Behavioral Therapist Salary & Career Guide

In the United States, the behavioral therapist salary earned on a mean basis $34,283. The mean is C$69,874 ($54,398 USD) in Canada, 30,000 ($40,158 USD) in the United Kingdom, and AU$61,880 ($46,499 USD) in Australia.

For behavior therapists in New Zealand, salaries average NZD$60,000 ($41,023 USD), while mean earnings in India stand at INR4,25,234 (INR 424,234 in Western form) ($6,567 USD). These therapists garner R423,501 ($31,008 USD) on a mean basis in South Africa.

behavioral therapist salary

How Much Is the Behavioral Therapist Salary?

Behavioral Therapist SalaryUSCanadaUKAustraliaNew ZealandIndiaSouth Africa
Hourly Pay$16.48C$34£14.42AU$29.75NZD$28.85INR204R204
Annual Pay$34,283C$69,874£30,000AU$61,880NZD$60,000INR4,25,234R423,501

Behavioral Therapist Salary Influencing Factors

Work schedule and setting impact pay throughout the behavioral therapist field. Some therapists own and operate their own private practices, as well as working in government agencies and for private mental health providers. The presence of part-time behavioral therapists may also result in lower overall salaries for therapists.

As explained below, the location and level of experience in practice also influence a behavioral therapist’s pay.

1. Location

Behavioral therapists’ pay varies by the city of practice in many countries.

PayScale asserts that behavioral therapists in Chicago fetch 24 percent more than the national average in the United States. Oakland affords professionals pay averaging ten percent above the national mean, while therapists in Boston see pay at seven percent north of the mean. At the lower end of the salary scale lies Austin, at 19 percent under the mean.

According to PayScale, mental health counselors, which include those in behavioral therapy, in Perth, Australia make 19 percent above the national mean. Pay falls five percent under the mean in Melbourne.

How Much Is a Behavioral Therapist Salary in the US?

 Behavioral Therapist Salary USPer YearPer Hour
BonusUp to $1,024Up to $0.49
OvertimeN/A$14.52 to $31.82
Total Pay$25,775 to $54,549

How Much Is a Behavioral Therapist Salary in Canada?

 Behavioral Therapist Salary CanadaPer YearPer Hour
Total PayC$49,901 to C$88,031

How Much Is a Behavioral Therapist Salary in the UK?

 Behavioral Therapist Salary CanadaPer YearPer Hour
Total Pay£26,500 to £41,500

How Much Is a Behavioral Therapist Salary in Australia?

 Behavioral Therapist Salary AustraliaPer YearPer Hour
Total PayAU$41,064 to AU$96,000

How Much Is a Behavioral Therapist Salary in New Zealand?

 Behavioral Therapist Salary New ZealandPer YearPer Hour
Total PayNZD$48,000 to NZD$100,000

How Much Is a Behavioral Therapist Salary in India?

 Behavioral Therapist Salary IndiaPer YearPer Hour
Total PayINR3,08,370 to INR5,43,838

How Much Is a Behavioral Therapist Salary in South Africa?

 Behavioral Therapist Salary South AfricaPer YearPer Hour
Total PayR305,050 to R538,051

2. Experience

According to PayScale, an entry-level behavior therapist in the United States can expect a mean salary of $33,000. The mean peaks at $45,000 for those with ten to 20 years of experience. Beyond 20 years of work, the mean stands at $42,000.

SalaryExpert states that behavior therapists in Canada with up to three years of experience make C$49,901. With eight years of experience, these therapists earn C$86,368.

The National Careers Service reports that starting cognitive behavior therapists average salaries of £26,500. Those at the experienced level fetch a mean pay of £31,500, while therapists earn up £to 41,500 at the “highly experienced” stage.

In Australia, mental health counselors with ten to 20 years in practice earn 15 percent above the mean, while those in the five to ten-year experience range see pay ten percent over the mean. The mean pay for entry-level mental health counselors in Australia is five percent less than the mean.

Psychotherapists in New Zealand, whose functions include behavioral therapy, start at NZD$48,000 to NZD$56,000. Those who attain five years of experience can find their pay as high as NZD$74,000. For assuming senior or additional duties, psychotherapists can grow their pay to between NZD$72,000 and NZD$100,000.

SalaryExpert places the mean for entry-level behavior therapists in India at INR3,08,370. Senior-level salaries run at INR5,33,717 on a mean basis. In South Africa, the numbers at the respective experience levels are R305,050 and R527,972.

3. Industry

Behavioral therapists serve in a variety of settings, such as schools, correctional facilities, clinics and mental health or substance abuse treatment facilities. Accordingly, the field contains a sizable contingent of public sector workers. In fact, the National Health Service in the United Kingdom and District Boards of Health throughout New Zealand employ significant numbers of behavioral therapists.

