How Much Does BetterHelp Pay A Professional Therapist?

Are you considering a career as an online therapist with platforms like BetterHelp? If so, it’s crucial to understand the financial realities of your choice. While BetterHelp offers a convenient entry point into the field of online therapy, many professionals find that the compensation doesn’t fully meet their expectations, especially when compared to the potential earnings from running a private practice.

That said, for anyone just starting out, BetterHelp is a way in. They offer you stable clients and a reliable income that can help you get on your feet as a new clinician. Anyone who has been in the mental health space for a while will tell you that getting going is the most important step. But, once you’re settled in and feeling confident, many new therapists share that they’re ready to make a more profitable living.

Please know that BetterHelp is a wonderful resource for clients and clinicians alike. But, as someone who has walked the path of starting out as a therapist, there are many career decisions you want in your mind so you can plan for the future. And given that so few of us ever received any career counseling around how to create a private practice, it’s important to consider the predictable career steps ahead of you.

Review this guide if you’re considering working for BetterHelp. It will help you feel informed about your decision and give you some clarity about what’s ahead. By the end, you will have a clearer perspective to make an informed decision about your career path in mental health care.

How Much Does BetterHelp Pay & Is It Worth It?

BetterHelp compensates therapists based on their interaction with clients, offering rates for video sessions, phone sessions, and chat sessions that typically range from $40 to $100 per hour. Additionally, therapists are paid for message exchanges with clients outside of scheduled sessions.

According to data from ZipRecruiter as of January 2024, the average salary for a BetterHelp therapist in the United States is approximately $63,943. However, this number is just a benchmark and actual earnings can vary widely based on several factors including experience level, patient load, and client engagement type.

Is it good for a brand new therapist?

For new therapists, BetterHelp can be a valuable platform to gain experience and start building a client base without the upfront costs associated with setting up a private practice. The platform handles marketing, billing, and initial client outreach, which can significantly reduce the administrative burden on a mental health professional who is just starting out.

However, new therapists should be mindful that the per-session pay is often lower than what you can charge in your own private practice, and you may experience some limitations in the types of therapy you can offer due to the platform’s structure.

Is it good for a seasoned and experienced therapist?

For seasoned therapists, BetterHelp offers the convenience of flexible scheduling and remote work, but the financial compensation is always the question. It certainly does not match the earning potential of private practice, especially for those with a well-established client base and specialized skills.

Experienced therapists may find the pay rates limiting, as private practice often allows for higher hourly rates and more personalized client engagements. Additionally, the platform may not provide the same level of professional autonomy and therapeutic depth as managing one’s own practice.

That said, if you’re someone who hates marketing, this “in the box” opportunity is wonderful. You are not saddled with any of the marketing puzzles or expenses so you don’t have to find clients. Clients are brought to you and the entire set of marketing costs is handled for you. And for many therapists we talk to, this subset of work is a big hurdle. If this is your situation, BetterHelp can be a great business partner to have.

How Much Does A Therapist Make After Taxes On BetterHelp?

The after-tax earnings of a therapist on BetterHelp can vary significantly based on several factors, including the therapist’s total earnings, tax bracket, state of residence, and any applicable deductions or credits.

BetterHelp pays therapists as independent contractors, so therapists receive a 1099 form for tax purposes, rather than a W2. This means you will be responsible for paying your own income tax and self-employment tax.

In full transparency, we are not accountants or tax preparation experts, but in general, here is the breakdown to give you an idea. You need to do your own research to verify the exact expenses for your earnings.

Gross Earnings

Suppose a therapist earns an average rate of $60 per hour on BetterHelp and works 20 hours per week. This would amount to approximately $1,200 per week or $62,400 annually.

Self-Employment Tax

As of 2024, the self-employment tax rate is 15.3%, which covers Social Security and Medicare taxes. For annual earnings of $62,400, the self-employment tax would be approximately $9,547.

Federal Income Tax

The exact federal income tax depends on the filing status and total taxable income after deductions. If we consider a basic scenario with standard deductions ($12,950 for single filers in 2024), the taxable income would be reduced, and the applicable tax rate would vary. For simplicity, if we assume a marginal tax rate of 22% on taxable income, the federal tax might be around $10,900, depending on specific circumstances and other income.

State Income Tax

This varies widely depending on where the therapist lives. Some states like Florida and Texas have no state income tax, while others like California have high rates.

Net Earnings

Subtracting both self-employment tax and estimated federal (and possibly state) income tax from the gross earnings would give the net income. For the example above, excluding state taxes, the net take-home pay would be approximately $61,400 – $9,547 – $10,900 = $40,953 annually.

This is a simplified calculation and actual earnings can differ based on hours worked, rates charged, deductions claimed, and specific tax situations. Therapists should consult with a tax professional to get a precise calculation tailored to their personal circumstances.

Are There Other Options For Therapists To Make Money Online?

As a 1099 independent contractor, you are not limited in the amount of work you can do. So if you see working for BetterHelp as a step in your journey and you want to add additional ways to monetize your skills beyond joining a mental health platform like BetterHelp, here are the steps to expand your online presence and income:

#1 Build a Professional Website

    A well-designed website serves as the central hub for a therapist’s online counseling and practice. It should include:

    • Professional Design: Ensuring the website is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and accessible.
    • Great Copywriting: Engaging, clear, and concise content that communicates the therapist’s services, qualifications, and unique approach to therapy.
    • Images: High-quality images that convey a sense of calm and trust; these could be office shots, or soothing generic images.
    • Online Booking: Integration of scheduling tools for clients to book appointments directly.
    • Payment Gateway: Secure options for clients to pay for sessions online.

