How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree (9 skills)

How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree (9 skills)

If you’ve finished some school, like college, and you’re thinking about How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree, there are some paths you can explore. Keep in mind that being a licensed therapist typically requires a specific degree and training.

Helping people as a therapist can be rewarding! You get to support individuals, couples, and families through tough times or big life changes. It’s like being a guide during emotional or difficult situations.

What’s cool is that being a therapist often pays well compared to many other jobs. Plus, the demand for therapists is growing, so there are good opportunities. The best part is you can start a career in therapy at any age. Many older folks find it super satisfying because you bring a lot of life experience to the table. So, if helping others and making a decent living sounds good, therapy could be a great choice.

Also read: How to Become a Counselor Without a College Degree? (6 Simple Steps)

How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology


How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree (9 skills)

Sure, no problem! If you want to be a therapist without a psychology degree, there are different steps to consider. It depends on what type of therapist you want to be and the rules in the state you want to work in.

Determine Your Therapist Path: Choose if you wish to work as a clinical psychologist, school counselor, marital and family therapist, or another form of therapist.

Research Educational Requirements: Understand the training requirements for the role of therapist you have selected. A master’s degree may be needed for some roles, while a Ph.D. or PsyD may be needed for others.

Choose Your Educational Path: Choose a degree program that will help you achieve your career goals. This could be a doctorate program for more senior positions or a master’s program in counseling.

Complete Required Courses and Training: complete the necessary training and academic requirements for the degree program of your choice.

Gain Practical Experience: Apply your academic knowledge with practical experience by engaging in voluntary work, internships, or training.

Pursue Licensing (if needed): Verify whether acquiring a license is necessary for the treatment vocation you have selected. If yes, complete the licensure procedures, which could involve taking tests and practicing under guidance.

Build a Network: Attend conferences, establish contacts with business leaders, build a useful network, and join relevant associations. [How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree]

If you’re thinking about doing a master’s program after your bachelor’s in psychology, it’s cool to know that many programs don’t insist on a specific bachelor’s degree. But, here’s the thing – some universities might ask you to take extra classes or get certain credentials to catch up on basic psychology ideas. It’s like a little extra step to make sure you’re all set for the program.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Therapist?

Many folks think being a therapist is a super rewarding job, and it is! But to rock it in this field, you need a mix of skills and the right qualifications.

If you want to be a therapist, there are a couple of things to tick off:

Get the Right Education:

You might need a master’s or doctorate in psychology. The type of therapy you want to do decides how much school you need. To be eligible for licensing exams in your chosen state, you need to finish an internship and get a Ph.D. in the specific area of psychology you like. If money is a concern, check out affordable online degrees from well-known American universities.

Get Licensed

Depending on your dream therapy job and the state you want to work in, you might need a license. It’s like your official permission to practice and help people out. [How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree]

Licensing exams are like safety checks to make sure only qualified professionals can provide services, keeping clients and patients safe. Aspiring psychologists need to meet schooling, exam, and experience requirements to get licensed. If you have a master’s in psychology, you can be licensed as a Psychological Associate with a primary-level license.

After getting your PhD in psychology and completing internships, both during and after your doctorate, you can take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Some states might also ask for oral exams and extra jurisprudence exams. T

o show you’re good at certain therapy methods, you can take certification exams. You can get certified in things like psychoanalytic therapy, music therapy, or marriage and family therapy. If you want more info on what’s needed for state certification and licenses for psychologists, check out the APA website.

Also read: How to Become an Actuary without a Degree (7 Steps)

Key Skills Needed to Become a Therapist

Here are the 9 key skills :

  1. Good Listening: Being great at hearing what people have to say. It’s like giving them your full attention.
  2.  Empathy: Understanding how others feel. It’s like putting yourself in their shoes.
  3.  Communication Skills: Talking in a way that’s clear and easy to understand. You want people to feel comfortable sharing with you
  4.  Patience: Taking your time and not rushing. Everyone goes at their own pace.
  5.  Open-mindedness: Being accepting of different ideas and perspectives. People are unique, and that’s cool!
  6.  Boundaries: Knowing the line between professional and personal. It’s important to keep things balanced.
  7.  Problem-Solving: Figuring out ways to help people overcome challenges. Like being a puzzle solver.
  8.  Resilience: Bouncing back from tough moments. It’s a strength that helps you keep going.
  9.  Caring Nature: Having a genuine concern for others’ well-being. You want to see them do well. [How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree]

4 Steps- How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree

If you’re a psychology bachelor’s degree holder, you have a lot of interesting options! Among them is training to be a therapist. However, you can still work in the medical sector without a degree in psychology. With just a high school diploma or a few college credits, you might be hired by some organizations for entry-level positions.

