How To Become A Therapist: Requirements, Degrees & Experience

How to Become a Therapist

If you want to be a therapist but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right spot. Despite the fact that there are many distinct types of therapists, psychologists, and counselors, the path to each profession is identical. Every one of these jobs necessitates a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a similar discipline, and in some cases, that’s all that’s needed to get started. 

Most of these roles, on the other hand, require aspiring therapists to get a master’s degree in psychology or a similar discipline, after which they can apply for licensure and begin practicing if they have enough supervised clinical experience.

In this article, we mentioned how to become a therapist? what degree requires for a therapist? and the types of therapists.

The Different Types Of Therapists

There are numerous specializations within the field of therapists because they can treat a wide range of people.

  • Psychotherapists
  • Behavioral Therapists
  • Cognitive-behavioral Therapists
  • Interpersonal Therapists
  • Mindfulness-based Therapists
  • Recreational Therapists 
  • Child Therapists
  • Marriage And Family Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists

 While many of these therapist professions have similar educational and career requirements, others have specific requirements.

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What Is The Average Time It Takes To Become A Therapist?

In most situations, being a therapist will take at least seven to fifteen years after high school graduation. A bachelor’s degree (which takes four years on average to earn) is required for most therapists, followed by a master’s degree.

Before becoming a therapist licensed as a therapist, the formal study is followed by supervised clinical hours of direct practice. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you’ll have to wait four to ten years to be licensed as a therapist.

What Degree Do You Need To Be A Therapist?

It takes several years to become a therapist. Before enrolling in a program, examine whether you actually want to fulfill all of the prerequisites to avoid having to change majors or return to school therapist to acquire a different degree. 

As a professional in the industry, you must complete four basic steps before you can practice therapy.

  • You Should Obtain A Bachelor’s Degree

The first step toward becoming a therapist is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in a therapy-related field. Other institutions offering master’s degrees do not recognize bachelor’s degrees from unaccredited schools, therefore you should only choose schools with regional accreditation. Consider majoring in therapists psychology, sociology, or counseling for your bachelor’s degree. You can also look at course descriptions to see if the curriculum matches your desired outcomes and career objectives.

Attending a school in the state where you intend to practice is a good idea. Many colleges and universities will adapt their curriculum to meet the criteria of individual states. However, some states have reciprocity agreements in place, which means that professionals do not have to retake licensure exams if they transfer to another state.

  • You Should Complete Comprehensive And Applicable Training

Some states enable therapists with a bachelor’s degree to work under the supervision of a master’s degree-holding licensed therapist. As a result, aspiring therapists can gain on-the-job experience while pursuing their master’s degrees. Many professional groups also provide free webinars for members, which can help you network and learn from other experts.

  • You Should Complete Supervised Clinical Work

The final stage in becoming a therapist is to obtain your license. Each state establishes its own licensure criteria, and institutions often tailor their curricula to meet those requirements. You must have about two years of supervised experience before taking the license exam.

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What Is the Role of a Therapist?

Essentially, therapists assist people in overcoming their difficulties. Substance abuse issues, interpersonal conflicts with family members or employees, and behavioral disorders are just some of the issues that might arise. What a therapist performs is primarily determined by the type of therapist he or she is.

  • Persons with transitory disabilities can return to their previous level of functioning, and people with chronic disabilities can live more independently on a daily basis with the support of an occupational therapist.
  • A recreational therapist helps people enhance their overall well-being by using leisure activities such as arts and crafts.
  • Marriage and family therapists assist couples, families, and individuals in resolving interpersonal conflicts.
  • A behavioral therapist works with persons who have behavioral dysfunctions and can help them change their behaviors.
  • A CBT therapist can assist someone in identifying thinking patterns that contribute to detrimental habits and then changing those thought patterns.
  • Finally, a child therapist can assist a child in coping with a behavioral or emotional disorder so that they can develop more normally.

What a therapist performs is very dependent on the sort of therapist and therapeutic orientation they have. At its most basic level, a therapist’s role includes assisting someone in improving their overall well-being and functioning in various areas of life, whether emotional, relational, occupational, physical, or mental.

What Characterizes a Good Therapist?

What Characterizes a Good Therapist- how to become a therapist

Mention below a few, are all beneficial attributes for therapists to have.

  • Analytical Skills 
  • Communication Skills
  • Compassion
  • Flexibility
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Leadership Skills
  • Listening Skills
  • Observational Skills
  • Organization
  • Patience
  • Resourcefulness
  • Speaking Skills
  • Writing Abilities

To put it another way, in order to determine what a client expects they need therapy session, a therapist must be able to communicate effectively with the client. Because therapists must first know the nature of a client’s problem before trying to treat it, this necessitates patience and listening skills.

Therapists must be vigilant in order to hear things that the client does not express openly.

This necessitates therapists being resourceful and adaptable in order to treat their clients in a unique manner based on their needs and abilities.

Finally, in order to keep track of their work with clients, therapists must be well-organized. This record-keeping includes writing and verbal abilities so that the therapist and the client are always on the same page. Any therapy session requires this mutual understanding.

How to Become a Therapist: Psychotherapist

How to Become a Therapist: Psychotherapist

Psychotherapists assist people in overcoming mental and interpersonal difficulties in their life. Weekly, hour-long sessions are the most common format for therapy. A bachelor’s degree in psychology or a similar subject is required to work as a psychotherapist. 

