Becoming a Clinical Therapist

Clinical Therapists help patients who are suffering from mental and emotional problems, such as stress, substance abuse, family or social issues etc. They counsel the patients of all age groups and administer various evaluative techniques such as psychological tests, personality inventories, and intelligence quotient tests in order to detect indications of abnormal physical or mental behavior of the patients.

Accordingly, they develop therapeutic treatment plan such as behavior modification and stress management therapy, in medical settings. If necessary, they consult with medical doctors or other specialists for further treatment. Some of these professionals may conduct research in treatment and develop evaluative studies of therapy and therapy outcome.

Clinical Therapists are employed in varieties of environments such as hospitals, clinics, mental health facilities, social work or outreach agencies, educational institutions, research facilities. They often work either in an individual or group practice.

Educational Requirements

To become a Clinical Therapist, the aspiring candidates need to earn a master’s degree in psychology, social work, professional counseling or in a related discipline, which usually takes two years to complete. However, the candidates with practical experience have an advantage for better job prospects in this field.

Common coursework in the required master’s program includes the foundations of mental health, dynamics of marriage and family therapy, theories and techniques of group and individual therapy, developmental psychology, substance abuse therapy etc.


Since a Clinical Therapist needs to be licensed in most of the states in the USA, the candidates need two years or 3,000 hours of experience, a master’s degree in related field and to pass the necessary examination to earn a required license.

Skill Set

Clinical Therapists possess various skills such as empathy towards patients, service orientation, actively listening abilities, effectively counseling skills, high level understanding the needs of a client, problem solving and decision making capacities, excellent written and verbal communication skills, competence in computer operations etc.

Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for a Clinical Therapist remains excellent across the USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 29% during 2012-2022. The average annual salary of a Clinical Therapist was $ 46,670 in 2012.

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