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Career Definition of a Gender Therapist
Gender therapists are licensed mental health professionals typically providing therapeutic support to members of the LGBTQ+ community and specializing in areas of gender identity. They will also have resources and materials available to help with gender transition, and they support their clients through experiences of transphobia, gender dysphoria, and healthcare issues that can arise for gender nonconforming clients. Gender therapists can be employed at community mental health centers or medical centers, or they may work as private practice therapists.
|Educational Requirements||Varies by state; typically a graduate degree is required, such as a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in Psychology or a master's degree in psychology, social work, or counseling|
|Job Skills||Strong listening and analysis skills, empathy, flexibility, rapport building skills and self-awareness; strong knowledge and experience in gender studies and transgender issues, as well as current healthcare and employment laws and regulations|
|Mean Salary (2017)*||$81,330 (clinical, counseling, and school psychologists)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||14% (all psychologists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The range of positions available within the therapy career path is reflective of the multiple education options open to individuals wanting to become therapists. Depending on whether individuals are pursuing certification in counseling, social work, or psychology, they may need to obtain a Ph.D., a master's degree, and/or different certifications or licenses based on state requirements. Gender therapists will also be required to obtain clinical hours, usually under supervision from a licensed clinical supervisor. These hours will be made up of client-facing time, education and training, and practice-management or other clerical hours.
Gender therapists need to possess the prerequisites of working in the mental health field - strong listening and analysis skills, empathy and flexibility, as well as rapport building skills and self-awareness. To specialize in gender therapy, individuals should have strong knowledge and experience in gender studies and transgender issues, as well as current healthcare and employment laws and regulations.
Post-graduation training will include the studying of Continuing Education Units (CEUs). These courses provide therapists the opportunity to gain specialized skills in their preferred areas of treatment. Some examples of CEUs for gender therapists may include sex positivity courses, gender affirmative treatments, gender diversity studies, and transgender youth counseling models.
Training is available through online resources and also in-person classes, typically taught by a supervisor or professor in the field. A certain number of CEUs are typically required for licensure with the state, but the topics are not directly specified. This means therapists are able to choose credits that reflect their potential client-base, their workplace environment, or in the case of a gender therapist, the spectrum of gender studies and issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.
Career Outlook & Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the job outlook for the occupation of psychologist is expected to increase faster than average between 2016 and 2026, by an estimated 14%.
Individuals hoping to follow the gender therapy career path may further improve their job prospects through additional education, training, and client experience. In May 2017, the BLS reported that the mean annual wage for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists was $81,330. This may vary with education, geographic location, and workplace environment. For example, because a private practice therapist is able to determine their own price for treatment, they may have an opportunity to out-earn their mental health center-based peers. However, a private practice therapist will also be in charge of their own marketing, promotion, and business management, which can take up a lot of time and money.