And you know what? It is still possible to work as a therapist if you hold a degree in psychology! Consequently, you have plenty of options based on your interests and level of schooling.

Our research team put together some helpful info to get you started on the journey to becoming a therapist, even if you don’t have a psychology degree. We cover things like what you need beforehand, certifications, what the job involves, how much you might earn, and the job outlook. If you’re considering going back to school, we also have details about Florida school psychology programs and what you usually need to qualify.

1. Look for jobs related to being a therapist that doesn’t need a psychology degree

You don’t always need a psychology degree to be a therapist. Many jobs, like social workers, community health workers, and mental health counselors, don’t insist on having a psychology degree. So, you have different options to help and support people without necessarily having a specific psychology background. [How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree]

Mental Health Counselor

Annual Salary: $48,520

Employment Outlook: 22% (between 2021 and 2031)

Mental health counselors examine their clients’ psychological and physical well-being and determine whether or not they would benefit from therapy. Following investigation, they develop treatment plans that are both realistic and unique. These plans outline the techniques they’ll employ as well as the patient’s particular objectives. A mental health counselor’s other responsibility is to monitor their clients’ growth and well-being.

Community Health Worker

Annual Salary: $48,860

Employment Outlook: 12%

Community health professionals are like health buddies for everyone. They share info about health and healthcare services with people. They’re also trained to do simple healthcare tasks like checking important signs, giving first aid, and offering basic advice and support.

To understand what the community needs, they write down information about everyone. And sometimes, they plan events to reach out and help with whatever the community needs.

Social Worker

Annual Salary: $50,390

Employment Outlook: 9%

If you’re thinking about working as a counselor but don’t have a psychology degree, you can also consider becoming a social worker. These amazing folks provide support in social, community, and therapeutic ways. They often help unemployed people, facing housing issues, or dealing with disabilities. Social workers can even get involved in advocating for people and doing research. You might find them working in places like schools, hospitals, or mental health institutes

2. Choose the job you like, and find out what education and training you need.

Becoming a therapist is like finding your perfect match in a career. First, explore different therapy-related jobs and make a list of your favorites. You can narrow down your choices by considering things like your skills, interests, and the kind of work you’d enjoy. [How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree]

Education and training are super important for a job in mental healthcare. Check out what education is needed for the job you want. For some jobs, like community health workers, you might get in with just a high school diploma or some college courses.

Getting a job as a counselor for substance misuse and behavioral problems can vary in terms of education. Some employers might ask for a master’s degree, while others might be cool with just a high school diploma. It depends on the company.

To make sure you’re a good fit, check what the job and the employer are looking for. Look into the requirements for the job you want so you can make sure you have what it takes

3. Enroll in the required educational and training programs.

If you’re wondering how to become a therapist without a degree, there are some cool options. If the job you want is okay with high school graduates and you’ve got your diploma, you can go ahead and apply. Once you’re working, you’ll start gaining professional experience in that field. But, if you want to boost your chances of getting hired, going for a graduate degree could be a great idea.

If your college degree is not in psychology, counseling, or social work, no worries! You can still aim for a certificate in one of these fields. Also, in healthcare jobs, having a background in natural sciences like biology can be helpful. So, even if your degree is in something else, you can still find ways to get into these fields and learn what you need.

4. Take the necessary licensure and certification exams.

The final step to becoming a licensed professional counselor or any mental health pro is passing important exams given by the government. Getting this license means you can work legally in your chosen state. When you pass the counseling exam, you might be called things like Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

If you want to make sure your skills and knowledge are really good, you can take certification exams like the National Certified Counselor (NCC) Program by the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. (NBCC). But here’s the thing: passing these exams means you have to meet some tough requirements for training and work experience. [How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree]

To get licensed for a graduate degree, you usually need 60 semester hours, according to the American Counseling Association. But, if you’re going for accreditation by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), they prefer at least 48 semester hours or 72 quarter hours.

To get licensed in many states and certified by organizations, you must finish your studies at schools recognized by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). NBCC also gives a thumbs up to schools with regional or national accreditation.

How to Become a Licensed Therapist

Certified psychologists are super skilled at providing different therapy methods to individuals, couples, and families. Alongside them, there are certified clinical psychologists and licensed social workers who also do awesome work. In the US, about 181,600 psychologists were working in 2021.

But, becoming a licensed psychologist and getting certified in various therapy techniques might mean more schooling, training, and lots of experience.

