How to Become a Hypnotherapist: Hypnotherapy Salaries and Training Info

How to Become a Hypnotherapist

Hypnotherapy is the clinical application of Hypnosis as a therapeutic practice. Hypnotherapy should not be confused with the broader applications of Hypnosis, which is often the term used when hypnosis is used for entertainment and recreational purposes (e.g Hypnosis stage shows). Hypnotherapists will typically use a range of techniques to try and encourage high levels of relaxation in their patients. Once this state of relaxation is achieved, hypnotherapists will try to affect change in the patient by encouraging positive behaviors and mental states.

Hypnotherapy is applicable in a wide range of fields, and most hypnotherapists tend to be specialists – specializations might include the following:

  • Marriage and relationship counseling
  • Grief Counseling
  • Working with Phobias
  • Substance Abuse
  • Behavior Modification (Insomnia, Weight Loss, Smoking Cessation etc)

There are some states that have laws that prevent the use of the word hypnotherapist (or any use of the word therapist for that matter) by anyone who is not a licensed healthcare professional. In other states, any practice of hypnosis is regulated directed by the state.

Breakdown of Regulation of Hypnotherapy/Hypnosis by State

Unregulated States Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin
States where ‘Non-Therapeutic’ Hypnosis is Unregulated Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming and Ontario.
States where Hypnosis is Directly Regulated California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire (regulation voluntary, otherwise Guild Standard), New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington.

*Source: This list is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of  July 2015, but we take no responsibility for factual errors on the breakdown of state regulations above. You should not rely solely on this information if you are planning to actually practice hypnosis. 

While it’s not strictly necessary, if you are interested in becoming a hypnotherapist, it is generally recommended that you pursue at least a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field.

The National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists (a non-official, voluntary certification organization) recommends that aspiring hypnotherapists graduate with at least bachelor’s degree from a CHEA accredited college or university.

If you’re 100% sure that you want to pursue a career as a hypnotherapist, you should pick a major that relates to the field – some suggestions might include Nursing, Social Work, Counseling, or Psychology. This way, even if you do not become a hypnotherapist, you may have an opportunity to perform hypnosis as a part of you overall duties.

Some certification organizations require that you obtain a graduate (masters) degree. Specific jobs in the field may also require a PHD, MD, and/or a state medical license. Sometimes, these organizations also require that aspiring hypnotherapists complete a certain amount of clinical training before they can become fully certified.

Hypnotherapists often spend many hours communicating with people, so it is important that you have strong communication skills. Also, a large part of practicing hypnotherapy is trying to help people overcome problems and issues in their daily lives, so this career may make sense for those of you who are highly empathetic and who’re eager to help others. Another thing to keep in mind is that many hypnotherapists manage their own schedules, so organizational skills and internal motivation are important factors to consider if you’re considering this as a career path.

Average Hypnotherapist Salary InformationHypnotherapist Salary Information

The Average Hypnotherapist Salary comes to approximately $58,000 a year. Salaries in the field can be quite wide ranging – entry level positions and relatively junior/inexperienced therapists may start off with salaries at about $32,000.

Experienced, successful hypnotherapists can earn about $90,000 a year on average. Obviously, there is room for significantly higher earnings than this depending on an individual’s relative success or failure in the field. If you end up being a famous or highly regarded hypnotherapy practitioner, you can definitely expect to earn substantially more than $90,000 a year.

Many hypnotherapists end up running their own small businesses, so success in this field will likely depend on more than just than expertise in hypnotherapy itself. Business acumen plays a large role in the success or failure of any small business. For those of you who aren’t too keen on going it alone, hypnotherapy may not be the right fit for you.

What is Hypnotherapy: How does Hypnotherapy Work

Hypnotherapy is the term used to describe the application of hypnosis techniques towards the purposes of improving a patient’s mental/physical health or general well-being.

