How Much Do Online Therapists Make?

While it is a relatively new market, the industry of online therapy has seen a massive amount of expansion in recent times. Many practices have been forced to evolve in order to keep up with the rapidly changing state of the world, and therapy is one of the latest professions to board that train. However, there are a lot of questions that you have to ask yourself before you decide to consider practicing therapy online as a possibility. How much do therapists make online as compared to in-person? Are there any differences between the two? Below, we provide you with the answers to those burning questions.

Differences Between Online and In-Person

While the general goal of online and in-person therapy is the same, the means as to how they achieve that goal can be starkly different. In-person therapy follows a much stricter scheduling set because of the need to be in an office to conduct sessions. Therefore, the rate by which you see your clients is a little more spread-out. 

Online therapy is a lot more flexible in this area. Not only do you not have a specific meeting place requirement, but there are actually multiple methods of contact that you can use to communicate with your clients. You can conduct online counseling sessions over the phone, through a video call, or even through text message. This allows you to be a bit more flexible with scheduling, removing the time of commute and location.

You might think that the means of communication in online therapy might make it more limited in terms of who they can meet with. Actually, specific therapies receive the same level of treatment as in-person. Family therapists and others dealing with large groups will still be able to meet with their clients using the appropriate methods.

Is There a Difference in Compensation?

Taking this question completely at face value, the answer is yes: the average annual salary for online therapists is slightly higher according to ZipRecruiter. However, you should not take this question at face value. The real answer is actually a lot more complicated, as there are a lot of things to take into consideration in order to tackle the question appropriately.

First, let’s talk about the amount of work being assigned. Not all online therapists view their work as a full-time practice; some choose to use it as a supplement for their other work, while others might be balancing online therapy with other positions. Of course, the same holds true for in-person therapy, but most tend to work full 40-hour weeks.

The way online therapy programs pay therapists can also differ from those companies that are not remote. The most basic and popular form of pay is through an hourly salary, but not all online companies choose to compensate their employees in this fashion. For example, BetterHelp pays their employees on an engagement-based scale, meaning that those therapists who regularly communicate with their client base (regardless of how many) and try to bring in new ones will get compensated handsomely.

Your experience and qualifications are a huge factor into how much compensation you’ll receive. ZipRecruiter’s online therapist salaries tend to lean more toward the lower end of the spectrum than the higher end. Since the further you go up the expertise ladder, the fewer people there are, this shouldn’t surprise you that much. As a general rule of thumb, those with more experience and success will get paid more.

ZipRecruiter’s model might not factor in those therapists that choose to run their own practices as well. This is a route you can take if you have a lot of past experience, but you should think carefully if you are just starting out. You should do a lot of thinking regardless of your experience to ensure that you’re making the right choice.


While online therapists make slightly more than their in-person counterparts, the decision on whether it is right for you depends entirely on who you are. Your experiences, qualifications, and desires may look vastly different from someone else’s, so the answer is not exactly concrete. Now that you know what to think about, choose your options carefully. If you do decide to go the route of online therapy, you might find that it is worth it in the long run.

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