How Much Does a Therapist Make Per Session? A Comprehensive Guide to Therapist Earnings

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on June 20, 2023
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The question of “How much does a therapist make per session?” is essential for professionals and clients.

This article will provide accurate and up-to-date information on the topic, covering average rates, factors affecting earnings, and tips for therapists looking to increase their income.

The Online Mental Health Reviews team is qualified to write about therapist earnings and expenses per session due to our transparent research, including up-to-date industry trends and salary data. We’re committed to helping readers make wise decisions about their mental health.

How Much Do Therapists Get Paid Per Year

Keep in mind that these figures are national averages and may vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and specialization.

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): The BLS reports that the median annual wage for mental health counselors, including online counselors, was ~$60,000 in May 2021.
  2. Indeed: According to Indeed, the average annual salary for mental health therapists is around $69,000.
  3. Salary.com: Salary.com reports that the median annual salary for Licensed Professional Counselors (LCPC) is approximately $71,000.
  4. Glassdoor: Glassdoor indicates that the average salary for mental health therapists is approximately $64,000 per year.
  5. Zippia: According to Zippia, the average annual salary for mental health therapists is around $51,000.
  6. Payscale: Payscale reports that licensed mental health counselors earn an average yearly salary of around $54,000.

Based on the average of these reported salary figures from 6 authority data aggregate websites:

Therapists make $61,500 per year on average.

How Much Does A Therapist Make Per Hour

Based on the $61,500 average annual therapist pay, we can extrapolate how much a therapist makes per session.

Our data:

  • ~ $61,500 annual pay
  • ~ 40 hours per week
  • ~ 50 weeks per year

Based on this data:

Therapists make $30.75 per hour on average.

Number of Weeks Worked – Range: 46 to 50 Weeks per Year

Therapists typically work 46 to 50 weeks per year, according to Zencare.co. This range includes vacation and other time off, as well as holidays. The exact number of weeks worked will vary depending on the therapist’s circumstances.

If you change the above info to 46 weeks per year, the average therapist makes $33 per hour annually.

How Much Does A Therapist Make Per Session

$30.75 per hour does not reflect earnings per session, however.

For example, assuming at least 1 hour of paperwork, meetings, and other activities for every session is standard.

In our experience, often, it’s 2-3 hours of paperwork per 1-hour therapy session.

Below you can see several results based on how many session hours per week:

  • 1 to 1: 1 therapy session and 1 hour of paperwork = $61.50 per session
  • 1 to 2: 1 therapy session and 2 hours of paperwork = $93.00 per session

Additionally, online therapy platforms often use 30-minute therapy sessions. In this case:

  • .5 to 1: 30 min therapy session and 1 hour of paperwork = $31.00 per session
  • .5 to 2: 30 min therapy session and 2 hours of paperwork = $61.50 per session

Overall, therapists make, per session, on average, approximately:

  • $31 per session if the 30-minute session
  • $61.50 per session if a 60-minute session

Challenges Faced by Therapists

  1. Insurance Coverage: Many therapists struggle with navigating the complexities of insurance billing and reimbursement.
  2. Session Duration: Balancing session length with the need for adequate treatment can be challenging.
  3. Patient Demographics: Therapists must adapt their approach to cater to diverse populations with unique needs.

How Much Do Private Practice Therapists Make?

Private practice therapists can make anywhere from $75 to $450 per session, depending on client hours, the type of therapy, and the region.

Types of Therapists and Their Respective Rates

  • Psychologists: These professionals usually hold a doctoral degree and charge around $100-$200 per session.
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW): LCSWs generally have a master’s degree and charge between $75-$150 per session.
  • Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT): MFTs specialize in relationship issues and charge around $75-$200 per session.

Modes of Payment and Session Duration

Most therapists accept various payment methods, including cash, check, and credit cards. Some also offer sliding scale fees based on a client’s income. The average duration of a therapy session is 45-60 minutes.

However, online therapy platforms often use 30-minute therapy sessions.