    #2 Start a Therapy Blog

      Blogging can significantly boost a therapist’s online visibility and establish you as an authority in your field. This is critical because clients look online for help as a starting point. If your website and blog can be found by clients in need, you will reach more people looking for counseling and support. Points to consider include:

      • Content Strategy: Write articles that address common issues, therapeutic techniques, or self-help tips that potential clients might search for.
      • Monetization: Use affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, or ads to generate revenue from the blog.
      • Engagement: Encourage reader interaction through comments and social media shares, which can increase visibility and attract new clients.

      #3 Utilize Local SEO

        Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) helps therapists attract clients from their geographical area, which is crucial for those who offer a hybrid of online and in-person sessions. Key strategies include:

        • Google My Business: Set up and optimize a Google My Business account to appear in local searches and on Google Maps.
        • Keywords: Use location-based keywords in the website’s content, such as “therapist in [City Name]” or “online counseling in [Region].”
        • Local Listings: Ensure the practice is listed in local online directories and that the information is consistent across all platforms.

        Can A Therapist Earn More With Their Own Online Business?

        Yes, a therapist can potentially earn significantly more with their own online business, especially with a steady stream of clients. Here’s how this can happen:

        Setting Own Prices

        One of the most substantial benefits of having an independent online therapy practice is the ability to set your own prices. Unlike platforms like BetterHelp, where rates are fixed, private practice allows therapists to charge based on their experience, specialization, and the market demand in their area or niche. Experienced therapists, particularly those with specialized skills or certifications, can command higher rates which directly reflect their value and expertise.

        Full Control Over Client Load

        Operating an independent online business gives therapists the autonomy to manage their client load efficiently. This flexibility allows them to optimize their schedules and increase their availability during high-demand times, thereby maximizing their earning potential. They can also choose to see more clients if they wish or offer longer sessions at a premium, further increasing their income.

        Diverse Revenue Streams

        An independent online business opens up multiple avenues for additional revenue. Therapists can offer a range of services such as group therapy sessions, workshops, and webinars, which can attract larger audiences at a lower cost per individual. Additionally, selling digital products like eBooks, online courses, or guided meditation recordings can provide passive income alongside active counseling sessions.

        Reduced Overheads

        Operating online significantly cuts down the overhead costs associated with traditional face-to-face practices, such as renting office space or commuting. This not only saves money but also allows therapists to invest more resources into growing their practice, such as through marketing or enhancing their training.

        Marketing and Personal Branding

        With a personal brand, therapists can effectively market their services to a targeted audience. Effective use of social media, content marketing (like blogging and videos), and email marketing can help build a strong presence and attract clients who are specifically looking for the unique services they offer. 

        Better Client Retention

        By creating a personalized and directly engaged service model, therapists can foster stronger relationships with their clients, leading to higher retention rates and more stable income. Happy clients are more likely to continue therapy, refer others, and even avail themselves of additional services the therapist may offer.

        This Is Possible But Remember That Blogging & SEO Take Time

        Establishing a successful online therapy business through blogging and SEO is a viable but time-consuming process. Building a dedicated readership with blogging is a gradual endeavor, as it involves consistently posting relevant and valuable content that may initially attract only a few readers.

        Similarly, SEO efforts require understanding and adapting to complex, frequently changing algorithms, with noticeable improvements in search rankings potentially taking months. Moreover, creating engaging content is an ongoing task that involves not just writing, but also continuous research and updates to stay current with new developments.

        Importantly, establishing credibility as a therapist through blogging takes time too, as it builds trust by consistently demonstrating expertise. Throughout this process, maintaining patience and perseverance is crucial, as the cumulative effect of sustained efforts will ultimately yield results. This approach should be seen as a long-term investment in your professional online presence.

        Bringing It All Together

        While platforms like BetterHelp provide a starting point with a set salary, therapists can significantly increase their income by setting up an independent online business. This involves building a professional website, starting a therapy blog, and utilizing local SEO to attract a wider client base.

        Although achieving success through blogging and SEO is a long-term process that requires patience and consistent effort, the potential benefits in terms of higher income and professional autonomy are considerable.

        Ready to Take Your Therapy Practice to The Next Level?

        Contact Crownsville Media today to start growing your online private practice. Let us help you harness the power of digital marketing to expand your reach and maximize your professional potential!


        How to make more money as a therapist?

        To increase your earnings as a therapist, consider diversifying your service offerings. This can include conducting group therapy sessions, workshops, or creating and selling digital products like courses and eBooks. Expanding your practice online can also help you reach a broader audience. Optimize your marketing strategies through a professional website, active blogging, and effective SEO practices to attract more clients.

        How much does a private practice therapist make?

        The income of a private practice therapist can vary widely depending on their location, specialization, and the number of clients they see. Generally, therapists in private practice have the potential to earn significantly more than those working for others, with earnings often ranging from $60,000 to over $100,000 per year. Those with a solid client base and specialized services can charge higher rates, increasing their earnings further.

        Is working for BetterHelp worth it?

        Working for BetterHelp can be worth it, especially for new therapists looking to gain experience or those seeking flexible work hours. The platform offers a steady stream of clients and handles many of the administrative aspects of therapy. However, the pay might be lower compared to what is possible in private practice. Seasoned therapists might find that establishing their own practice or diversifying their income streams could be more beneficial financially and offer greater professional autonomy.

        author avatar
        Melanie Gorman
        Melanie Gorman is the owner and operator of Crownsville Media. She holds a masters in counseling psychology and has been in the fields of web development, SEO optimization and content creation for more than 20 years.

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