Did you enter the counseling field feeling super gung-ho about offering direct client care services, only to find down the road that you don’t actually enjoy direct client care?
If so, don’t get discouraged just yet. You can still use your counseling skills and training in other unique and alternative ways!
In this blog post, we are going to go over 15 alternative career options for therapists.
You are more qualified than you think…
At first glance, it might seem like those of us trained as therapists have a very limited palette of career options to choose from. Or that the majority of career options involve offering direct client care to those seeking some form of mental health services. But this isn’t necessarily the case.
As it turns out, our training as therapists is incredibly valuable in a variety of settings. So if you’re looking to exit offering direct therapy to clients, this list is for you.
If you’d prefer to watch my YouTube version of this list take a peek here!
15 alternative therapy jobs to explore
Here are 15 alternative career options for therapists:
1. run a group practice
This might be a particularly manageable pivot if you’re already running a solo practice or if you have employees. It’s not required that you offer direct client care if you own a group practice.
You can focus on other items like running the business and supervising your employees or trainees without having to see clients.
2. management at agency/community/hospital settings
Similarly, you might thrive in a management position in an array of settings that offer mental health services, all while you don’t have to offer those services yourself.
3. serving other therapists with your unique skill set
This is vague on purpose because your skill set is unique to you as an individual. Hint hint: this is something I do! I teach other therapists about private practice.
If you’re a talented web designer, you could help therapists build their websites. Or you could consult on how to market a practice. Or literally anything!
You could create a super awesome new art therapy tool that you sell to therapists. You can get really creative here!
4. mental health advocacy/workplace trainings
Larger organizations, in particular, will hire mental health professionals to offer teachings and trainings to their staff, such as how to minimize burnout, increase productivity, or how to prioritize self-care.
5. consulting larger organizations
This is similar to the last item, except the focus is more behind-the-scenes on how you help an organization care well for employees, rather than teaching or training from a more visible space.
You could also pursue more conventional teaching avenues such as teaching at a higher education program.
7. consider a super-niche specialty
Think sports psychology, art therapy, music therapy, hypnotherapy, etc.
You may find a niche that tickles your fancy and makes the client work just different enough that it feels far more joyful and sustainable for you.
8. coaching (literally of any sort)
Whether it is one-on-one or group coaching, you could offer your expertise in any number of areas.
You could coach fellow therapists, or do parent coaching. You could coach CEOs on how to better support their employees’ mental health. Or maybe life coaching or career coaching are more up your alley.
9. work for a company creating products for therapists
For example, an EHR platform like TherapyNotes or a bookkeeping software for therapists like Heard (these are affiliate links).
Every company making a product or service for therapists needs therapists on their team to advise and shape the product. This is essential to ensuring their product is relevant to therapists and the mental health field.
10. academic/career advising at college setting
Therapists are a fabulous fit for this type of role! Often the direct interaction with students is different enough from therapy work that it makes the role a great fit for many mental health counselors.
I’m willing to bet that if there were more therapists in HR roles, corporate America would be a better place to work.
In all seriousness, therapists are really well suited for HR roles and you can help advocate for employees’ needs within a company.
12. special education teacher or tutor
If you love working with kids but are not interested in offering therapy services, special education or tutoring could be worth exploring.
The possibilities are endless here! You could write a book, but you could also be a contracted writer for a newspaper or magazine as an expert in mental health.
Obviously, I’m pretty partial to this one because this is what I’m doing!
You can create an online business or leverage the power of the expertise you have to become an influencer and make a living that way. The possibilities of entrepreneurship are limitless!
15. Career Pivot that builds on your current knowledge.
This option could require some additional schooling or training, however, your history in the mental health field could serve as an asset. For instance, pivoting into a physician’s assistant or genetic counselor.
This is far from an exhaustive list of alternative career options!
I’d argue that client care is just one aspect of our role in the world as therapists. We have an opportunity to create much broader systemic impact through other avenues.
If you’re considering changing careers as a therapist:
If you’re exploring alternative career options for therapists, I hope this list helps you see that all your skills and training are not a waste. They are a huge asset, regardless of what route you choose going forward – even if you do choose to exit the field altogether.
Keep in mind that you can mix and match – that’s what I do! I see clients part-time and I run an online business part-time. Above all – You do what fits best for you.
If you’re considering leaving the field altogether and would like some help navigating the next steps, I have a video all about that! Feel free to check it out here:
And until next time, from one therapist to another: I wish you well!
Photo by Christin Hume and Jess Bailey on Unsplash
Disclosure: Private Practice Skills uses affiliate links. This means that when you make a purchase through my links I may earn a commission, which helps me continue creating more awesome content for you. Thank you!
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