What Degree Do You Need to Be a Licensed Therapist?

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What Degree Do You Need to Be a Licensed Therapist?

You are a person who enjoys assisting others. You’ve been described as an excellent listener. Quite a bit. It’s possible that someone in your life has indicated that you’d make an excellent therapist. Now you’re wondering if those abilities could be turned into a professionWould a career as a therapist be a good fit for you? And, if that’s the case, how do you go about becoming a registered therapist? Is a master’s degree required? Do you have a doctorateWhat are the responsibilities of therapists? Is it a good fit for your personality to work as a therapist? Let’s have a look at how to become a therapist in more detail.

What Is the Role of a Therapist?

A licensed professional with a background in psychology or counselling is referred to as a therapist. Mental health counsellors, school psychologists, drug abuse counsellors, psychotherapists, social workers, and psychiatrists are among the various types of professions who fall under the title “therapist.” Therapists are typically considered of as mental health professionals who give therapeutic services to individuals, couples, or groups. Therapists can operate in a variety of settings, including private practise, schools, social service organisations, clinics, hospitals, and even online.

What Are the Steps to Become a Therapist?

Your first inquiry when you look into how to become a therapist is usually, “What education do I need to become a therapist?” Because there are many different types of therapists and they require varied educational backgrounds, the answer isn’t totally apparent. Furthermore, each state has its own set of standards for mental health providers. To begin, look into your state’s specific licence requirements.

In general, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree to work as a therapist; however, the majority of licenced therapists also need master’s degrees. Advanced degrees, such as a PhD, PsyD, or MD, are held by certain therapists. If you want to deal directly with patients, you’ll need to finish your licencing with supervised clinical hours and educational degrees. After you’ve completed your clinical hours, you’ll take a certification exam, buy liability insurance, and start looking for work.

What Kind of Education Do You Need to Be a Therapist?

Some basic counselling certificates just demand a bachelor’s degree; obtaining an initial counselling certificate may be something you want to pursue as part of your path to becoming a therapist.
If you’re a college student considering about becoming a therapist, you should start by taking courses in psychology, communication, and sociology, as all of these subjects can help you prepare for the job. A master’s degree is usually required to become a licenced therapist. Most counselling licences also require master’s degrees, which is true of therapy professions such as social workers and psychotherapists. Typically, the master’s degree you seek will be in the field in which you intend to work. You will need to perform supervised clinical work in psychology in addition to your degree, which will cover course material that will prepare you for your job. This implies you’ll have to practise having therapy sessions with people before the state’s licencing board will certify you (these sessions are often arranged by your degree program). Finally, before you may practise therapy, you must take and pass a licence exam.
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker [LCSW] is a therapist licence that requires a master’s degree.
  • Licensed Master Social Worker [LMSW]
  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker [LICSW]
  • (Licensed) Mental Health Counselor [LMHC or MHC]
  • (Licensed) Marriage and Family Therapist [LMFT or MFT]
Some therapists go on to earn doctorates in psychology after earning higher degrees.  A PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) or a PsyD (Ph.D.) are the two sorts of doctorates you can earn on your path to becoming a therapist (Doctor of Psychology). Therapists with PhDs are more likely to focus on research, whereas therapists with PsyDs are more likely to focus on clinical practise. Both degrees take 4-6 years of education or more, and either degree can be used to practise therapy.

Finally, if you have an MD and want to work as a psychiatrist, you can practise therapy. Of course, this necessitates attending medical school. Psychiatrists are the only therapists who can prescribe medication to their patients and who can formally diagnose someone with a mental health illness like schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and so on.

What Is the Time Commitment to Becoming a Therapist?

The time it takes to become a therapist is mostly determined by the educational path you pursue. If you want to pursue a licence that requires a master’s degree, you’ll need two or three years of further schooling beyond a bachelor’s degree. If you want to acquire a PhD, you’ll probably need another 5-7 years of education after your bachelor’s degree. If you want to work as a psychiatrist, you’ll need an MD, which can take up to eight years to complete after you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree.

How Much Does a Therapist Get Paid?

Your therapist income is largely determined by your degree or licensure, where you work, how much experience you have, and where you live. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2019:

* Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors earn an average of $46,240 per year, or $22.23 per hour.
* Marriage and Family Therapists earn an average of $49,610 per year, or $23.85 per hour.

What Are the Different Types of Therapists?

There are numerous specialisations within the field of therapists because they can treat a wide range of people. Psychotherapists, behavioural therapists, cognitive-behavioral therapists, interpersonal therapists, mindfulness-based therapists, recreational therapists, child therapists, marriage and family therapists, and occupational therapists are among the professionals who work in this field. While many of these therapist jobs have comparable educational and career pathways, some have unique prerequisites.

