How to Become a Therapist
The Family Institute at Northwestern University
Master of Arts in Counseling
Earn a CACREP-accredited master’s in counseling online from top-10 ranked1 Northwestern University.
- CACREP Accredited
- Earn your MA in Counseling from Northwestern in as few as 18 months
- Accelerated full-time, traditional, or part-time tracks available
NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Master of Arts in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness
Aspiring mental health counselors are prepared to pursue licensure with NYU Steinhardt’s MPCAC-accredited online counseling master’s. Students can earn their degree in as few as 21 mos. GRE not req.
- Prepare to become a mental health counselor
- Accredited by the MPCAC
- As few as 21 months to complete
- GRE not required
Therapist, Counselor or Psychologist: What’s the Difference?
How to Become a Licensed Therapist
1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
2. Obtain a Master’s Degree from an Accredited Program
3. Complete Post-graduate Experience Hours
4. Take a State Licensure Exam
5. Take a Jurisprudence Exam if Required by your State
Different Kinds of Therapists
How to Become a Psychotherapist
Marriage and Family Therapist
How to Become a Marriage and Family Therapist
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapists
How to Become a Behavioral Analyst
How to Become a Recreational Therapist
How to Become a Child Therapist
Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT)
How to Become a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist
How to Become an Addiction Counselor
How to Become a Career Counselor
How to Become a Gerontological Counselor
How to Become a School Counselor
There are various master’s-level and doctoral-level programs available to aspiring therapists, including over 860 CACREP-accredited programs. They range from eighteen months to 7 years in length, depending on whether you are seeking a master’s or doctoral degree, area of specialty, existing credits, and part-time or full-time status. Completing the supervised counseling requirement and exam could take another one to two years.
Becoming a private practice therapist begins with earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology or other field of interest. You’ll then need a master’s degree in counseling with a specialization in the type of therapy you intend to practice. Following graduation, you need to complete supervised experience – most states require between 2,000 and 3,000 hours — and pass a comprehensive license exam, such as the National Counselor Examination.
Licensed therapist salaries vary by a number of factors such as location, employer, number of years of experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2019 median annual salary for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health therapists is $46,240, which is higher than the median wage of all workers, with those in the highest margin making over $76,000. The top-paying industries for mental health therapists, according to the BLS, are government, hospitals, individual and family services, outpatient mental health centers, and residential mental health and substance abuse facilities. The 2019 median salary for a marriage and family therapist is $49,610, with the highest 10% earning more than $87,700.