How to Become a Hypnotherapist (Duties, Salary and Steps)

It’s one of the most rewarding jobs out there.

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

How to become a hypnotherapist

“The history of hypnosis is as ancient as that of sorcery, magic and medicine,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Despite having been around for centuries (if not millennia), hypnotherapy was only studied more closely in the Western world from the late 18th century onwards; today, evidence has confirmed its efficacy in soothing pain and anxiety.

If the practice intrigues you, and you dream of making a career out of it, read on: we’ll be outlining in more detail what a hypnotherapist’s duties are, what their work environment is like, how much they earn, and what skills and qualifications they need to have!

What is a hypnotherapist?

A hypnotherapist is someone who guides their clients into a state of hypnosis, which is described as a state of deep focus and relaxation. This is said to reduce the “noise” of day-to-day distractions for the client, allowing them to become more receptive to the idea of making changes regarding their health and wellbeing.

What does a hypnotherapist do?

A hypnotherapy session typically comprises four stages: the induction stage, the deepener stage, the suggestions stage, and the emergence stage. Each step in the session will require the therapist to use different techniques to reach the desired result.

But there’s more to the profession than that; from the moment they take on a client to the final session they have with them, hypnotists:

  • Discuss with clients to identify the challenge or condition that’s affecting them
  • Determine the appropriate duration and frequency of the sessions
  • Explain how hypnosis works and answer questions prior to the session
  • Guide their clients in and out of a state of hypnosis using different techniques
  • Follow up with the clients to determine how successful the treatment is

Where do hypnotherapists work?

Hypnotherapists are often self-employed, working from their own private practices. As the success of their practice relies on the client reaching a heightened state of focus and relaxation, their offices are designed to be welcoming, quiet and comfortable — so it helps to know a thing or two about interior decor!

It’s not uncommon, however, for them to find employment in clinics, hospitals and wellness centers. After all, hypnosis is commonly used alongside other therapies and treatments, and not that often on its own.

Although working in hypnotherapy means working in secure indoor settings, the job itself can be stressful: providing a health service comes with heavy responsibility.

How many hours do they work?

Working patterns for hypnotherapists can vary. On average, hypnotherapy sessions last between one and two hours, so the hours worked on any given day will depend on the number of appointments the hypnotherapist has booked.

Though hypnotherapists working in clinics will need to offer their services during the hours the facility remains open, it’s not uncommon for self-employed hypnotherapists to schedule in appointments in the evenings and on the weekends.

How much do they earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wages Statistics survey, therapists (referring to professionals who fall under the “Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations” category) earn a mean hourly wage of $34.55. That is the equivalent of $71,860 a year.

Those in the 10th percentile earn $37,990 a year, while those in the 90th percentile take home $111,800 — which translates into more than $50 an hour!

In terms of the highest-paying states for therapists, they are:

  • Oregon ($135,180)
  • South Dakota ($93,090)
  • North Dakota ($89,230)
  • Washington ($86,300)
  • Nevada ($84,640)

In a snapshot:

Hypnotherapist Salary

What’s the job outlook for hypnotherapists?

Many hypnotists will offer hypnotherapy sessions along with other services. They may be clinical psychologists, for example, who have received additional training outside of their postgraduate studies to incorporate hypnosis into their treatment plans.

As most hypnotists come from a medical or mental health background, therefore, they enjoy excellent job security: according to the BLS, healthcare occupations are expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations, with 1.8 million job openings having been projected every year for the 2022–2032 period.

In that same period, jobs for therapists in particular have been projected to grow at a rate of 9% or higher, which, similarly, is much faster than the average for most occupations.

What are the entry requirements?

Aspiring hypnotherapists must meet the following prerequisites to practice the profession successfully:


Many professionals who receive training in hypnotherapy are also licensed in a medical or mental health field, such as psychotherapy.

The minimum educational requirements you’ll need to fulfill will depend on the hypnotherapy certification program you choose to enroll in.