Self-employed professionals assume a visible presence in the behavioral therapy field. According to Job Bank Canada, nearly half of workers in the psychologist group, which include behavioural therapists, are self-employed.

Therapists in private practice set their own rates. In the United Kingdom, therapists working on their own outside the National Health Service can receive between 30 and 80 per hour. Self-employed psychotherapists in New Zealand who work outside of a District Board of Health command rates between NZD$60 and NZD$160 per hour.

Schedule & Working Hours

Behavior therapists can find ample opportunities to work part-time as well as on a full-time basis.

Nearly 62 percent of psychologist professionals in Canada, which include behavioral therapists, reside in the full-time category.

In the United Kingdom, behavior therapists can expect between 38 and 43 hours of work per week. The typical work week for counselors in Australia lasts 37.1 hours per week.

For behavioral therapists in general, work occurs during traditional business hours and on weekdays. Those who work in 24-hour facilities such as residential treatment centers should expect some evening and weekend work.

Bonuses & Benefits

Mental health providers offer behavioral therapists signing bonuses and financial and other help for relocation.

Depending on setting, behavioral therapists receive benefits such as health care and retirement. In the United States, roughly half of behavioral therapists have medical coverage. Dental care goes to 39 percent, while 28 percent of these therapists have vision care.

According to PayScale, one in two behavioral therapists in Canada enjoy medical care through the employer. Vision and dental coverage rates reach 64 percent. For behavioral therapists in Australia, the medical coverage rate is nine percent. Dental and vision care are enjoyed by only three percent.

Career Outlook

A host of behavioral issues, such as autism-related behaviors, substance abuse, eating disorders and attention deficit syndrome, will buoy the need for behavioral therapists. In Cape Town, South Africa, visits by methamphetamine users for treatment multiplied by 150 times since 2002, reports PLOS. This is a different and unique kind of therapy.

The lack of viable treatment options for physical diseases exacerbates conditions that require the intervention of behavioral therapists. Nearly nine out of ten patients in India with kidney disease cannot afford treatment at private hospitals. The country suffers from an insufficient number of public hospitals for those who lack insurance or resources. Chronic kidney disease often generates depression and anxiety.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 20 percent rise each in employment of “Mental Health Counselors” and “Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors” by 2026. This equates to predicted job openings of 31,200 and 20,400 in the respective professions.

Job Bank Canada’s projects a shortage of professionals, including behavioural therapists, in Canada by 2024. At the time, available jobs should number 10,000, with 8,800 pursuing those jobs.

According to Job Outlook Australia, counselors, whose work includes behavioral therapy, are expected to grow from 20,700 in 2015 to 25,500 by 2020. Careers New Zealand treats employment opportunities for psychotherapists as “average.”

The Various Types of Behavioral Therapy 

Learning all about the various types of therapy available for those who struggle as children, with trauma, with addiction, mental illness, or whatever else it may be, can help you determine if becoming a behavioral therapist is right for you. If you want to help people who are deep in these pits, this is a great career to look into. There are so many people you can help, not just in their current struggle, but in their entire future lives, by becoming a behavioral therapist. This is a more than noble and worthy profession to strive for! 

Aversion Therapy/Addiction Therapy/ Rehab Therapy

There are so many different names for this type of behavioral Therapy, but no matter what the individual behavioral therapist calls it, this area is very important. It is a very specific and kind of individualized type of Therapy that is for people struggling with addiction and wanting to overcome this persistent behavioral pattern. Aversion Therapy is for every type of addict, not just those addicted to alcohol. This can be an inpatient or an outpatient type of Therapy, depending on the severity of the disease and desire to seek help. Another aspect of addiction Therapy is also when the therapist will do home visits.

With an addiction of any sort, there is always something going on deep inside of a person that is causing an external reaction in which a person will end up destroying not only their external life but their internal life as well. It may seem like something that is physical: just stop drinking. Just not doing drugs. But it’s not that simple for an addict. It is an issue of psychological processes and stems from things like trauma, wiring of the brain, family history, abuse, and many other potential factors. This type of treatment is necessary if an addict is looking to break the cycle.

Once the addict comes to terms with the fact that this addiction is overtaking and destroying their entire world, they will go to treatment and go through a detoxification process. Once the substance is out of their system, it is time for them to start Therapy.

Aversion Therapy can be done in a group setting, face-to-face with a therapist, or with their family. This is something that the patient and their therapist decide together, and it is based on the specific circumstances of the patient.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

One way the therapist can handle addiction using is by using cognitive-behavioral Therapy, which works to create associations between negative feelings and addiction. A negative association is powerful and can keep an addict far away from their drug of choice. Once they make these connections using their memory, they may never go back.

