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How Much Do Therapists Make? (A Brief Guide)

In this guide, we will discuss how much do therapists make on an average. 

How Much Do Therapists Make?

To answer the question “How Much Do Therapists Make?” we have to take into consideration that the salaries vary and can range widely depending on education, training and the area or setting. 

For instance, in the US salaries can range between $30,000 to $100,000 a year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the annual income (average) for therapists is:

  • Therapists who work in community rehabilitation centers can make $30,350
  • Mental health counselors in hospital settings can make $47,000
  • Family therapists who work for the government can make $72,580

If you are a student and you are considering pursuing this type of career or options in this field, it is important to check out the statistics, employment opportunities, and average salaries.

Psychologists in the US

For a psychologist in the US and according to the 2017 median salary range, the reported salary was $77,000 a year or about $37 an hour.

It has been said that psychologists that work for the government are the ones who make the most money on average, followed by those working in hospitals and schools. 

According to Kendra Cherry from VerywellMind.com, some psychologists can earn around $30,000 a year, while others earn six-figure salaries.

In addition, those working for the government and schools have full-time schedules during the typical business hours (M-F). 

In contrast, those who work in hospitals or other related settings may have evening and weekend hours but if you decide to have your own practice then you can choose and set your schedule at your convenience. 

Salaries reported for 2018 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate the following:

  • Career and school counselors earn around $56,310
  • Clinical Psychologists earn around $76,990
  • Counselors can earn around $47,600
  • Developmental Psychologists can earn around $56,500
  • Engineering Psychologist can earn around $79,818
  • Experimental Psychologists can earn around $56,500
  • Health Psychologists can earn around $40,00 at an entry-level to $85,000 at an advanced level
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychologists can earn $109,030
  • Sports Psychologists can earn $54,000

Psychologists and career prospects In the UK

According to prospects.ac.uk, salaries for psychologists in the UK are as follows:

  • Trainee clinical psychologists start at £30,401 (Band 6) of the NHS Agenda for Change (AfC) pay rates. After qualification, salaries within the NHS start at £37,570 (Band 7).
  • More experienced psychologists can earn between £44,606 and £60,983 (Bands 8a and 8b).
  • Consultant-level clinical psychologist roles typically range from £61,777 to £86,687 (Bands 8c and 8d).
  • Heads of psychology services can earn in the region of £89,537 to £103,860 (Band 9).

The NHS pays a London high-cost area supplement at 20% of basic salary for inner London, 15% for outer London and 5% for fringe areas and salaries in private hospitals and private practice can vary.

In terms of career prospects, the NHS has a structured career path that will allow you to earn more when you gain more experience and move between roles.

You can specialize in some of the following areas (prospects.ac.uk):

  • Addiction
  • Clinical Health Psychology
  • Forensic Clinical Psychology
  • Oncology and palliative care
  • Psychosis and complex mental health

Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists can make $200.000 a year ($100 per hour) and they are considered the highest paid professionals in regards to mental health since they have a medical background and have extensive educational requirements.

However, this will vary depending on their geographic location and the nature of their clinical practice. 

According to Hannah Sheldon-Dean from Zencare, those who work in the offices of physicians or other medical professionals often are said to earn the most and in contrast, those who work at hospitals tend to earn less. 

Additionally, Kendra Cherry from Verywellmind.com says they can even earn $216,000 a year. 

Counselors

Salaries for counselors tend to vary, depending on their geographical location, specialization or level of education, and type of practice. 

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual income of educational, vocational and school counselors are:

  • Elementary and secondary schools; state, local and private can earn $62,990
  • Other educational services; state, local and private can earn $49,570
  • Junior colleges, colleges, universities and professional schools; state, local and private can earn $49,150
  • Healthcare and social assistance can earn $37,300

Additionally, according to mastersincounseling.org, it is said that the demand for a career in counseling is projected to increase.

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Counselors 

“Substance abuse and behavioral health counselors is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026” (mastersincounseling.org).

This could be related to the development of offender rehabilitation programs and the opening of more addiction centers, increasing the need for counselors.

In addition, they can also find work at homeless shelters, colleges/universities, and hospital-based outpatient clinics. 

The average annual income according to The Bureau of Labor statistics is:

  • Government: $50,600
  • Hospitals (state, local and private): $47,000
  • Individual and family services: $42,190
  • Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers: $42,140
  • Nursing and residential care facilities: $37,210

Marriage and Family Therapists

They are considered to be on the high end of wages in the counseling field.

