How to Be a Certified Hypnotherapist

Learn the requirements for becoming a certified hypnotherapist, including the education needed, the potential salary, the key skills and the certification procedures. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Hypnotherapists use hypnosis to help people achieve personal goals like quitting smoking, losing weight or conquering insomnia. While there are no degree requirements for practicing the profession, many have at least a bachelor's degree and certification often requires a graduate degree. For a quick overview of the career, see the chart below.

Typical Entry-Level Degree Bachelor's degree, certification often requires a graduate degree
Training Required Hypnotherapy courses
Key Skills Listening, compassion
Certification Voluntary
Median Salary (2019) $64,000*

Source: *Payscale.com

What Do Hypnotherapists Do?

Hypnotherapists consult with clients to understand the nature of their issue. Then, they use a range of techniques to guide clients into a deeply relaxed, trance-like state. In this state, they can turn deeply inward to access tools to help them change behaviors or better their lives. Some applications for hypnotherapy include helping clients quit smoking, lose weight, overcome anxiety or perform better athletically. It's important to note that hypnotherapists, unlike medical doctors or psychiatrists, don't diagnose or treat any medical or psychological disorder.

What Degree Do You Need to Become a Hypnotherapist?

While there's no degree required to become a hypnotherapist, many in the industry do hold a postsecondary degree in a related field. To become a hypnotherapist, most go to a hypnotherapy school and learn several techniques for putting people into a deep, hypnotic state (and how to speak to them when they're 'under'). Most schools assign homework, too, such as practicing hypnotizing everyone you know.

Do You Need to Be Certified?

The field of hypnotherapy is self-regulated so certification is voluntary. The National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists is one of the more respected certification organizations. It sets forth a variety of standards for certification including these: candidates must have a graduate degree in an appropriate discipline and complete 50 hours of coursework in hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapists can advance their careers by obtaining a diplomate -- this requires three years and 150 hours of treating clients -- or becoming a fellow by being in practice for three years and logging 250 hours of relevant hypnotherapy with clients.

What Skills Do You Need to Become One?

With training, almost anyone can learn to hypnotize another person. However, it takes a specific set of skills to be successful as a hypnotherapist. Being able to communicate effectively is incredibly important. As a hypnotherapist, you'll have to listen to your clients' problems, respond in ways that demonstrate compassion and do follow-ups to gauge their progress. A client may come to you with a phobia that seems irrational, but you need to treat it with an open mind, consistent professionalism and a deep caring for the person you're helping.

How Much Do Hypnotherapists Make?

Unlike many professions, where candidates are hired by a company, hypnotherapists hang their shingles and their salary depends largely on how many clients they have. In other words, they typically open their own office or rent a space and rely on advertising or word of mouth to bring in money. That said, the site Payscale.com offers some ballpark figures for the career, including a median annual salary of $64,000 as of 2019.

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