Why Pursue a Profession Associated with Therapy

To provide mental health services to those in need.

In 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, about 20% of grown-up Americans got help for their mental health. Some took prescription drugs, and others went for counseling or therapy. In 2022, around 50 million Americans, almost 20% of adults, still dealt with mental health issues.

Sadly, not everyone can easily get the mental health support they need. Money and technology issues make it hard, especially for those with less money. Even if you’re fortunate enough to afford it, there might be long waiting lists or not enough professionals available. [How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree]

Encouraging more people to become mental health professionals could help fix this problem. We need more folks to choose careers in mental healthcare, so more people can get the support they need.

To work in a meaningful and lucrative industry.

Helping people with mental health issues feel better through counseling or therapy can be really fulfilling. Many people struggle with their mental health, and being qualified and licensed to provide support is a meaningful way to make a difference. Plus, there’s a big demand for mental health experts, which can positively impact your job opportunities and income potential.

The better your qualifications, the more doors open for you. Those with a master’s degree or higher, working full-time in 2020, made a median annual salary of $69,700. That’s about 17% more than those with a bachelor’s degree, earning $59,600. Compared to workers with just a high school education making $36,600, those with a bachelor’s degree earned 63% more.

In 2020, a study by Hershbein, Kearney, and Pardue at the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research found some interesting things. They looked at how getting more education beyond high school affects income and inequality for people aged 25 to 54.

Here’s what they discovered: If you don’t have a college degree and go back to school, your average income can go up. Also, there might be fewer people without jobs, and poverty levels might drop. [How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree]

Hershbein, Kearney, and Pardue said, “We used two ways to do our study. One way is to look at how much money people with college degrees make and randomly assign that status to others. The other way gave a salary boost to people whose college status was randomly changed. Both ways showed that when adults get more education, their average salary goes up. And most of the benefit goes to those who earn less

Pursue Your Dream to Become a Therapist

You’ve got lots of options if you’re thinking about a career in therapy or a related field. For counseling, you could be a community health worker, a social worker, or a licensed professional counselor (LPC). If you’re up for more, you could become a psychologist with the ability to use various therapy methods. Or, you might want to go the master’s degree route in educational psychology.

Counseling & Therapy Careers

A degree in therapy can unlock various counseling and therapy prospects for you, as indicated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

CareersAnnual Median Salaries
Social and Community Service Managers$69,600
School and Career Counselors and Advisors$58,120
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists$55,690
Social Workers$51,760
Marriage and Family Therapists$51,340
Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers$48,140
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors$47,660
Rehabilitation Counselors$37,530

Having a degree in therapy opens up opportunities to work in various fields, including education, nonprofits, government organizations, hospitals, prisons, and private clinics. Some of these roles may require additional training, education, or work experience.

Difference between a Psychologist and vs. Therapist?

How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree

Therapists and psychologists share some responsibilities, but the key differences depend on where they work.


  • Often focus on research or counseling.
  •  May or may not be licensed.
  •  Usually need a PhD for clinical counseling.


  • Typically concentrate on counseling.
  •  May or may not be licensed.
  •  Can have a master’s or doctorate.

Sometimes, people use “therapist” and “psychologist” interchangeably. [How to Become a Therapist without a Psychology Degree]

Difference between a Counselor and vs. Therapist?

The terms “counselor” and “therapist” are frequently used interchangeably. While their roles can overlap, there are some distinctions.


  • Often offer shorter-term services.
  •  State-specific licensing requirements may apply.


  • Services may extend over a longer period.
  •  State-specific licensing requirements may apply.

Therapists are typically trained in psychotherapy, a distinction from counselors.

Degree required to become a therapist

To become a licensed therapist or psychologist, it’s generally necessary to have a master’s degree in psychology. While specific requirements can vary by state, having a Ph.D. in psychology is widely recognized as a prerequisite for licensure.

If you don’t have a PhD or PsyD, you might still be eligible for positions like organizational psychologist or school therapist. These roles may require a master’s degree in psychology.

Should I Become a Therapist?

When thinking about a career in therapy, consider these questions:

  1. Do you enjoy working with individuals, families, and groups?
  2.  Are you patient and empathetic, able to understand different viewpoints and experiences?
  3.  Are you willing to invest several years in developing the skills needed for therapy work?
  4.  Do you have strong communication skills?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, becoming a therapist could be an excellent career choice for you. If your answer was no, you might w


Thinking about being a therapist without a psychology degree is pretty cool! Even if you’ve done some college, you can still have an awesome career in therapy. Sure, there’s some learning and training involved, but it’s totally doable and comes with some great perks.

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