Following that, one can pursue a master’s degree in psychotherapy. While pursuing a master’s degree, one can begin accumulating the requisite clinical experience for licensure. To be registered as a licensed psychotherapist in the United Kingdom, for example, one must have a master’s degree in psychotherapy and 450 hours of practice with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

In the United States, becoming a therapist typically entails a 1000-1500 hour pre-degree requirement, followed by additional 1500 hours of supervised experience after receiving your degree. Before being formally “licensed” to practice, a candidate who has completed their supervised hours must obtain approval from their region’s licensing board to sit for a standardized clinical licensure exam. 

They can practice while waiting for licensure with a conditional license that commonly includes the words “associate” or “intern” before their credentials. Psychotherapists are required to obtain a particular amount of continuing education each year to keep their license and credentialing current and up-to-date once they have been licensed.

How To Become A Therapist: Behavioral Therapist

How To Become A Therapist: Behavioral Therapist

Behavioral therapists assist clients in overcoming self-destructive behavior. Behavioral therapists help persons with cognitive difficulties like autism regulate their behaviors, but they can also help those with obsessive-compulsive disorders or substance misuse problems.

A bachelor’s degree in psychology or a similar subject is required for someone who wishes to work as a behavioral therapist. A behavioral disorder counselor can begin working after getting a bachelor’s degree. To work as a licensed behavioral therapist degree, you must first obtain a master’s degree in psychology or counseling and then work toward licensure.

Behavioral therapist licensure standards vary by area, although all states in the US need a master’s degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical practice, similar to psychotherapy requirements.

How to Become a Therapist: Cognitive Behavioral Therapist

CBT therapists work in a similar way to behavioral therapists in that they assist clients to overcome harmful behaviors, but CBT therapists are more concerned with thinking and cognitive patterns.

The procedure of becoming a therapist is nearly comparable to that of becoming a psychotherapist, with the exception that one can specialize in CBT approaches and gain further certification.

Prospective CBT therapists have two options after getting their master’s degree: they may either become accredited in psychotherapy and begin offering CBT programs, or they can become particularly accredited in CBT treatment.

In the United Kingdom, for example, the first option may be to become a general psychotherapist licensed by the UKCP, or British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy.

The second option is to obtain psychotherapist accreditation before becoming explicitly accredited as a CBT therapist by the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Therapy or the Association for Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy.

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How to Become a Therapist: Child Therapist

Child therapists assist youngsters in achieving more balanced development. A child therapist, for example, might assist a child in understanding why they are unable to focus in school and determining how to help the child focus better in the classroom.

Child therapists also assist in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions in children, as well as providing support to their families.

A bachelor’s degree in psychology or a similar subject is required to become a child therapist, as it is for most therapists. After that, a Master’s degree in child development or clinical psychology is required, as well as the required amount of supervised clinical hours.

This path is similar to that of a psychotherapist, except those interested in working exclusively with children can specialize in techniques such as expressive art therapy and child-centered play therapy. To become a more acceptable candidate, one can pursue a Ph.D. or Psy.D.

How to Become a Therapist: Family Therapist

Therapy for the whole family on how to start a career as a therapist Marriage and family therapists assist families and couples in resolving interpersonal conflicts, as well as individuals with mental health concerns that impair their family ties. A marital and family therapist, for example, could assist a married couple in understanding why they have been fighting.

A marital and family therapist may also be able to assist a family in better understanding how to deal with one of their members’ anxiety concerns.

A bachelor’s degree, preferably in psychology or a related subject, is required to work as a marriage and family therapist. Following that, one can enroll in a master’s program in counseling psychology, marriage and family therapy, or a comparable discipline to complete their supervised clinical hours.

In the United States, licensure is handled by regional governing boards, such as the Board of Behavioral Sciences in California.

How to Become A Therapist: Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists assist persons with physical and mental illnesses is becoming more self-sufficient. Occupational therapists “aspire to foster dignity and a sufficient level of living” for their patients. An occupational therapist, for example, could assist someone who is new to using a wheelchair in figuring out how to live their life independently.

Occupational therapists also assist their client’s family members or carers in determining the best way to assist them in their everyday duties. To work as an occupational therapist, you must first complete a bachelor’s degree program that involves some physiology or related education. To get experience, prospective occupational therapists should volunteer or work in an occupational therapist’s office after completing a bachelor’s degree.

The master’s degree in occupational therapy, which is required for most positions, is then earned by prospective occupational therapists. After receiving a master’s degree, occupational therapist licensing is required, which is provided by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy in the United States.

How Much Does A Therapist Make?

The pay for therapists is determined by the field they choose to work in and the degrees they get. A psychologist with a doctorate earns an annual salary of $82,180 on average. A master’s degree earns a school and career counselor a median annual pay of $58,120, while a master’s degree earns a marital and family therapist a median annual compensation of $51,340. Counselors who specialize in substance addiction, behavioral disorders, or mental health earn a median yearly pay of $47,660. That’s how much do therapists make.

Bottom Line

While the road to becoming a therapist may appear to belong, it is crucial to keep in mind that there are various routes to choose from. If you have a bachelor’s degree in almost any field, you can apply for a master’s program in psychology or therapy.

Earning a Ph.D. improves one’s chances of landing a job, and it’s worth noting that many Ph.D. programs include a master’s degree in the middle. How to know do I need therapy?

People who only have a bachelor’s degree or who can only really get a bachelor’s degree have possibilities as well. Certain counseling roles can still be filled without obtaining a master’s degree. Some people like working as counselors, while others use their counseling experience to help them pursue further education and certification as therapists.

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