Online therapist jobs have been put in the spotlight this year, thanks to Covid19 and lockdowns all over the world. People who have traditionally been visiting their therapists now have to do it completely online via Zoom or other video-chat tools. But did you know that online therapists have been helping people with their personal issues for years? (Yes, I even discussed online counseling a few years back.)
- The location wouldn’t be a problem anymore, and you would be able to accept patients from all over the country or even from other parts of the world.
- Studies have shown that therapists spend about 10% less time with online sessions, which means they can accommodate more patients
- The cost of online therapy is a lot lesser than face-to-face sessions
- Online therapies encourage more patients to seek help because of the lower fees, the anonymity of therapy sites, and even the ease of scheduling sessions
- Receive fewer session cancelations because there will be no more commuting to and from the clinic
If you’ve already been practicing as a therapist, here’s how you can bring your profession online…
How to Become an Online Therapist
As you might have guessed, the qualifications you need to become an online therapist are mostly the same as those required for a career as an in-person therapist. These include:
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- A four-year bachelor’s degree in any relevant field, such as psychology
- Master’s degree in social work or counseling
- 300 to 600 hours of internship and practicum
- License from the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination
- Ph.D. in a specification
- Further counseling continuing education
As an online therapist, you must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Because you’ll be relying on technology to “meet” patients, you’ll need a stable internet connection, and a comprehensive phone plan you could use for calling or texting patients. While not required, a practice management software with built-in (EHR) electronic health records (such as TheraNest or Simple Practice) could help organize your virtual practice.
7 Places to Find Online Therapist Jobs
Joining online therapy platforms is good for therapists who are just starting to make a name for themselves.
The downside to using such platforms is that online therapists make less money per hour and they have very little or no control over which client to work with.
However, by joining one or all of the platforms (below), therapists can take advantage of secure and HIPAA-compliant technology without huge investments, get marketing-done-for-them (which means they no longer have to search for clients), and benefit from the platform’s customer service helpdesk.
If you’re checking out online therapy jobs, there’s a big chance you’ve already discovered BetterHelp.
BetterHelp is one of the biggest therapy platforms around. It is known for having live sessions and call sessions available for patients.
- BetterHelp Therapist Salary: $26 to $30 per hour. BetterHelp claims that depending on a therapist’s caseload and time commitment, one can earn as much as $8500/month.
- Pros of BetterHelp: You know BetterHelp spends a lot of time with marketing since it is one of the first results on Google when you look for online therapy. This means a lot for a therapist who has no idea how to find patients online.
- Cons of BetterHelp: Therapists are matched to patients via a questionnaire would-be patients take when joining BetterHelp, which may feel impersonal for both the patient and therapist but works for BetterHelp. Pay is the best out of all online therapy jobs, but it is still significantly less compared to traditional therapy fees.
TalkSpace is another popular therapy site that I featured in the past and still stands today. That much shows how stable the company is – and with over 1 million patients, there’s plenty of people to help.
- TalkSpace Therapist Salary: $20 to $25 per hour. Pay depends on which plan the patient chose (quarterly payments means lesser pay for therapists).
- Pros of TalkSpace: TalkSpace employs real people to match patients with therapists, which means the process instantly becomes more personal and customized. Like BetterHelp, there are live sessions available and therapists could communicate to patients via video-message, text or voice calls. Customer service of TalkSpace is impressively rated high by clients.
- Cons of TalkSpace: Therapists are required to respond to patient messages within a certain time, which means there might be pressure to reply just for the sake of replying (instead of actually digging in deep into the patient’s issue). And because the patient-therapist matching is done manually, it could also take time for TalkSpace to bring patients to you.
3. 7 Cups (formerly called 7 Cups of Tea)
7 Cups has been helping teenagers and adults with their personal problems since July 2013. The notable difference between 7 Cups and similar providers is that this company welcomes “listeners” or volunteers who help out and literally “listen” to people without charge, which means clients are not required to get a paid plan to “be heard.”
However, 7 Cups also offer online therapist jobs for certified therapists willing to help paid clients.
- 7 Cups Therapist Salary: 7 Cups pay therapists per client per month. If a client is paying for $150/month plan, therapists get to take home about $90 of this fee.
- Pros of 7 Cups: Therapists assist one-on-one, pairs or groups of patients ages 13 years old and up. There is a 7 Cups app and chat room assigned to each patient, which makes it easy to handle multiple clients at a time.
- Cons of 7 Cups: The monthly “retention fee” you earn means you’d have to respond to that particular client at least twice a day, Mondays through Fridays. While this is perfectly okay, what many therapists here complain about is being forced to “see” patients who are under the trial period and continue to assist them throughout the month pro-bono when they cancel.
If you’re looking for online therapist jobs that focus on relationships, Regain is the right platform for you.
