Mental Health Therapist Salary
Median pay for Mental Health Therapists in the United States is around $42K per year. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is the specific employer, followed by the particular city and years of experience. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Mental Health Therapists. Women make up the vast majority of Mental Health Therapists (82 percent) who answered the questionnaire. A fair number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and more than half collect dental insurance. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
Job Description for Mental Health Therapist
The descriptor "mental health therapist" includes a variety of professionals that conduct therapy as part of their daily responsibilities, such as clinical psychologists, marriage and family therapists, school therapists, social workers, and general therapists. Therapy includes the use of psychological methods - such as cognitive behavioral therapy and psychoanalysis - to help patients overcome behavioral and psychological obstacles and problems. Techniques used by mental health therapist include cognitive-behavioral therapy, word association, and a wide variety of psychological tests, among many others. A mental health therapist can work in their own practice or for a particular company or organization. As part of a company, the therapist may focus on employees' problems and how they affect productivity and job performance.Read More...
Depending on the type of therapy performed, different educational requirements and credentials are necessary. Academic qualifications range from master’s degrees for social workers and marriage and family therapists to doctoral degrees for clinical psychologists. A therapist must be able to listen to an individual, help diagnose or identify issues, and use a variety of techniques to help the patient work through those issues.
Mental Health Therapist Tasks
- Monitor for and intervene in crisis situations.
- Document and report on interactions, concerns, treatment, and attendance.
- Interact with clients, provide therapy, and suggest specific services.
- Write progress notes and coordinate with other care providers.
Common Career Paths for Mental Health Therapist
Mental Health Therapists who go on to become Clinical Directors may see their salaries climb quite a bit. Median pay for Clinical Directors is $72K annually. Mental Health Therapists typically move into roles as Licensed Clinical Social Workers or Clinical Supervisors, and those positions pay $9K more and $10K more, respectively.
Mental Health Therapist Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Mental Health Therapist
Mental Health Therapists fill the offices of leading firms Community Mental Health Center, Universal Health Services, Inc., Catholic Charities, Centerstone, and Pacific Clinics. Heading up the field in terms of compensation, Pacific Clinics offers the most; Mental Health Therapists earn $49K on average there. Mental Health Therapists can also look forward to large paychecks at Behavioral Health Group ($43K), Catholic Charities ($41K), and Universal Health Services, Inc. ($40K).
Others at the bottom of the scale for this job include Valley Cities Counseling and Consultation at $36K, Adult and Child Mental Health at $37K, and Community Mental Health Center, where $37K is the norm.
Popular Skills for Mental Health Therapist
Mental Health Therapists report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Clinical Supervision, Psychotherapy, and Clinical Psychology are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 27 percent, 21 percent, and 6 percent, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Crisis intervention, Individual therapy, and Assessment. For most people, competency in Case Management indicates knowledge of Clinical Psychology.
Pay by Experience Level for Mental Health Therapist
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience does not seem to be a strong driver of pay increase in this role. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $41K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $46K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Mental Health Therapists make a median salary of $50K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $53K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.
Pay Difference by Location
For those looking to make money, Mental Health Therapists in Los Angeles enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 17 percent above the national average. Mental Health Therapists will also find cushy salaries in New York (+14 percent), Tampa (+7 percent), Portland (+7 percent), and Phoenix (+5 percent). Pittsburgh is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 17 percent. St. Louis and Chicago are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 7 percent lower and 3 percent lower, respectively.