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Although money wasn’t the driving motivation behind your pursuit, paying bills is a reality nobody can avoid. So there’s a lingering question.
How much does a therapist make? And beyond that, how can therapists supplement their salary to make more money?
This post details the salary range of various therapists (including private practice therapists)—and provides four crucial tips to help you start making more money down below.
Therapist Yearly Salaries
*All salaries below are taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; they display median pay and reflect the year 2017 unless otherwise stated.
But How Much do Private Practice Therapists Make?
Based on user-submitted data Indeed.com reports that Licensed Professional Counselors earn, on average, $61,232 annually.
But averages only say so much.
If we return to the BLS page for mental health counselors we can see that salaries differ quite depending on state, sector, and years of experience.
Top Paying States for Mental Health Counselors (Mean Wage)
States with the Highest Employment for Therapist: (Mean Wage)
That applies particularly to rural communities that have so far been underserved by the profession.
Wages by Sector for Mental Health Counselors (Mean Wage)
Years of Experience
Job Growth for Therapists
Marriage and Family therapists are expected to grow by 23% between 2016 to 2026.
Meanwhile, Psychologists are growing 14% year-over-year, while School and Career counselors are growing by 13%.
Average job growth from one year to the next (that includes all occupations) is only 5 to 9%.
But Many Variables Affect A Therapist’s Income
Working Part-time vs. Full-time.
Many private practitioners work flexible hours at hourly rates.
Full-time work will typically yield a higher income: promising a workweek between 32 to 40 hours on average. Whereas part-time work falls under 32 hours which on paper has a lower average income; although technique and efficiencies can make up for less hours.
Working at various places.
When therapists are new to private practice, they often supplement their income by working for agencies or schools, while maintaining a part-time position in their private practices.
Some of the “high end/boutique” therapists I work with charge $250/hr. I have one therapist client who charges $450/hr for phone conferences. Plenty of others charge $100-120/hr while seeing between 23-28 clients/week.
Marketing strategy and website.
Having a strong marketing strategy often results in more clients and higher wages. Supplemental online courses and webinars. These allow therapists to continually supplement their income.
A Final Note on Therapist Salaries
Remember, there is no set-in-stone salary. Some therapists make $30,000 a year while others fill their bank account thanks to a six-figure salary. The variations can be extreme. And are dictated by whether or not a therapist works for the government, a hospital or other healthcare facility, or has their own private practice.
How much you make isn’t dependent on data, but on you.
There is a Wide Range of Earning Potential for Therapists
To increase your income you need to begin learning how to successfully market yourself.
By developing a solid marketing strategy—or by hiring a reputable, effective marketing company such as Counseling Wise—your income and practice can grow exponentially.
However, that doesn’t mean you can push a button and magically everything will come together. If you’ve been maintaining paper records in your practice, consider the following tips, for they can save you a lot of time and headaches before you make the change.
Having a clear understanding of your current process will help you decide which private practice EHR platform will best meet your needs.
In my experience, therapists who are open to adjusting their current workflows to improve efficiency are happier with their administrative work compared to those who decide to do things the way they’ve always been done. So, let go, try something new! Reach out for support and enjoy all the benefits technology has to offer.
I embarked on the task with a deadly combination of enthusiasm and vigor. Meet and greet providers. Read books. Study the research. Construct surveys and implement ways to gather data. Work from sun up until sun down. Then repeat the next day.
My office looked like that of a deranged professor: books and papers everywhere. My calendar was filled with meetings and appointments. The harder I worked I realized how little I knew. Life was becoming increasingly miserable. It just wasn’t fun. And it didn’t seem very productive.
My Time Management ‘AHA’ Moment
So I dumped almost everything in my office into the dumpster, waited for the phone to ring (it didn’t), and decided to refocus on figuring out what was truly important to work on in my new job. The process led to an enduring battle to simplify complicated situations, work efficiently, and write clearly.
Time Management Principles That (I Found) Work
A Time Management Must: Delegation
But even more important, I learned to delegate to technology. Way back in the dark ages of clinical psychology in the 1970s, insurance forms were filled out by hand or using a typewriter. I began using computer based practice management systems in the 1990s with the advent of the PC. A website was established in 1997. The fax machine went out the back door with the development of web-based fax shortly thereafter. Thousands of patient records were scanned using a Fujitsu ScanSnap a decade ago and stored in the cloud, as well as backed up with physical media. Online appointment scheduling was added to the website in 2006. A system was then added to convert voicemail to text emails. The computer based practice management system was dumped in favor of web-based practice management in 2009. Online intake forms were added a few years ago to the website that “bounce back” to the practice. Our legacy “informational” website was converted to a marketing based website in 2014.
The result of delegating to technology? My office is paperless. Part-time help is occasionally employed. Clients schedule and complete forms online. Practice management tasks take a few hours a week. Records can be accessed anywhere.
Simplifying Life to Manage Our Time
Famed management guru Peter Drucker noted, “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” Perhaps it’s time for you to clear everything out of your office like I did decades ago, and make the limited time you have work for you.
You can learn more about James and his private practice at www.davidsoncounselinggroup.com