Behavioral Therapist Salary Guide and Career Outlook

In the United States, behavioral therapists earn 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 Does a Behavioral Therapist Make per Year by State?

Behavioral Therapist Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Pay $16.48 C$34 £14.42 AU$29.75 NZD$28.85 INR204 R204
Annual Pay $34,283 C$69,874 £30,000 AU$61,880 NZD$60,000 INR4,25,234 R423,501

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 Does a Behavioral Therapist Make in the US?

 Behavioral Therapist Salary US Per Year Per Hour
Minimum $25,460 $12.24
Maximum $54,549 $26.23
Bonus Up to $1,024 Up to $0.49
Overtime N/A $14.52 to $31.82
Total Pay $25,775 to $54,549

How Much Does a Behavioral Therapist Make in Canada?

 Behavioral Therapist Salary Canada Per Year Per Hour
Minimum C$49,901 C$23.99
Maximum C$86,368 C$41.52
Bonus C$1,663 C$0.80
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay C$49,901 to C$88,031

How Much Does a Behavioral Therapist Make in the UK?

 Behavioral Therapist Salary Canada Per Year Per Hour
Minimum £26,500 £12.74
Maximum £41,500 £19.95
Bonus N/A N/A
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay £26,500 to £41,500

How Much Does a Behavioral Therapist Make in Australia?

 Behavioral Therapist Salary Australia Per Year Per Hour
Minimum AU$39,000 AU$18.75
Maximum AU$90,000 AU$43.27
Bonus N/A N/A
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay AU$41,064 to AU$96,000

How Much Does a Behavioral Therapist Make in New Zealand?

 Behavioral Therapist Salary New Zealand Per Year Per Hour
Minimum NZD$48,000 NZD$23.08
Maximum NZD$100,000 NZD$48.08
Bonus N/A N/A
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay NZD$48,000 to NZD$100,000

How Much Does a Behavioral Therapist Make in India?

 Behavioral Therapist Salary India Per Year Per Hour
Minimum INR3,08,370 INR148.25
Maximum INR5,33,717 INR256.59
Bonus INR10,121 INR4.87
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay INR3,08,370 to INR5,43,838

How Much Does a Behavioral Therapist Make in South Africa?

 Behavioral Therapist Salary South Africa Per Year Per Hour
Minimum R305,050 R146.66
Maximum R527,972 R253.83
Bonus R10,079 R4.85
Overtime N/A N/A
Total Pay R305,050 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.

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.”


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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