Intervention Management/Family Therapy

Another type is intervention management or family Therapy. This form of Therapy works to help create unity and allow the family to function when there is substance-abuse for the family member. This is a unified work where healthy family members learn how to cope with unhealthy family members and help them in doing so. Many times, the family enables the patient to continue on in their addiction. Family Therapy can help not only the patient but also the family learn how to manage and encourage the addict, which is a necessary form of support in recovery.

Motivational Therapy

Positive reinforcement and motivational therapies are one and the same. This form of Therapy creates incentives around why staying clean is best. When people are in addiction, their brains are wired to think of their addiction as something that brings instant closure and relief, but reinforcing that this is not best positively with the specific set of circumstances that the patient has, can be life-changing.

Continuing Treatment 

The purpose of addiction Therapy is not only to change the behavior of the addict, but also to show them that there is a better way. It is meant to strengthen their view of themselves and others and learn how to function in this life better. This is done by suggesting a continuation of Therapy as well as getting the community and families around them involved in their lifelong journey on the road of recovery.

Typically, once inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment has run its course, a 12-Step program is suggested next. As someone who knows very well the benefits of the 12-Step program because I have seen how it works up close and personal with those closest to me, I am a believer in the fact that this program helps you to stay on the right track.

Behavioral Therapy for addiction is the first step, but staying out of an addiction is a lifelong challenge and you need those who have walked it to do it alongside you. As a Behavioral Therapist, it will be your job to encourage this type of support for your patient. It is also smart to encourage the codependency groups for the family members which help in the same way the 12-Step groups help the addicted.

Child Therapy

Child Therapy is not necessarily a textbook definition of Therapy, but it encompasses every type of Therapy children get, and many of their Therapy needs are different from those of adults. The types of Child Behavioral Therapy listed below are effective and widely used. The reason Child Therapy is so important is that a lot of adult issues stem in childhood.

If these issues are not tackled when the brain is being formed and is most vulnerable, the child who becomes an adult will likely continue acting out of their traumas all of their adult life. But there is hope for this. Child Therapy can put a stop to this potential outcome and turn their traumas and pain into something that makes them resilient and courageous in their adult life. Child Therapy is a vital form of Behavioral Therapy and a worthy cause to throw your life‘s work into.

Family Therapy

Family Therapy is an extremely effective form of Behavioral Therapy for children. Since family members, especially parents, are the most important figures in a child’s life, this will help the child to grow alongside their support system. The best part though, may not be how it helps the child in therapy, but how it helps the family members to know how they can encourage and support their child as they walk through whatever trauma or pain they may be facing.

It is powerful and as someone who has experienced it firsthand, I know that it is vital for children to go through therapy at some point or another. The therapist gives language to express what the parent and child may not be able to get across to each other on their own. Just as a therapist for marriage helps a couple, therapy for the parent and child help in the same way. It can also help the siblings of the family to become more empathetic and understanding of the child’s circumstances when they hear it from the therapist himself.

Play Therapy

Play therapy is an effective type of therapy for children. Though it is used on adults from time to time, this primarily works with children. Especially children who are younger, need a way to vocalize either a trauma that has happened to them or a situation they can’t seem to talk about with their words. Instead of using language, they are able to show you. They can play out situations that they would not have been able to get out any other way. Things, like drawing a picture, acting it out, or using dolls, are forms of play therapy. This type of therapy is used because adults talking is the equivalent of children playing.


This form of therapy can apply to anyone of any age. Children who have hormonal inbalances or have trauma hardwired in their brains get the chance to feel normal with meds. These are stabilizers and are not meant to be a long-term solution or a solution apart from therapy. This is a during treatment type of solution that is meant to get their feet on the ground and their mind in a healthy place so that they do not harm anyone around them or themselves. This type of therapy is always taken very seriously because it is chemical and is not meant to be used without a proper diagnosis.

Parent-Child Therapy

This form of therapy, similar to family therapy, does more than just show the family how to act with the child and allow them to empathize better. It actually helps to further a child’s attachment to their most important relationship, their parents. For many children, their issues come from a lack of bonding with their parents. This type of therapy can be very healing for both the child and the parent.

Talk Therapy

Talk Therapy is a common therapy form typically used in sessions with adults. I can also help children. This is where the therapist will bring the memory in front of the child and talk through the harder aspects of it with them. This form is typically used with children who are able to put their thoughts into words, mainly teenagers. Talk therapy is able to do a lot of good for the child if they are able to express how they feel fully.


