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The Top 8 Therapist Directories (Pros, Cons, and Costs to List Your Practice)

How Much Does a Therapist Make?

Whether you’re a couples therapist, family counselor, or a psychotherapist specializing in a unique niche you likely entered your career with one primary goal in mind: to help people improve their lives.

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

  • Mental Health Counselors: $42,840 per year // 20.59 per hour
  • Substance Abuse Counselor: $43,300 per year // $20.82 per hour
  • Genetic Counselors: $77,480 per year // $37.25 per hour
  • School and Career Counselors: $55,410 per year // $26.64 per hour
  • Rehabilitation Counselors: $36,860 per year // $16.76 per hour
  • Marriage & Family Therapists: $48,790 per year // 23.45 per hour
  • Recreational Therapist: $47,680 per year // 22.92 per hour
  • Psychologists: $77,030 per year // $37.03 per hour

*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?

Salaries for Private Practice therapists vary wildly. Some articles report an average salary of $150,000 per year, while others claim that a licensed professional counselor working in Cambridge, MA, grosses $39,778 annually. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

Based on user-submitted data 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)

Map from the Bureau of Labor Statistics detailing the annual mean wage of mental health counselors and therapists by state
t’s interesting to note that mental health counselors are currently paid the most in states outside of major metropolitan belts. This is likely due to fierce competition in populous communities. The laws of economics hold even for therapists.
  • Alaska: $65,520
  • Utah: $61,080
  • Wyoming: $58,020
  • Oregon: $55,670
  • New Jersey: $53,410

States with the Highest Employment for Therapist: (Mean Wage)

Bureau of Labor Statistics map detailing employment of mental health counselors and therapists by state from May 2016
As expected the highest rates of employment is in states that have high populations, with California being the most populous state in the union. The other states below
  • California: $47,070
  • Pennsylvania: $43,480
  • Virginia: $48,310
  • New York: $42,070
  • Massachusetts: $45,030
The BLS predicts that demand for mental health counselors will continue to increase in the coming years.

That applies particularly to rural communities that have so far been underserved by the profession.

Wages by Sector for Mental Health Counselors (Mean Wage)

The sector for which you perform your duties is fairly large determinate of your average salary, although it does not have the final say or stop you from earning more—or less for that matter.
  • Government: $50,600
  • Hospitals; state, local, and private: 47,000
  • Individual and family services: 42,190
  • Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers: 42,140
  • Residential mental health and substance abuse facilities: 37,210

Years of Experience

As with any occupation the more experience you bring to the table the higher your salary. For private practice therapists, this often means honing your business instincts along with developing yourself as a therapist.
  • 0-5 years: $49,000
  • 5-10 years: $58,000
  • 10-20 years: $67,000
  • 20+ years: $73,000

Job Growth for Therapists

It’s interesting to note that the BLS predicts extraordinary job growth for many types of 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

Something to keep in mind is that while statistics provide insights into the general picture of therapists’ income, there are many variables at play for any particular individual.

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.

Hourly fees.

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

Before jumping to conclusions, it’s important to consider the elements that factor into the above figures. With any statistical data, these numbers are meaningless unless you understand what elements generate the sum.

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

How much does a therapist make
The question, “How much does a therapist make?” is, therefore, more complicated than it appears on the surface. The meaningful question should be: “How much money can I make moving forward?”

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.

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Choosing a Domain Name for Your Private Practice

Choosing a Domain Name for Your Private Practice

Let’s face it — 99 percent of people check out a therapist online before hiring them. So, what is one way you can set yourself apart from other therapists in the area, while also showing up higher in the search traffic?

It can start with your domain name!

When creating a new website, or updating your current website, one of the major things you need to consider is your domain name, or URL ( But how do you choose a domain name that will get more clients?

Today, we are covering everything you need to know about domain names, including:
  • Why your domain name is important.
  • How to choose a good domain name.
  • Where to purchase a domain name.

Why is My Domain Name Important?

Unlike website design choices, your domain name will impact your site’s success in nearly every area — including SEO, click-through rate, branding, client conversions, social media traffic, and even offline advertising.

Whether clients are finding you through organic searches, paid ads, directory listings, or social media, your domain name is the online door to your private practice. Make sure the door is clearly marked.

