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Cognitive behavioural therapist

Cognitive behavioural therapists help patients change negative patterns of thinking or behaviour with talking therapy.

Annual Salary

£35,000 to £50,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 a week

You could work: between 8am and 6pm;

Future employment

There will be 3.8% more Cognitive behavioural therapist jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

You could work with individuals or groups to:

  • assess if a client will benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy
  • discuss therapy plans, build trust and teach skills and techniques
  • focus on what a client wants to change and encourage them to talk
  • give advice to other health professionals and talk to family members
  • keep records and follow data protection and confidentiality rules

Working environment

You could work at a health centre, in an NHS or private hospital, in the community, in a prison or in a therapy clinic.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

You can get into this job through a university course or by applying directly.


You'll usually need an accredited postgraduate course in cognitive behavioural therapy and experience of working in mental health.

To do a postgraduate course, you'll usually need a degree in a health and social care subject like:

  • mental health nursing
  • social work
  • counselling
  • art therapy
  • psychology

You might be able to get onto a postgraduate course without a degree if you have the knowledge, skills and attitudes required by the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information
Volunteering and work experience

You'll find it useful to get experience of working in mental health.

You could:

Direct application

If you're already a qualified healthcare professional, you might be able to do cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) training with the NHS.

You could apply for roles like trainee psychological wellbeing practitioner or high intensity therapist.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) for professional accreditation and training opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a cognitive behavioural therapist from the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) and Health Careers.

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With experience you could:supervise other cognitive behavioural therapists; work as an independent practitioner and set up your own practice to see clients privately; specialise in teaching or research for a healthcare trust, college or university

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • active listening skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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