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How Much Does a Behavioral Therapist Make in California?

If you are planning on working as a behavioral therapist in the state of California then you can expect to take home anywhere from $38,000 to $72,000 per year. This amount, of course, will vary depending upon where you work and in what capacity, the city of California in which you reside, your level of education, your experience level, and many other factors. While being a behavioral therapist of any sort is what most would consider lucrative, it is important to note that this is not one of those jobs anyone should go into just for the money. Behavioral therapists work long, demanding hours and must be able to deal with people in negative situations day in and day out without getting burnt out or overwhelmed. There are too many other jobs out there that pay just as well for this to be one of those careers someone goes into to make a quick buck. Anyone who becomes a behavioral therapist should do it because of a desire to help others and out of true love for the profession.

As mentioned above, one’s educational level is one of the biggest factors influencing salary. While there are plenty of behavioral therapists working in the state of California with only a master’s degree, the ones who make the most money tend to have PhDs from accredited institution. A PhD, which can only be earned after obtaining a master’s degree, typically takes around five years to complete, but most professionals feel the time spent is well worth it. The most prestigious and highly paid professionals in the field will hold this degree and will also likely have some kind of licensure or certification as well. Those who wish to reach their full earning potential in the field will want to think about continuing their education whenever possible.

In addition to educational level, the exact job one does and where one does it have a huge impact on salary. Behavioral therapists who own their own practices or who work for private health care practices tend to make the highest salaries, while those working for health care organizations, rehabilitation centers, or hospitals are likely to make less. However, almost all behavioral therapists enjoy great benefits, which is a plus. Some therapists are paid for each visit they have with their patients, while others enjoy a set yearly salary. Many prefer working on a per-visit basis as it allows them to set their own hours and determine their own pay within reason. There are benefits to a consistent salary, however, though sometimes this can mean working longer hours for less pay. This is something each individual has to decide for himself or herself.

Finally, keep in mind that the area in which one practices within the state will have an impact on salary. Larger cities in California, such as Los Angeles, tend to pay behavioral therapists higher amounts than smaller areas. However, some of this is due to a higher cost of living in larger cities. Generally, the best course of action for higher pay is to be a dedicated worker and to obtain as much education as possible. The rest should fall into place with time and experience.