In the past, therapy was only conducted in person, where the counselor and patient were together in the same room for a session. Every industry has to evolve at some point, however, and the area of therapy was no different. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic saw many industries forced to transition to remote work, which was a lot more difficult for some than others. It was not the only factor that led to the birth of online therapy, but it has since seen a meteoric rise in popularity. Is it worth it to make the jump? Today, we’ll find out.
As you can imagine, online therapy has a few major differences from in-person therapy. The first and most glaring is the increased flexibility in terms of ways to conduct online counseling. There are three main ways that you can choose to link up with your clients: a phone call, text or email messaging, and video conferencing. It eliminates the need for in-person contact and allows for a lot more leeway in terms of scheduling. The different ways of running sessions also gives you the ability to connect with your clients on a more regular basis than in-person work.
You can also choose from varying degrees of work, but you should keep in mind that a lot of online therapy programs require a minimum number of cases in order to retain your employment. It can be your full-time source of income or you can simply use it as an accessory to your other work. Like regular therapy, you can also choose to practice a specific niche. Family therapists and child therapists are among a slew of different options that you can choose to take on, but much of it will hinge on your past experience.
So how much do online therapists really make? The answer to this question isn’t exactly cut and dry. There are a lot of factors that you have to take into account before you can come up with an accurate answer. Probably the most obvious thing to note is how exactly you are going to be using online therapy. Are you going for full-time work or just a supplement to your other clients? The more clients you take online, the more money you will take in. Again, keep in mind that the company you choose may have a required number of clients.
Not all online companies pay therapists the same way, either. While the traditional hourly rate is always popular, many online therapy companies will explore other avenues of payment. One significant example is using an engagement-based compensation method. Those that engage with their clients on a regular basis and make efforts to bring in new clients will receive the highest compensation using these means.
In terms of comparing online to in-person therapy, the average yearly pay is not too different in range. The average salary of an online therapist is $31 per hour, with many more reported jobs on the lower end of the spectrum than the higher end. Determining what you are worth should involve considering your past experience and success, your area of expertise, and the amount of education you’ve received regarding it. You can also choose to run your own practice to get the rates you desire, but this can be incredibly risky if you don’t have a lot of experience.
So, is it worth it to make the jump to online therapy? That’s an answer that you will have to decide for yourself. For every person, that answer may be different. Those with a lot of experience might be more inclined to choose to run their own practice, while those with less might want to sign with an agency that provides needed experience. Whether or not online therapy is the right move for you will depend on a large number of characteristics. With online therapy being a rapidly expanding market, the reward might be well worth the risk.