Skills and qualities

Hypnotherapists must demonstrate a number of soft skills and personal qualities, with the most fundamental ones being integrity, trustworthiness, active listening and empathy. As you’ll be dealing with people in a vulnerable state, interpersonal skills and high ethical standards are a must.

Licenses and certifications

Though there are many certification programs to choose from, some of the most popular certifying bodies, like the National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists and the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, require aspiring hypnotherapists to hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree. This will typically be in a medical or mental health field.

Bear in mind that the licensing requirements for becoming a hypnotherapist will depend on where you live. Some states don’t regulate this practice.

Do you have what it takes?

To create a career path that you love and thrive in, you must take into account your strengths, personality and work motivators.

Though you might know for a fact that you want your job to be meaningful and put you in a position to help people, there are many different types of career paths that could fulfill this need for you.

To narrow things down and find the role that suits you best, we recommend taking an aptitude or personality test, such as the ones on our own career-matching platform, CareerHunter.

How to become a hypnotherapist

As the requirements for working as a hypnotherapist vary across states, not everyone will follow the same path to become one. The steps outlined below, however, are typical for most.

Step 1: Complete a bachelor’s degree

Although it may not be a strict requirement in some cases, pursuing an undergraduate degree prior to getting your hypnotherapy certification can equip you with vital skills and knowledge, allowing you to excel in your career.

Professional hypnotherapists often hold a bachelor’s degree in a field related to medicine, social work or psychology.

As hypnotherapists use hypnosis to treat different conditions, including symptoms of IBS and chronic pains, they benefit greatly from possessing relevant knowledge that enables them to identify and assess the problem, and come up with the most appropriate plan of action.

Step 2: Explore the different areas hypnotherapy

Different hypnotists may specialize in different areas of hypnotherapy. Depending on your future career goals, you’ll want to read up on the different kinds of hypnotherapy and see which one most closely aligns with the daily, professional routine you envision for yourself.

Among the most common types of hypnotherapy are:

  • Traditional hypnotherapy, which relies on making suggestions and commands while the patient is under hypnosis
  • Ericksonian hypnotherapy, named after medical hypnotist Milton Erickson, which incorporates the use of metaphors, storytelling and indirect suggestions
  • Cognitive-behavioral hypnotherapy, which draws on cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy and utilizes tools such as imagination and conceptualization

3. Complete an optional master’s degree

As this requires you to invest a significant amount of time and money, make sure you carefully consider the area of hypnotherapy you want to work in down the line as well as the different training programs you could enroll in to achieve your goals.

Not all hypnotherapy training courses will have the same requirements, so having a clear understanding of what you’re working towards will allow you to move methodically.

As mentioned, some hypnotherapy training programs will require interested healthcare professionals to be educated to master’s degree in order to enroll.

Step 4: Complete your certification

During your undergraduate or graduate studies, it’s a good idea to speak to your professors about your career goals — particularly to any professors who have practiced hypnotherapy themselves or know a colleague who has.

Networking prior to selecting your certification program can equip you with knowledge and insights, allowing you to make the most informed choice possible while honoring your interests and aspirations.

Step 5: Maintain an active license and certification

Depending on the body that awards you your hypnotherapist’s certification, you may need to renew it every few years. If you receive training by the ASCH, for example, your certification will require renewal every three years.

This also applies to maintaining your medical license and any related permits for operating your own medical practice (which are also subject to your locality), should you go down the self-employed route.

Key takeaways

A career in hypnotherapy can offer a lot: job security, a high salary, and plenty of opportunities for career development.

To summarize what we learned about this rewarding career:

  • Before you can take the first step in your career as a hypnotherapist, you must look into the requirements for hypnotists in your area, as these differ from state to state.
  • Not all hypnotherapists follow the same approach. Within the field, different career paths include those of clinical hypnotherapists and Ericksonian hypnotherapists.
  • A hypnotist’s job responsibilities include assessing the client’s condition and monitoring their progress to ensure that the most effective approach is being followed.
  • In the majority of cases, hypnotherapists come from a medical, social work or psychotherapy background, incorporating hypnosis into varied treatment plans.

Can you see yourself working as a hypnotist? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!