A hypnotherapist will try to induce a state of high relaxation in the patient – this state is sometimes referred to as a ‘trance’ state. Some people become highly suggestible when in this trance state, and the hypnotherapist will attempt to use this suggestibility to encourage positive mental health improvements or behavioral changes.

Prior to working with a client, a responsible hypnotherapist will typically have a frank and honest conversation with the client. The hypnotherapist will go over the problems that the client is facing as well as their desired solutions. The Hypnotherapist will also provide a thorough explanation of the process of hypnosis and its potential effects.

While hypnosis can increase the suggestibility of a patient, it is a common misconception that hypnosis subjects can be ‘forced’ to do things that they otherwise would not do. In order for hypnosis to work, the client must be motivated to make a change – hypnosis can work as a form of encouragement that increases or decreases the likelihood of certain behaviors, but it cannot ‘force’ people to do things.

As an example, someone who adamantly does not want to stop smoking and only attends hypnotherapy sessions to appease a family member will not stop smoking regardless how adept the hypnotherapist is. The patient must want to quit smoking in order for there to be any chance of success.

That being said, hypnotherapy can be helpful in many situations, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Emotional Management (Stress, Anger, Anxiety, Grief etc)
  • Self Esteem/Confidence Improvement
  • Phobias
  • Addiction (Drugs, Smoking, Alcohol)
  • Behavior Modification (Insomnia, Weight Loss)
  • Relationships (Family, Relationships)

Hypnotherapists can end up working in a range of different environments – many hypnotherapists operate as small business owners and run their practices from home or in offices. In some cases, hypnotherapists may also work in hospitals, care centers, and other clinical environments. Where you end up working will largely depend on your specializations and your own personal preferences.

Hypnotherapy Training, Education and Certification Requirements

Hypnotherapy Training, Education and Certification Requirements

It is a common misconception that hypnotherapists must be licensed by the state, and need to acquire certification in order to get a license to practice. This is actually not true in every state.

In some states, hypnosis and hypnotherapy are completely unregulated. In a few states, there are regulations that govern whether or not you can use the term hypnotherapist (and more broadly, the term therapist), but there are no direct regulations overseeing the actual practice of hypnosis, as long as the hypnosis is not represented as the provision of a medical/healthcare related service. Lastly, there are states that directly regulate the practice of hypnosis. Refer to the table in the first section of this article to see the breakdown of regulations of hypnotherapy/hypnosis by state.

Despite the inconsistency in regulation, some hypnotherapists elect to voluntarily complete hypnotherapy/hypnosis certification with one of the various certification organizations out there. These organizations vary in terms of minimum educational requirements and clinical experience. Below is a list of some of these certification organizations:

American Society of Clinical Hypnosis

National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists

National Guild of Hypnotists

Additional Tips

  • Always review state guidelines. State regulations tend to vary, and over time regulations over the practice of hypnosis and hypnotherapy can also be updated. Some states may not require licenses. Before pursuing a position or opening a private practice, it’s important to review the state regulations.
  • Choose a specialty. According to the ASPH, choosing a specialty is one way to develop a professional practice and confidence. Just a few areas of specialization include athletic enhancement, cancer support, grief support, memory and recall, phobias, past life regression, sleep issues, smoking cessation and weight control.
  • Have a back-up plan. Being a professional hypnotist or hypnotherapist often means you need to run a small business – and unfortunately, small businesses do fail quite frequently. Have a backup plan in case your career as a hypnotherapist doesn’t pan out.
One comment
  1. Jay Tee

    November 8, 2015 at 2:08 am

    If you’re considering hypnotherapy as a career, be aware–you MUST be a people person and be willing to get involved with other people’s problems, as in any kind of therapy! This is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme, but rather a proper way to help people overcome internal conflicts.
    Please either learn from a professional, or do like I did study and build your knowledge slowly and carefully, so that you don’t create problems, rather than removing them!

    Contact me, Professor Jay Tee, through my website if you have questions about hypnosis or hypnotherapy. And best of luck to you if you decide to go ahead! It is a worthwhile life path, although it has some big bumps, too!


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