The 2024 guide to becoming a CBT Therapist

CBT Therapist

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is becoming an ever-more popular and widely practised form of psychotherapy in the UK. 

Often used as a tool by the NHS to tackle anxiety and depression, CBT aims to change the way that a client thinks and feels when they are caught in a negative mental cycle.  

And the fact you’re reading this today suggests you might be thinking and feeling it may be the counselling specialism for you.

This free guide will help you find everything you need to know about becoming a CBT therapist in 2024.

So, let’s dive right in. 

1. What does a CBT therapist do?

2. Who can become a CBT therapist?

3. What qualifications do you need to be a CBT therapist?

4. How long does it take to become a CBT therapist?

5. Why become a CBT therapist?

6. How much can a CBT therapist earn?

7. Where can you study to become a CBT therapist?

1. What does a CBT therapist do?

A ‘CBT therapist’ is a mental health professional trained to provide CBT-based interventions to individuals struggling with various psychological issues. CBT is a widely recognised, evidence-based form of psychotherapy that focuses on identifying and modifying negative thought patterns and behaviours.

By identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviours, CBT therapists believe individuals can experience significant improvements in their mental well-being.

One of the primary responsibilities of a CBT therapist is conducting thorough assessments of their client’s mental health concerns. This involves delving into clients’ thoughts, emotions, and behaviours to gain a comprehensive understanding of their unique challenges.

With this insight, CBT therapists can create personalised treatment plans tailored to each client’s needs and goals. These plans address cognitive distortions, irrational thoughts, and maladaptive behaviours that may contribute to the client’s distress.

Through ongoing evaluation and progress monitoring, therapists ensure clients make meaningful strides towards improved mental well-being. Adjustments to the treatment plan are made as necessary to ensure continued progress.

To summarise, the main difference between CBT and other forms of therapy is that CBT is all about employing evidence-based therapeutic techniques. These techniques are aimed at helping clients challenge and reframe their negative thought patterns, manage their emotions effectively, and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Become a CBT Therapist with Astranti in 2024

Enrollment for our online CPCAB Level 5 CBT course is now open!

This full-day course consists of 17 weekly sessions, spread across 6 months.

Click the link below to learn more and book your place:

2. Who can become a CBT therapist?

To become a CBT therapist in the UK, you must have completed a CBT specialist course and complete your psychology education to a degree level or equivalent.

For most, this would be either completing a psychology-related degree and then doing a postgraduate CBT course, or training privately as a counsellor (to level 4) and then deciding to specialise. But more on that later!

Individuals undergoing CBT training typically need to have prior knowledge in areas such as research, theories of human development, psychological distress, and broader social context. However, it is worth noting for certain accredited courses like ours, you may need to provide evidence of the number of hours of training/experience in these areas.

Here’s a breakdown of the typical individuals who pursue a career as a CBT therapist:

Who can become a CBT therapist
Psychology Graduates:

Individuals with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology or a related field are well-suited to become CBT therapists. Their educational background provides a strong foundation for understanding human behaviour and mental processes.

Healthcare Professionals:

People with backgrounds in healthcare, such as nurses, social workers, and counsellors, can transition into CBT therapy with additional training. Their existing knowledge of patient care and empathy is a valuable asset.


Teachers and educators often possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills, which are beneficial in CBT therapy. They can undertake CBT training to expand their career options and, of course, help others.

Individuals with Personal Experience:

Some individuals who have personally benefited from CBT therapy may be inspired to become CBT therapists. Their own experiences can provide valuable insight and empathy when working with clients.

Individuals with Empathy and Compassion:

Above all, a genuine desire to help others, coupled with empathy and compassion, is a key trait for anyone aspiring to become a CBT therapist. These qualities are fundamental in building a strong therapeutic relationship.

3. What qualifications do you need to be a CBT therapist?

As previously mentioned above, enrolling in a specialised and accredited CBT course is an essential step for those aspiring to become CBT therapists in the UK. But what qualifications do you need to apply in the first place?

While the specific requirements may vary from each course, having a therapist-related degree or equivalent (level 4 counselling diploma) is usually the gold standard requirement.

To complete your CBT course, you will also likely need to gain practical experience and undergo CBT sessions during your own counselling practice. In addition to that, most courses will also require a minimum amount of your own personal therapy and internal written assessments.

CBT therapist qualifications
CBT courses

It’s important when comparing different CBT courses to look out for courses accredited by a counselling membership body, especially if you want to work for places like the NHS. 

At Astranti Connect, our level 5 CPCAB Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) course is recognised by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and is perfect for counsellors wanting to specialise in this area.

Find out more

4. How long does it take to become a CBT therapist?

The time it takes to become a CBT therapist can vary depending on several factors, including your educational background, the specific training program you choose, and the pace at which you complete your clinical hours and meet accreditation requirements. 

However, the average time to become fully qualified in the UK is usually around five years. 

Here are the two most common pathways to become fully qualified:

With a degree:

Step 1: Complete a therapist-related degree: Choose an undergraduate degree in a therapist-related field such as mental health nursing, social work, counselling, art therapy, or psychology. Typically, this degree takes three years to complete but can take up to four with a placement year.

Step 2: Postgraduate CBT training: Apply for and attend a postgraduate degree in an accredited CBT course. These courses are typically one year long.