What Issues Can a Therapist Assist With?

You may be wondering what types of mental health difficulties you can help others manage and overcome if you know that helping people is a passion of yours, which is why you were likely led to the area of psychology and counselling. As a therapist, you can help patients work through a wide range of mental health concerns.
The following are a few of the most common:
* Substance abuse (alcohol and drugs)
* Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, disordered eating)
* Anxiety disorders (panic disorder, PTSD, OCD, generalised anxiety disorder)
* Depression disorders
* Postpartum mood disorders
* Schizophrenia
* Bipolar disease
* Personality disorders

* Challenges in marriage
* Parenting concerns and issues affecting children and students

Therapists can also assist people with more general life difficulties such as:

* Grief and loss
* Job stress * Insomnia
* Life transitions such as divorce, relocation, or changing employment
* Relationship challenges
* Learning to live with health crises
* Sexual issues
* Sexual abuse recovery

What Is the Role of a Therapist?

In a private practise office, a clinic, a school, a social service setting, or a hospital setting, most therapists work one-on-one with their clients.
Different sorts of counselling are commonly used in therapy, which needs you to listen to your clients’ concerns and help them come up with solutions. In most sessions, clients are asked probing questions to help them learn more about themselves and develop solutions for dealing with their problems. Most therapists don’t offer their own advise or opinions, instead encouraging their clients to seek out their own inner wisdom in order to cure their mental health problems.The way therapists approach therapy is also influenced by the type of training they have received.
* An occupational therapist, for example, assists people with temporary disabilities in returning to their previous level of functioning and assists those with permanent disabilities in living more independently on a daily basis (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015).
* A recreational therapist helps people enhance their overall well-being by engaging them in leisure activities such as arts and crafts (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015).
* Marriage and family therapists assist couples, families, and individuals in resolving interpersonal conflicts (Bureau of Labor    Statistics, 2015).
* A behavioural therapist works with persons who have behavioural dysfunctions and can help them change their behaviours. * A CBT therapist may assist a client in identifying thinking patterns that contribute to harmful habits in their lives and then assisting them in changing such thought patterns (Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, 2015).
* Finally, a child therapist can assist a child in coping with a behavioural or emotional issue, allowing them to develop in a more healthy manner (Miller, 2015).

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 include assisting someone in improving their overall well-being and functioning in various areas of life, whether emotional, relational, occupational, physical, or mental. The majority of therapy is done one-on-one with adults or children; however, therapists may also deal with couples, families, or larger groups. Regardless of how a therapist was trained, most therapists end up integrating multiple approaches to address their clients’ specific requirements, as well as different ways based on what their client is dealing with. Most therapists work alone, but if a client’s problems appear to require medical treatment or medication, a therapist may need to send them to their doctor or a psychiatrist.

What Qualifies a Therapist to Be Effective?

It takes more than having the “helping people” bug to become a therapist. While there is no one personality type that is best suited to become a therapist, there are some fundamental abilities that can help you succeed in the field, including:

* Someone who is self-aware and willing to explore their own psychology and mental health struggles
* Someone who has an intuitive sense of how to interact with others
* Strong listening skills
* Strong problem-solving skills
* Ability to listen to other people’s problems without judgement
* Someone who is self-aware and willing to explore their own psychology and mental health struggles
* Someone who can set and enforce healthy boundaries when necessary
* Someone who is dependable and responsible


Making the decision to devote your time and energy to becoming a therapist is a huge one, and you shouldn’t do it without completing your homework first. However, before entering this field, it’s a good idea to interact with current mental health experts to gain an insider’s perspective on what the job entails. If you are a college student, you can make an appointment with a therapist through your career services department. If you haven’t already, going to therapy is another great method to learn more about being a therapist. Having firsthand experience with therapy can help you become a better therapist in the future because you will be able to empathise with your clients. Working through your own mental health issues will not only make you stronger and more resilient, but it will also teach you how to develop good interpersonal skills. Finally, you should know that becoming a therapist is an engaging and rewarding career that can be pursued at any stage of life, whether you are in college trying to figure out your career path or looking to switch from another field. There is no “right” time to pursue it. 

Helping people manage their mental health issues or get through mental health crises is a worthy goal, and there is always room for more caring therapists. While the road to becoming a therapist may appear to be long, it is crucial to keep in mind that there are various routes to choose. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in any field, you can apply for a master’s programme 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. programmes include a master’s degree in the middle. People who only have a bachelor’s degree or who can only realistically get a bachelor’s degree have possibilities as well. Certain counselling roles can still be filled without obtaining a master’s degree. Some people like working as counsellors, while others use their counselling experience to help them pursue further education and certification as therapists.

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Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.