Cognitive Behavioral Therapist Salary: What You’ll Make and Why

Cognitive behavioral therapists make around $47,080 to $66,907 on average in the US, depending on experience, location, skills, and other factors.

According to various salary aggregate websites, a cognitive behavioral therapist’s salary in the US ranges between $47,080 and $66,907, with an average salary of $54,747. As of June 2022, the base salaries for cognitive behavioral therapists are listed as follows:


Keep in mind: Salary aggregate websites typically rely on data submitted anonymously by individuals using their site. Some websites may have received larger amounts of data of either higher or lower than average salaries, which may affect the site’s calculated average.

Read more: What Is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist? How to Become One

What influences a salary?

Salaries for cognitive behavioral therapists can vary based on experience, education, location, and other factors. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the things that can impact how much money you can make in this field.

Years of experience

Salary increases are generally tied to your experience level. In general, the more years you spend working as a cognitive behavioral therapist, the more you can expect to earn. Here’s how experience can impact your cognitive behavioral therapist salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Compensation Survey.

Level of experienceSalary
Entry-level (less than 1 year)$32,288
Early career (1 to 4 years)$40,533
Mid career (5 to 9 years)$51,678
Experienced (10 to 19 years)$64,293
Late career (20+ years)$84,950

Where you live can also impact how much you can make as a cognitive behavioral therapist. Typically, working in a large metropolitan area correlates to a higher salary, as well as a higher cost of living.

Here is a list of some major cities with their corresponding average cognitive behavioral therapist salary according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

CityAverage Salary
Los Angeles, CA$76,654
San Francisco, CA$66,782
New York City, NY$62,681
Denver, CO$61,074
Washington DC, DC$59,646
Dallas, TX$45,599
Nashville, TN$44,728
Phoenix, AZ$42,453
Omaha, NE$41,644
Oklahoma City, OK$37,935

How does this compare to similar jobs?

Here’s how a cognitive behavioral therapist’s salary stacks up against similar jobs.

Related JobsAverage Salary
Licensed Clinical Social Worker$72,809
Mental Health Counselor$57,984
Marriage and Family Therapist$75,684
Substance Abuse Counselor$43,789
Behavioral Health Technician$30,645
Psychiatric Nurse$79,007
School Counselor$59,877
Case Manager$40,577

How to increase your cognitive behavioral therapist salary

Now that you have a better idea of what you could expect to earn as a cognitive behavioral therapist, let’s look at ways to boost your salary.

1. Strengthen your skills

Pursuing and improving in-demand skills could make you more competitive for promotions and higher-paying positions. These skills include:

  • Assessment: Understand how to assess patients for mental health conditions using clinical interviews, psychological testing, and other methods
  • Diagnosis: Diagnose mental health conditions using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
  • Treatment Planning: Develop individualized treatment plans based on patient assessment and diagnosis
  • Therapeutic Techniques: Use cognitive and behavioral techniques to help patients manage their mental health conditions
  • Case Management: Coordinate care with other mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists and social workers
2. Take more responsibilities

Cognitive behavioral therapists who are able to take on more responsibilities, such as leading groups or teaching classes, may be able to command a higher salary. If you’re interested in increasing your earnings potential, talk to your supervisor about taking on additional duties.

3. Go back to school

While it may not be feasible for everyone, going back to school to earn a higher degree can lead to a significant salary increase. In the field of cognitive behavioral therapy, those with a master’s degree or higher can earn significantly more than those with only a bachelor’s degree.

Article Sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “National Compensation Survey,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Employment and Wages,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

3. Payscale. “Clinical Therapist Salary,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

4. Ziprecruiter. “Cognitive Behavioral Therapist Annual Salary,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

5. Indeed. “Indeed Salary Finder,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

6. “Cognitive Behavioral Therapist Salary,” Accessed June 2, 2022.

7. Glassdoor. “Cognitive Behavioral Therapist Salaries,,30.htm.” Accessed June 2, 2022.


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