Their average salary according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics is:

  • State government, excluding education and hospitals,  $72,580
  • Outpatient care centers, $48,390
  • Offices of other health practitioners, $45,980
  • Individual and family services, $44,760

Most Lucrative Careers in Psychology

According to BestPsychologyDegrees.com here are some of the most lucrative careers/areas in Psychology:

  • Private Practice Clinical Therapists (mean salary of $150,000- $200,000), between 6-8+ years of education and their focus, is therapeutic practice.
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychologist (mean salary $98,000), between 6-8 years of education and their focus is consultation.
  • Neuropsychologists (mean salary $86,645), 8 years of education and their focus is assessment/consultation where it gets even more lucrative when having a doctorate level degree. As a Neuropsychologist, you can perform cognitive tests, run brain scans to study how certain drugs affect the brain and behavior or you assess people with brain injuries. 
  • Clinical Psychologist (mean salary $72,220), requires 8+ years of education and their focus is therapeutic treatment where most of the high-paying job opportunities require a doctorate in clinical psychology.
  • Engineering Psychologist (mean salary $80,000), requires 6-8 years of education and their focus is consultation/design using their understanding of the human mind to improve and develop products and technology.
  • Correctional Facility Psychologist (mean salary $85,000), requires 6-8 years of education and their focus is assessment/therapeutic treatment with inmates in a correctional facility environment.
  • Military Psychologist (mean salary $80,000), requires 6-8 years of education and they focus on assessment/therapeutic treatment of men and women who have served in the military and have often experience trauma or other situations that require treatment.
  • Corporate Manager (mean salary $100,000+), requires 4-8 years of education and they focus on management/consultation, where corporate managers have the ability for directing employees in a more accurate and efficient way due to their background.
  • Administrative Hospital Psychologist (mean salary $95,000), requires 6-8 years of education and they focus on the management of primary care facilities and psychologists stationed in a hospital. 
  • Forensic Psychologist (mean salary $69,280), requires 6-8 years of education and focus on assessment and consultation requested by insurance claim cases, child custody disputes or child abuse allegation. 
  • Teaching Psychologist (mean salary $79,360), requires 6-8 years of education and focuses on teaching/research. 

Costs to consider before practicing

After discussing the average salaries, it is important also to take into consideration the costs before you open your practice or start working.

You need to document yourself about any potential licensing fees, marketing to attract clients, the cost of utilities such as furnishing, office supplies, staff (if required), office rent, among others. 

Remember also that there are some risks associated with opening your private practice such as fluctuation on your income due to the lack of patients you see monthly or the amount of money you can actually charge an hour depending on your experience and qualifications, etc.

Make a plan and try to follow through, this can have pros and cons but it can be very rewarding. 

Why is this blog about How much do therapists make useful?

We have discussed some of the reported salaries a therapist can have, if you are considering pursuing a career in the mental health field then it is important to consider the options, how much do therapists make, what are their schedules, years of education, among other important things to consider. 

For sure money can be an important factor but we actually advise making a list of the ones that caught your attention and try to talk to people who are actually working in that particular area so they can share a bit more about their experience and then you can decide whether this would be a good option for you or not. 

Please feel free to comment in the comments section below!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How much do therapists make?

Do therapists make good money?

Therapists make good money depending on the field or setting, meaning some earn more than others.

According to very well mind, as of May of 2018, the median annual salary for clinical, counseling and school psychologists was $85,340 per year.

The lowest-earning was reported to be $44,040 and the highest, more than $129,310.

How much do therapists make an hour?

As we have discussed, it depends on the area so for instance, clinical, counseling and school psychologists in the US can earn $37.83 an hour according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some of the highest hourly rates have been reported to be  $57.85 an hour and the lowest $20.11 an hour. 

What field of psychology makes the most money?

The field of psychology that makes the most money is Psychiatrists, followed by industrial-organizational psychology, Neuropsychologists, Engineering psychologists, psychology teachers, clinical psychologists, counseling psychologists, and school psychologists.  

How many years does it take to become a therapist?

To become a therapist you need an undergraduate degree of four to five years of college if you become a clinical psychologist.

In addition, in some cases to become a licensed therapist it can take between 8 to 12 years

Is there a difference between a therapist and a counselor?

Counseling is a process that involves helping individuals understand and solve problems to help them cope with their emotional stressors or triggers, while therapy involves talking about how you feel under certain situations that can help you gain some insight about your mood, feelings, behavior and your thoughts. 

Recommended reading

  • NHS Agenda for Change – pay rates
  • The Making of a Therapist: A Practical Guide for the Inner Journey (Norton Professional Books (Hardcover))
  • Anatomy and Physiology Workbook for Therapists and Healthcare Professionals [By Ruth Hull] – [Paperback] -Best sold book in-Mind-Body Medicine
  • The Gift Of Therapy: An open letter to a new generation of therapists and their patients: Reflections on Being a Therapist

References

Zencare

Verywellmind.com: How Much Do Psychologists Make? 

Prospects.ac.uk

Bestpsychologydegrees.com

Mastersinpsychologyguide.com

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