This form of therapy is typically used for those who have suffered severe trauma and have post-traumatic stress disorder because of it. But it can also be used for those who have other disorders (such as anxiety or depression) or panic attacks. This is meant to heal the brain and the body at the same time. This EDMR therapy is highly effective and widely used in the psychology world. It is meant to take the association that the brain and the body have and are triggered by, and disassociate them. It is meant to rewire how the traumatic memories show up in everyday life and reprogram the brain.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a form of replacement therapy. It takes motivational therapy and positive reinforcement and uses it to replace negativity with positivity. Negative experiences with reframing. There is an exact science and system behind all of this, but it really just consists of children creating a story of rewiring their negative experience or thoughts that lead to negative behaviors and turning into something positive, with the help of their therapist. This is especially effective for children who have experienced trauma.

Talk Therapy/Psychoanalytic Therapy

Talk therapies are most used for mental health obstacles such as anxiety depression, stress, and others such as these. These sessions are ones where the therapist talks through the scenario with you. Exactly how you feel, what you think, all your possible thoughts on the scenario, as well as the scenario itself. Then, they will walk you through some kind of solution of resolution. The best therapists do this not by giving you an answer, but by leading you to it yourself through a series of questions. This is not a session where you are told what to do. Rather, you find it through digging deep into your core. You will leave feeling closer to your core weaknesses, and core strengths. But there are tons of ways to do talk therapy, so what are these types?

Guided Self-Help

This is where you are able to work out solutions to your problems. It helps you to come to an understanding of what is going on deep down inside you, and find a resolution for whatever it may be. You work through a course with a therapist by your side, and it helps. This strategy is most effective for those with panic disorders.


Counseling is another form of talk therapy. This is an incredible place to go if you are experiencing major life changes such as divorce, a new move, a new job, a death of someone close to you, or infertility. Counseling can even be good to help you cope with chronic pain. Living with constant pain that seems to never end can alter how you view life, yourself, and your future. Get help with this! If you are a faith-based person who believes, counseling is a chance to go to someone who shares your religious belief and can guide you through this journey with your faith by your side. Faith is an incredibly helpful and useful way to get through the hard things in life, and there are plenty of counselors who will share any faith you embrace.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

This is a powerful type of talk therapy. For many, issues within their relationships cause them to face depression. But then they will soon find that this cycle begins where the depression they found because of the relationship only causes the relationship to worsen. It goes around and around until there is intervention. This is where IPT comes in. If other forms of therapy are not “working”, and there are heavy relational problems, this may be the solution (or a great help, at minimum).

Behavioral Activation

This type of talk therapy is a motivational form of counseling. It is a type that helps those struggling with depression live again. It motivates them to do small tasks and uses their energy in a way that will multiply it. it is like having a motivational speaker calling you, sitting with you for sessions, and walking you through the hard season of depression. A lot of problem solving and solutions to hard things in depression comes about here.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

This type of talk therapy helps you to learn to live in the moment. It shows you how to live minute to minute, day to day, without taking all of life’s challenges on all at once. Mindfulness is a buzzword right now, and rightfully so. Living mindfully and intentionally will allow you to take on only what is present before you, not all of life’s issues all at once. It also reminds you that nothing is as bad as it seems and this too shall pass.

Group Therapy

Group therapy has been proven to be an effective method for those struggling with everything from substance abuse to mental health disorders.

Psychotherapy Groups

These groups are meant to show those who join that they need other people. Community to share with and receive and give empathy to is a vital part of their recovery, and the continuation of a life of freedom, healing, and growth. These groups showcase an interdependency that is needed for those who are walking through recovery.

Basic Group Therapy

This is the type of group that gives members a safe space to talk about their weaknesses and character defects, in order to learn from others and grow.

Cognitive Therapy Groups

These groups show the members, who are typically those who leave a life of substance abuse, how to rewire their brains and find other ways to fill the void that led them to their drug. It tackles the deep inner thought processes that need to be changed in order to stop an addict from going back to their old ways, and it happens with the support of others walking through the same day to day issues that drive them to desire to fall back into their old ways. This is very effective.

Self Help Groups/Network Therapy

These types of groups are ones for those who are recovering and need support. They are typically not led by a therapist, but they are created and sustained by those who have walked the road of addiction or mental illness in the past.

Final Thoughts on a Behavioral Therapist Salary

Generally, experience and location of practice can enhance compensation for behavioral therapists. In the field, professionals can practice on their own and set their own pay rates. While pay overall may fall generally in the lower half of the workforce, qualified behavioral therapists should expect strong employment opportunities as patients need their services to treat issues ranging from learning disabilities to depression.

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