Factors Influencing a Therapist’s Income

  1. Location: Therapists practicing in urban areas tend to charge higher rates due to the increased cost of living and higher demand for services.
  2. Experience: More experienced therapists typically command higher fees.
  3. Specialty: Certain specialties, such as marriage and family therapists or addiction counselors, may have higher earning potential. Doctors are in demand for this reason as well.

Demand for Primetime Slots

Demand for primetime slots is essential in determining how much a therapist makes per session.

Primetime slots are the most sought-after times of day when clients are looking to book appointments with therapists.

These times usually include weekday evenings and weekends, as well as holidays.

Therapists with prime time slots available can charge higher rates for fewer clients than those without due to the increased demand for their services.

Tips for Budding Therapists to Improve Expertise and Increase Income

  1. Pursue continuing education opportunities to stay current and enhance your skills.
  2. Network with other professionals to gain referrals and increase your client base.
  3. Consider specializing in a high-demand area, such as addiction counseling or trauma therapy.
  4. Offer flexible payment options and sliding scale fees to attract a broader range of clients.

Job Growth for Therapists

Therapists are in high demand across the United States, and job growth is expected to remain strong in the coming years.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of therapists is projected to grow 22 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

This growth is driven by increasing demand for mental health services and a growing elderly population requiring physical therapy services.

Active vs. Passive Income in Therapy Practice

Therapists have the potential to make a good living, but understanding the difference between active and passive income is critical to making the most of your practice.

  1. Active income is earned through direct services provided to clients, such as individual counseling sessions or group therapy.
  2. Passive income is generated from sources other than direct client services, such as speaking engagements, writing books, or providing online courses.

Passive income can be a great way for therapists to supplement their active income and increase their overall earnings potential. It can also provide opportunities for growth and professional development outside of direct client services.

Examples of passive income include writing books or articles related to therapy topics, offering online courses or webinars about mental health issues, and speaking at conferences or events related to therapy practices.

Understanding the difference between active and passive income can help you determine how you maximize your earning potential as a therapist while still providing quality care for your clients.

Passive Income Ideas

Here are some ideas for additional sources of income for therapists:

  1. Assessments, testing, evaluations, and reports
  2. Online courses
  3. Consulting services
  4. Writing books or e-books
  5. Selling products related to therapy
  6. Offering webinars or virtual workshops
  7. Creating online programs or membership sites
  8. Coaching services
  9. Affiliate marketing
  10. Investing in stocks and bonds

Retirement, Health Insurance, Sick Days, etc.

  • Therapists typically receive benefits such as retirement, health insurance, sick days, and other perks.
  • Retirement plans may include 401(k)s or 403(b)s with employer-matching contributions.
  • Health insurance coverage is often provided to therapists by their employers, including medical, vision, and dental plans.
  • Sick days are usually provided for time off due to illness or injury.
  • Other benefits may include paid holidays, vacation time, continuing education stipends, and professional liability insurance coverage.

How Much Does A Therapist Make Per Session Conclusion

Understanding how much a therapist makes per session is crucial for those considering a career in the field and for clients seeking affordable mental health services. By staying informed about industry trends, such as BetterHelp therapist pay, and best business practices, therapists can optimize their earnings while providing quality care to their clients.

For further reading, please check out: private practice pay, therapist pay per session, approach, online therapy pay, online counselor earnings, Amwell therapist pay, and psychologist versus therapist.

We encourage our readers to leave a comment below with any questions about therapist earnings or career questions!

Also, tell us what mental health software to review next on Online Mental Health Reviews. If you have stories about using a particular product or know of a discount code, please share so everyone may benefit!

Footnotes

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
  2. American Psychological Association – How Much Does Therapy Cost?
  3. National Association of Social Workers – Private Practice Fee Survey
  4. Psychology Today – How Much Does Therapy Cost?

If You’re In An Emergency

In a crisis, waiting for an online therapy session may not be a safe option. If immediate assistance is required, dial 911, especially if there are intentions to harm oneself or others. For those considering self-harm, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline can be reached by calling 988, providing help 24/7. Additionally, the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can be contacted at 800-662-HELP (4357) for free, confidential assistance in finding treatment and information related to mental health or substance abuse issues, available 24/7, 365 days a year.

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