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Telehealth and teletherapy are growing in popularity among patients due to their accessibility and affordability. Fortunately, there are no additional requirements or credentials needed for mental health or substance abuse counselors to transition to the online space.
Teletherapists provide online counseling to patients struggling with substance use disorders or mental health conditions, helping them improve their wellbeing and learn healthy strategies for dealing with life situations. Many communities throughout the U.S. face a lack of mental health care and recovery resources, which makes teletherapy ideal for those who would otherwise be unable to find the help they need.
The demand for mental health and substance abuse counselor roles is predicted to rise by 22% by 2028. The median pay is estimated to be around $44,630. These roles, as well as many other addiction-related positions, can be done online or in person.
Demand is expected to grow because more people with drug-related crimes are being given mandatory treatment and counseling as part of their sentencing. Additionally, rates of mental health issues in young people are rising, which will likely lead to a greater need for counselors.
Clients practicing social distancing due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can also stay safe in their homes while using teletherapy services. This may significantly increase the demand for online counselors and motivate states to update telehealth policies to meet the changing needs of clients.
A variety of mental health and addiction recovery roles can be done online. These include:
In general, online mental health and substance abuse counselors provide resources and knowledge to people struggling with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. Their duties may include:
Online counselors may work through a clinic’s telehealth services or they may work through other professional internet platforms. Through these services, they can hold individual and group sessions for people in outpatient care or long-term recovery. They may reach their clients through video conferences, chat rooms, phone calls, text messages or emails.
The path toward becoming an online counselor involves becoming a licensed mental health counselor, or substance abuse counselor or clinical therapist first. There are no additional requirements needed to work in teletherapy.
Typically, online counselors must have the following:
Many online organizations directly hire or provide a platform for teletherapists, including BetterHelp, Talkspace, DotCom Therapy and Smart IOP. Counselors and therapists can also search job boards or inquire with local hospitals, clinics, rehab facilities and mental health organizations about potential telehealth job openings.
The Recovery Village is part of a nationwide network of accredited addiction treatment facilities. With locations across the country and a staff that holds over 3,000 professional credentials collectively, our evidence-based approach to addiction treatment has received a variety of accolades. We are always ready to welcome new professionals to our team, either locally at our facilities or nationally through our telehealth app. We often have openings for teletherapists and other online roles for The Recovery Village Telehealth app. View the most up-to-date positions available at our job portal website.
It varies depending on whether the therapist is working for a healthcare organization or an exclusively online platform. It can also depend on whether the platform takes insurance or uses a pay-per-session model. The median annual wage for salaried substance abuse and mental health counselors was $44,630 in 2018.
Many internet-based telehealth companies hire counselors as 1099 employees, but online counselors operating from clinics and similar facilities are usually salaried employees.
Counselors should only provide therapy to clients within the same state or any other state where they hold a license.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Telehealth in Rural Communities.” May 31, 2019. Accessed April 12, 2020.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors.” September 4, 2019. Accessed April 12, 2020.
American Psychological Association. “Mental health issues increased significantly in young adults over last decade.” ScienceDaily, March 15, 2019. Accessed April 12, 2020.
Center for Connected Health Policy. “State Telehealth Laws & Reimbursement Policies.” The National Telehealth Policy Resource Center, Fall 2019. Accessed April 12, 2020.
Novotney, Amy. “5 ways to avoid malpractice.” American Psychological Association, March 2016. Accessed April 12, 2020.