy sessions at various schools within the community. Those who hold a “master’s” degree are typically hired on to work with a particular group of students or a specific mental health program (e.g., the school counselor who helps plan extracurricular programs and activities throughout the day). A Ph D-level professional will usually provide more one-on-one therapy sessions, although many also supervise other therapists in the community.

What kinds of specializations are available?

If you choose to complete an advanced degree in clinical psychology, you will specialize in working with children, families, or adults depending on your needs and interests. Family therapists must be trained in both child and adult subjects so that they can work with various family members from different age groups. Students may want to consider whether they would prefer to work in a small clinic environment or an alternative setting, such as group homes or outpatient facilities, depending on your individual goals. Therapists who specialize in working with children often have the most flexibility in terms of hours and contractual obligations. Those who choose to work with adults may be required to conduct one-on-one sessions for several hours per day while those working with children will usually opt for appointment times that are best suited for parents (i.e., when parents return home from work).

Are there any special certifications that I should obtain?

Almost every state requires therapists to hold certification through the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC), which involves both continuing education credits and additional training in clinical practice and professional ethics. Typically, the NBCC will not offer these certifications unless an individual has completed a master’s program in clinical psychology or counseling, so additional education is necessary to complete the certification process.

What types of activities should I expect during my residency?

Therapists who work with children and families will likely help present workshops, facilitate group meetings, and attend lectures in their spare time. These professionals may also be required to lead special programs at local schools or conduct orientation sessions for new employees entering a facility. School counselors are often members of local committees that oversee emergency preparedness (e.g., fire safety), risk management issues (i.e., bus drivers must pass criminal background checks), and other related concerns that are important for the school and its students.