Taking time to make a strategic, informed URL choice now can increase traffic and give you a leg up on your competition.

Two Common Approaches to Domain Names

Before we get into specifics for choosing a domain name, you may have questions about using your personal name, practice name, or a more generic domain name.

Using a Personal Brand

A common practice is for therapists to use their name as the URL ( or their practice name (

Using your name or practice name can feel more personal, and personal brands tend to drive higher conversion rates. If you’re planning on using your name for SEO benefit, however, you may want to reconsider.

With a website full of great content driving SEO, there is little or no added benefit in using your name in the URL. People who are searching for you or your practice by name will still be able to type it into Google and find you that way.

There are a few potential drawbacks to using a personal brand as your domain. It’s easy to become so focused on how your URL looks that you forget to consider how it sounds to the reader when processed or read out loud.

Humans have a cognitive bias toward things we can easily think about and say. If site visitors have a hard time processing or pronouncing your URL, they’re less likely to remember it (or remember it positively).

For example, if your first name ends with the same letter your last name starts with, your URL will be harder to read: or Similarly, if your name is particularly long or difficult to spell, a shortened variation or practice name could be easier for referrals to find.

Going with your or your practice’s name is never a bad idea, though. And, you can always change to a new domain from your old site if you wish to scale to a group practice. The process is simple, inexpensive—it can be done for less than $150 in many cases—and can be done without affecting your traffic numbers.

Using Keywords

Adding keywords to your domain name is a sure-fire way to increase SEO rankings and communicate the services you offer to your potential clients.

Including keywords in the domain can give websites a significant advantage in search results. While this SEO force isn’t as strong today, it still packs a punch. Not only is your domain name one of Google’s ranking factors, but it will become part of every page name on your website. By including the right keywords, you send a very clear message to Google and your audience about what your website provides.

The average client searching for “counseling in Denver” is much more likely to click on a link that says ‘counselingdenver’ than one that says ‘haveagreatlifecounseling’ – even though the latter might seem more personal.

More generic, keyword-focused URLs also drive higher click-through rates in paid advertising, according to a recent study by Memorable Domains. In a review of a Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, ‘ads featuring a generic domain name with an exact match to the product ( performed significantly better than identical ads featuring an alternative generic ( or non-generic domain (’

How to Choose a Great Domain Name for Your Private Practice

Now that you know a few common approaches therapists and coaches take when choosing a domain name, let’s dive into the details that will make your website shine online.

We recommend including one of the most common related keywords – therapy, counseling, therapist, etc. – plus your city name. Including the city helps drive local search results — making sure your site is seen by more potential clients in the area.
  • Therapy + city name
  • Counseling + city name
  • Therapist + city name
  • Psychotherapy + city name
  • Counselor + city name
  • etc.
If you practice in a small town near a large city, consider where your clients are coming from and how they’re searching.

Searches for a Boulder therapist are far less common than searches for Denver therapist, for example. That doesn’t mean you should ignore your local city – just be strategic.
A quick Google search for “Denver therapist” shows just how important domain name can be in driving search results.
Certainly, a lot of the basic domain names may have been taken before you can think to snag them. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great option.

Domain Naming Tips

Keep it short. Long names are hard to remember, easy to misspell, and may not fit comfortably on business cards and other marketing materials.

Keep it simple. You want your website to be easy to find and leave an impression. A great URL helps you do both.

Don’t get fancy with .org or other endings. Users are familiar and comfortable with .com endings. You’ll want the most common ending for your country (in addition to or instead of .com) if you live outside the U.S.

Try not to use numbers or symbols—these are often read and entered incorrectly.

Include keywords. We covered this earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again. Including heavily searched terms like “therapist” or “counseling” in your URL can give your SEO a boost. This can be a bit trickier if you offer a variety of services, such as therapy and coaching, or psychology and psychiatry.

Where to Purchase a Domain Name

When you are ready to purchase your domain name, there are a few common places to do so. If you are building a new website or signing up with a new webhost, see if they offer a free or discounted domain with your plan.

You can also purchase your domain directly from a ‘domain name registrar’ — basically, a company that manages the reservation of domain names. Depending on the domain you choose, most URLs cost between $10 and $20 per year.
Registrars include:
There you have it! Everything you need to know to choose a domain name for your therapist or coaching website.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, download a copy of this guide to review later!

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