How Long Does It Take To Become A Therapist?

Professional therapists are well-respected mental health experts who work in every country on the planet. 

Through a number of academic avenues, they receive accreditation and legal qualifications to practice their specialty in mental health treatment. 

Some people start their schooling in the psychological sector, while others go into the treatment field after receiving other types of education. 

No matter what, all therapists have undertaken the difficult work of becoming certified mental experts. 

The educational journey necessitates a lot of dedication and hard work. 

Everyone who decides to pursue a career in professional counseling and therapy initially wonders how long it takes to become a therapist.

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What is a Therapist School Like?

A person must be ready for the schooling needs in the future when they decide to pursue a career in mental health. 

The field of mental health is expanding, and while there will always be a need for therapists, they must first complete all the necessary educational requirements in order to practice safely for everyone.

A bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for all therapists. 

Many therapists earn bachelor’s degrees in psychology, although some start out with undergraduate degrees in liberal arts before switching to graduate degrees in therapy or counseling. 

Therapy training is varied and goes beyond a bachelor’s degree. 

Although some students pursue doctoral degrees, it is not necessary to hold one to engage in clinical practice. 

Notably, most counselors have a master’s degree. 

Students who want to work as instructors, researchers, or supervisors are typically those who pursue doctoral degrees.

In addition to the requisite graduate-level courses, therapy training involves a practicum or internship that provides real-world experience. 

This is the last step in the process of becoming a licensed professional so that therapists can work as licensed mental health providers. 

This usually entails a predetermined amount of hours where the student is under a professional’s supervision while working. 

A state certification test is required to become a certified professional therapist. 

Most students can therefore plan on finishing their higher education in six to eight years. 

A bachelor’s degree typically takes four years to complete, and a master’s degree typically takes two years to complete along with clinical training or an internship.

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Is Attending a Therapist School Worth It?

Financially, PT school is worthwhile if;

  • Ideally, you should keep your debt-to-income ratio at or below 1.0. 
  • You are aware of compound interest, the amount of interest that will accrue on your loan over time, and the monthly repayment amount. 
  • You are aware of the lost opportunities a seven-year PhD program presents. 
  • You adore becoming a physical therapist 
  • You are willing to take on PRN employment to pay off your loans faster, work in higher-paying specialties, contemplate taking a travel job, or you wish to start your own practice. 
  • You put effort into improving your financial literacy, and you have a plan and a budget.

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What Schooling Do You Need to Be a Therapist in 2023?

First off, the majority of psychologists hold a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) or a Ph.D. in psychology (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). 

A Psy.D. is more focused on clinical work than a Ph.D., which helps to distinguish between the two degrees. 

Despite the fact that each of these courses calls for a bachelor’s degree, some positions in psychology (such as that of a school psychologist) can be filled with only a master’s degree.

A Ph.D. or Psy.D. typically takes at least five years to complete. 

A certain number of supervised clinical hours are necessary during this time, and there is typically a research or practicum component. 

As the greatest certificate one can obtain, this is the longest route to becoming a therapist, but the work prospects are typically the best. 

Some specializations in psychology call for higher academic requirements. 

For instance, before they can begin working in certain schools, school psychologists might need to have an education specialist degree (Ed.S. ), which also requires a supervised internship requiring more than 1,000 hours of labor. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015).

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How Long Does It Take To Become a Licensed Therapist in 2023?

Though the length of training may vary depending on the profession, it typically takes six years to become a therapist. 

To become a therapist, you must complete two years of graduate school after four years of undergraduate study to receive your bachelor’s degree. 

Some applicants decide to pursue practice areas that might necessitate further education and training or attend graduate school part-time. 

The process of becoming a therapist in certain situations typically adds an extra year or two.

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How Much Does It Cost to Become a Licensed Therapist?

According to a 2019 survey by SimplePractice, a practice management system for mental health professionals, the average cost of psychotherapy in the United States is from $100 to $200 per session (depending on the state). 