Step 3: Supervised practice and placements: The duration can vary depending on each course, but it usually takes 6 to 12 months to achieve the required clinical hours. Please note that in some courses, you can achieve these hours alongside your CBT course. 

Without a degree:

Step 1: Complete your counselling training to levels 2-4: This typically takes 3 to 4 years. If you want to know more about how to become a fully qualified counsellor, check out our free guide

Step 2: Level 5 CBT accredited course: Attend a Level 5 CBT accredited course, like our own. This course usually takes one year, part-time.

Step 3: Supervised practice and placements: Similar to the degree path, the duration can vary, but it usually takes 6 to 12 months to achieve the required clinical hours. On some courses like ours, you can achieve these hours alongside your CBT course. 

Please note: That these timelines are general estimates, and the actual duration may vary based on specific programs, individual circumstances, and the pace at which you pursue your education and experience. Additionally, accreditation and licensing processes may add to the time required to become a fully qualified CBT therapist.

5. Why become a CBT therapist?

There are several reasons why individuals choose to become Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) therapists. According to the UK charity Mind, the most common psychological therapy offered to people in the UK is now CBT.

So, not only is there clearly a demand for CBT therapists, but it’s a career that can be fulfilling and rewarding for those passionate about helping others.

Here are some of the common motivations and benefits of becoming a CBT therapist:

Helping Others: Many people are drawn to CBT therapy because they have a strong desire to help individuals struggling with mental health issues. CBT therapists play a crucial role in assisting clients in overcoming challenges such as anxiety, depression, phobias, and other emotional disorders.

Evidence-Based Approach: CBT is well-established as an evidence-based approach to treating a wide range of mental health issues. Therapists who practice CBT can have confidence in the effectiveness of their methods and can often see tangible improvements in their clients’ lives.

Personal Satisfaction: CBT therapists often find personal satisfaction in witnessing their clients make positive changes and improve their mental health. The sense of accomplishment that comes from helping others can be deeply rewarding.

Versatile Skillset: CBT therapists acquire a versatile skillset that can be applied to various clinical settings. They can work with clients of all ages, from children to adults, and address a wide array of mental health concerns.

Autonomy and Flexibility: Many CBT therapists have the flexibility to work in various settings, including private practice, clinics, hospitals, schools, and corporate environments. This flexibility allows them to tailor their career to their interests and lifestyles.

Good Job Prospects and financial rewards: As awareness of mental health issues grows, the demand for mental health services, including CBT therapy, continues to rise. This can lead to good job prospects and the potential for higher job security and an increased salary.

6. How much can a CBT therapist earn?

According to the UK government, CBT therapists can earn an average salary of £33,706 to £47,672 annually. However, the earning potential can vary significantly based on several factors, including location, experience level, type of employment, and specialisation.

Here are some general guidelines for CBT therapist earnings:


The geographic location plays a significant role in determining a CBT therapist’s income. In major cities and areas with a high cost of living, like London, therapists typically command higher fees.


Experienced CBT therapists who have been practising for several years often earn more than those who are just starting out in their careers. As you gain experience and build a reputation, you can charge higher rates.

CBT therapist salary

Type of Employment:

Private Practice: CBT therapists in private practice have the potential to earn more because they set their own fees and may have a larger share of the income generated from their services. Usually, the average price for a private CBT therapist is £60-100 per session.

Public Sector: CBT therapists working in the public sector, such as within the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, typically have set salary scales. Salaries in the public sector can vary based on experience and job responsibilities. Working for the NHS, CBT therapists earn anywhere from £28,000-55,000 a year. 

Nonprofit Organisations: Therapists working for nonprofit organisations may earn salaries that are competitive with the local market but may be lower than private practice rates.


Some CBT therapists choose to specialise in specific areas, such as trauma, addiction, or eating disorders. Specialised therapists may be able to command higher fees due to their expertise and start to earn around £45,000+.

To get a more precise understanding of CBT therapist earnings in your specific region and circumstances, it’s advisable to research local market rates, consult with professional organisations, and network with other therapists in your area. Additionally, consider factors like your overhead costs (e.g., office space, insurance, licensing fees) when determining your overall income.

7. Where can you study to become a CBT therapist?

In the UK, accredited CBT therapy courses can be pursued through three primary types of institutions: universities, colleges, and specialised training providers. Each of these options offers distinct advantages and considerations. Here’s a checklist outlining what each type has to offer.


Local College University Specialised Training provider
Expert Tutors ?

High-quality training ?

Flexibility on course dates


Research Opportunities


Small class sizes

Online course options

Practical teaching approach

Intensive short courses

Funding options



In summary, if you’re still considering a career as a CBT therapist, you should now have a clear understanding of the qualifications required to become qualified, a deeper insight into their role, the motivating factors behind choosing this path, and the income potential for CBT therapists in the UK.

Additionally, and more importantly, you should now have a better understanding of where to start your training and how to embark on your exciting journey into the field of CBT.

Become a CBT Therapist with Astranti this June

Enrollment for our online CPCAB Level 5 CBT course is now open!

This full-day course consists of 17 weekly sessions, spread across 6 months.

Click the link below to learn more and book your place:


Illustration by Storyset.