If you’ve just started in the profession, a typical question on your mind might be how much money do therapists make.
Wanting to understand your potential income is normal, and if this topic has been on your mind, you’re in the right place. Here we’re diving into what you can expect for a therapist salary range, exploring the factors that might influence your earning potential.
Average Salary for Therapists
Wondering how much therapists make on average? According to ZipRecruiter in May 2023, the median annual therapist salary in the U.S. is $78,534. Coming in at an even higher average annual pay is marriage family therapists at $88,786 a year. Of course, the average therapist salary depends on numerous factors, including specialization, educational background, experience level, and location.
Factors That Affect Therapist Salaries
“There are several factors that affect therapist salaries, including therapists’ educational degree, years of experience, setting (hospital, private practice or government), as well as the type of therapy (individual, group, or family) and region of the country in which they practice.”– Talkspace Therapist Dr. Olga Molina, D.S.W., LCSW
Several factors will influence how much a therapist can earn, for example:
- Experience: Like any profession, the more experience you have in your field, the higher your earning power will be. Someone who’s been a therapist for 20 years will likely earn substantially more than someone just starting out.
- Education: Most professions have a ranging salary potential that’s linked to education. Generally speaking, the more education you have, the more earning potential you’ll enjoy. For example, psychologists, who have doctoral degrees, can earn much more than a therapist with a master’s degree.
- Type of therapy: The type of therapy you practice will also affect your income. Some specializations may be in high demand or require additional education and training, which can lead to increased earning possibilities. A sports psychologist might earn more than a general therapist.
- Location: Salaries can vary based on geographical location. Therapists who practice in urban areas or states with higher costs of living will typically have the ability to earn more than someone who practices in a very rural region.
- Private practice vs agency counselors: The type of practice you work in can influence your salary too. For example, a private practice therapist might earn more than a licensed therapist who works in an agency because they have the leeway to charge more for their services. In contrast, an agency mental health counselor will likely have set fees based on their agency’s discretion.
Therapist Salaries by Location
Location can have a significant impact on the therapist salary range. Various states and cities across the United States have widely ranging costs of living, which can impact how much a therapist may earn.
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Beyond state-level differences in pay, urban areas generally offer higher wages than less populated areas due to demand and cost of living considerations. ZipRecruiter compiled a list of what mental health providers earn on average in every state.
Highest paying states for therapists:
- Tennessee: According to ZipRecruiter, Tennessee is a top-paying state for therapists – mental health professionals there can earn an average annual salary of $83,050 per year.
- New Jersey: New Jersey also offers competitive salaries for mental health professionals, with an average therapist salary of $81,330.
- Hawaii: Hawaii comes in third among top-paying locations, barely missing the second-place spot. Therapists in the Aloha State can expect to earn an average annual salary of $81,018.
Lowest paying states for therapists:
- Florida: At the other end of the spectrum, Florida comes in second to last, where the average therapist salary is $56,339.
- Georgia: In Georgia, mental health professionals make approximately $55,028 on average.
Industry Salary Trends
The mental health industry has seen significant changes concerning therapists’ salaries and income potential. Staying informed and on top of trends will help you maximize your earnings as a mental health professional in the field. Notable industry salary trends can include:
- Increase demand in telehealth and teletherapy: The COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of online therapy platforms like Talkspace means the therapist salary range today might be much broader than it was in the past. There is now the potential to expand your client base and increase your income through remote sessions that make access to therapy much easier for clients. Interested in the benefits of teletherapy? Join the Talkspace network to provide an online therapy practice.
- Increased awareness about mental health: As a society, we’ve become much more aware of the importance of mental health. Thus, an increased demand for qualified therapists and mental health professionals has followed. This growing need can potentially lead to higher salaries for professionals in the field. The BLS projects a 22% growth rate for mental health counselors between 2021–2031. This growth is “much faster than average.”
- Diversification in specialization: Therapists who specialize in a specific area – like trauma, addiction, or couples counseling – might be able to charge higher fees due to their expertise and dedicated specialization. Additionally, specializing in certain aspects of therapeutic technique may require additional certifications and training, which can enhance your skill set and educational experience, increasing your earning potential.
- Insurance coverage for mental health: As insurance companies continue to recognize the value of mental health services, there could be an impact on how much therapists may earn per therapy session. It’s important to stay updated with your insurance company’s policies and reimbursement rates to ensure you can maximize revenue from clients, even as they use more and more insurance benefits.
- Getting licensed in multiple states: One rising trend that’s shifting salaries in the industry comes with the rise in teletherapy. Since remote therapy is more common, and in some cases preferred, therapists are able to help more clients if they get licensed in other states.
“Currently, therapist jobs are in demand, and research shows that there’s an expected job growth for therapists during this decade.”– Talkspace Therapist Dr. Olga Molina, D.S.W., LCSW
Maximize Your Salary Potential with Talkspace
As a therapist, consider maximizing your salary potential by joining an online platform like Talkspace. We connect therapists with clients who need mental health support. When you become a part of the Talkspace network, you’ll benefit from more than just flexible working hours and environment. You might also see increased earning opportunities in the field of psychology.
Talkspace therapists enjoy:
- No overhead costs: Online therapy eliminates the need for many of the overhead costs traditionally associated with running a physical office space. Say goodbye to rent, utilities, and administrative staff expenses, as Talkspace provides everything you need to do your job, without the extra expenses. The savings can directly translate into higher earnings.
- Diverse client base: No longer will you have to spend time, money, and energy marketing yourself to gain access to a larger pool of potential clients. With a handed-to-you client base, you’ll have more opportunities for engagement and to develop meaningful relationships with clients, which can offer long-term client-patient relationships that result in higher revenue.
- Ongoing training and support: Talkspace takes great pride in providing ongoing support, education, and training resources for therapists. With access to professional development tools like this, you’ll enhance your skills and increase your credibility and experience among prospective clients, ultimately leading to better income prospects.
Learn more about becoming a Talkspace therapist today. Discover all the benefits and see how Talkspace can help you increase your earning potential and maximize your impact as an effective and qualified mental health therapist.
- Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and Mental Health Counselors : Occupational Outlook Handbook. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-behavioral-disorder-and-mental-health-counselors.htm Published October 24, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2023.
- Marriage and family therapists : Occupational outlook handbook. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/marriage-and-family-therapists.htm Published September 8, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2023.
- What is mental health therapist salary by State? – ziprecruiter. https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/What-Is-the-Average-Mental-Health-Therapist-Salary-by-State Accessed April 20, 2023.
- Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and Mental Health Counselors : Occupational Outlook Handbook. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-behavioral-disorder-and-mental-health-counselors.htm#tab-6 Published October 24, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2023.
Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.
Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.
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