You’ll probably have to pay a fee per session when you visit a therapist in person. 

However, there are other circumstances when you might be charged on a monthly basis, as for subscription-based services obtained through an app. 

Your per-session charge and session frequency determine your average monthly cost.

You probably have to pay a copay for therapy sessions if you have health insurance. 

You might have to pay out of pocket, which means you’ll be responsible for the entire amount, if your therapist is regarded as being “out of network.” 

Some therapists also accept sliding scale payments from their clients, regardless of whether they have insurance. 

The cost of your sessions will frequently be determined by your income if you discover a therapist who offers a sliding scale payment plan. 

Ultimately, your hourly rate may still differ from therapist to therapist, but the price is determined with consideration for your needs and financial situation.

Although it’s impossible to put a price tag on treatment, you shouldn’t let the cost deter you from getting help. 

Free helplines that offer mental health support are provided by volunteers by organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). 

Free and low-cost services are available as well; according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, federally funded healthcare facilities frequently offer income-based therapy options, and college students in particular can access free mental health services and counseling at their colleges or universities (ADAA).

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Salary and Job Outlook for Therapists after Study

Your education, experience, specialty, and license are just a few of the many variables that may affect the amount of money you make as a therapist. 

The average annual wage for therapists in the country is $72,292. 

This is the typical pay for all sorts of therapists, however, depending on your function, you can make more or less money. 

Depending on the specialty of treatment you choose, your job prospects as a therapist may vary. 

Substance abuse, behavioral, and mental health counselor positions may increase by 22% between now and 2031, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

This is a lot higher than the 8% average growth rate for all occupations.

During the same time period, the BLS also anticipates a 16% growth rate in employment possibilities for marital and family therapists.

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Even while it may seem like there are only a few ways to become a therapist, it’s crucial to keep in mind that there are actually a number of options. 

One might start looking for a master’s program in psychology or therapy if they already hold a bachelor’s degree in just about any discipline. 

The likelihood of landing a job increases with a Ph.D. 

It’s also important to note that many Ph.D. programs award a master’s degree in the middle of the program.

For those who only possess a bachelor’s degree or who can only feasibly complete a bachelor’s degree, there are also options. 

There are several counseling roles that one can have without pursuing a master’s degree. 

Some people might be content with their careers as counselors, while others might use their counseling expertise to guide their pursuit of additional study and therapist license. 

The prerequisites for credentials in your nation or state, as well as your experiences getting job experience in counseling, therapy, or psychology, would be greatly appreciated.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How can I start my own private practice as a therapist

A bachelor’s degree in psychology or another relevant subject is the first requirement for becoming a private practice therapist. 
A master’s degree in counseling is then required, preferably with a focus on the kind of therapy you want to use. 
After graduating, you must complete supervised experience (the majority of states need between 2,000 and 3,000 hours), pass a comprehensive license exam, such the National Counselor Examination, and obtain a license.

To become a therapist, how many years are needed? 

Aspiring therapists can choose from over 860 programs that have received CACREP accreditation at the master’s and doctorate levels, among others. 
Depending on whether you want a master’s or doctoral degree, your field of specialization, your prior credits, and whether you’re a part-time or full-time student, they can take anywhere from 18 months to 7 years to complete. 
The additional one to two years is needed to complete the supervised counseling requirement and exam.

How long does it generally take to become a Therapist? 

This depends on how diligently and continuously the student pursues their academics. 
A bachelor’s degree takes three years to finish, an honors degree takes one year to complete, and a master’s degree in clinical, counseling, or research psychology takes two years to accomplish (one-year of coursework and one-year internship). 
In addition, the Department of Health mandates that Clinical Psychology graduates spend a year performing community service.

Where can I find employment as a therapist? 

You should think about your alternatives for doing business once you have obtained your license while deciding how to become a therapist. 
There are other possibilities available, despite the fact that the most typical image of a therapist is one in which they sit in their office and visit patients.



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