Therapists and patients are allowed to choose which method of communication they prefer – video calls, chat, text, and so on.
- Regain Therapist Salary: C0uples pay between $160 and $280 per month for unlimited sessions, which means therapists get about 50% to 75% of the fee.
- Pros of Regain: Therapists with relationship counseling experience can focus on their specialization. The platform makes it easy to use and cater to two people even if they are not physically in the same place.
- Cons of Regain: This platform may be too limiting for new therapists trying to find their specializations. For some, the income may not feel worth it because of the multiple clients for one price.
Unlike the platforms above, Amwell also offers physical health consultations. This means therapists work alongside other types of doctors as one big group of telehealth providers.
- Amwell Therapist Salary: Therapists earn based on their experience. Those with a Master’s degree earn a bit less to therapists with a Ph.D.
- Pros of Amwell: Amwell is accredited by the American Telemedicine Association and is home to over 500 therapists nationwide. The company has a renowned video system, which makes online sessions feel like traditional in-person sessions.
- Cons of Amwell: Because Amwell is a trusted brand that accepts doctors from all over the country, the main problem therapists would have with Amwell is the number of patients referred to them.
Doctor on Demand is similar to Amwell – it is a platform that supports patients in need of medical (physical) advice and counseling on anxiety, depression, coping, and other mental health issues.
- Doctor on Demand Therapist Salary: This isn’t disclosed (except for an estimate of $112,785/year or about $60/hour posted on Indeed.com). However, it does state that therapy prices are $129 (for 25 minutes session) or $179 (50-minutes), while psychiatry prices start at $299/session, which are fees A LOT higher than other platforms.
- Pros of Doctor on Demand: Doctor on Demand has fewer therapists on board, which means you’d have better chances of pairing with clients. They also accept all major credit cards and health insurance plans. And since appointments can be paid on a per-session basis, clients wouldn’t feel trapped in a long-term payment plan.
- Cons of Doctor on Demand: The higher fee may turn off clients, which means fewer clients paired with you.
MDLive works like Amwell and Doctor on Demand. It is an all-in-one medical solution for patients in need of instant, telehealth advice from certified physicians, therapists, psychologists, and other medical providers.
- MDLive Therapist Salary: Depending on a patient’s insurance plan, therapy costs up to $110 and psychiatry up to $300 per session. It is estimated that therapists here earn somewhere between $55 and $70 per hour.
- Pros of MDLive: Providers online prescription to treat anxiety, insomnia, Trauma, PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression, and other mental health problems.
- Cons of MDLive: Therapy and psychiatry services on MDLive are very popular, which makes it hard for patients to get an appointment. The problem for providers is that once patients get a prescription from a psychiatrist, they tend to skip therapy completely.
** Note that salary information came from Glassdoor.com.
Other Ways to Find Online Therapist Jobs
Some online therapy sites are focused on a specific area or demographic. Here are two good examples:
- TeenCounseling.com was designed as a platform for teens and young adults (ages 13 to 19) suffering from stress, anxiety, bullying, self-esteem issues, eating disorders, bullying, and other mental health issues.
- PrideCounseling.com also helps with all issues that TeenCounseling.com therapists tackle, except Pride Counseling supports the LGBTQ community.
Both of these sites welcome new therapists to join their communities, so head over to their sites if you’re interested in working with teens or LGBTQ.
DIY Online Therapy Services
The last and most beneficial way of bringing a therapist’s career online is by doing it himself/herself. It would be a lot of work because you’d need to set-up your own website, find practice management software to keep patient records safe, market your therapy services to attract new patients, and handle day-to-day operations (such as getting appointments). Of course, you can always hire someone to do these tasks for you, but it would cost you the money you wouldn’t be spending if you joined online therapy sites instead.
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The biggest advantage of managing your own practice is freedom and flexibility. First of all, you can control your own fees. Then, you can decide which patients you want to work with, instead of letting the algorithm of a platform decide if your credentials would fit a patient’s needs.
Seek Online Therapist Jobs or Offer Sessions Independently?
As a work-from-home therapist, your most-important decision lies in choosing to offer your services independently, or join therapy sites. Both methods are legitimate and have given success to therapists from around the world, but they’re not for everyone.
I recommend newly licensed therapists to start with therapy sites. It would let them focus on the work and not deal with marketing, patient leads, and so on. The pay may be lower, but this method could help them build their client base, reputation, and skills all at the same time.
For experienced therapists with existing patients and a fully-functional traditional practice, it would be best to bring their entire practice online themselves. The massive dip in hourly fee would be devastating to any therapist’s career if they chose to join therapy sites and earn between $20 to $40 an hour when they could invoice for $100 or beyond per session.
Whichever route you decide to take, it is still good news to know that people are welcoming virtual therapy with open arms and that online therapist jobs have a bright future ahead.