How to Become a

Sexual Abuse Therapist

The complete career guide to be a Sexual Abuse Therapist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $47,950
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 11%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Good Entry Level Salary
    Career Attribute

Sexual abuse therapists are mental health counselors who deal specifically with patients who’ve suffered from sexual abuse. They work with both male and female patients of all ages and teach patients how to overcome fear and other negative behaviors associated with surviving a sexual assault.

Recommended Schools

What is a Sexual Abuse Therapist?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in sexual abuse therapist roles:

  • Engage in counseling sessions with patients who’ve suffered from sexual abuse, either in one-on-one or group sessions
  • Encourage patients to share their thoughts and feelings openly during sessions in order to best evaluate patient needs
  • Educate patients on strategies for overcoming fear and managing thoughts and emotions that are the result of sexual abuse
  • Refer patients, when needed, to other services when counseling and behavior modifications are insufficient in helping the patient move on with his/her life

A Day in the Life

Sexual abuse therapists are trained mental health counselors who’ve chosen to focus their efforts on caring for survivors of sexual abuse. Their patients may be male or female, and they may be of any age. Sometimes, help from a sexual abuse therapist is sought immediately after an encounter, and sometimes patients who were assaulted as children seek therapy later in life due to an inability to maintain relationships or control fear, or due to substance abuse issues.

Sexual abuse therapists may work individually with patients, and they may also conduct group therapy sessions where patients can learn from other abuse survivors. They listen to patients in order to understand and evaluate needs, and they arm patients with strategies for overcoming the negative beliefs and emotions that resulted from their abuse. This may include thought and behavior modification, role-modeling, and continued counseling.

Often, sexual abuse therapists are employed by nonprofit organizations that support disadvantaged women and children. These organizations help women get back on their feet after a bad marriage that may have included sexual abuse. Often, these women and children are dealing with a variety of unhealthy mental processes, such as depression, anxiety, low self-confidence, grief, and fear. Sexual abuse therapists help these women and children overcome these emotions so they can move forward and begin healthy new lives.

Typical Work Schedule

Most sexual abuse therapist roles are full-time and are conducted during normal business hours. In many cases, the shifts worked depend on the employer, so some sexual abuse therapists may also need to work in evenings or on weekends to be available when needed by patients.

Typical Employers

Sexual abuse therapists may work for hospitals, mental health institutions, nonprofit organizations, or government agencies, or they may work within private counseling practices.

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How To Become a Sexual Abuse Therapist

Sexual abuse therapists are general mental health therapists that specialize in treating patients who’ve suffered from sexual abuse, so the requirements for the role are similar to that of any therapist role. Aspiring sexual abuse therapists must start their education by earning a bachelor’s degree. While some pursue bachelor’s degrees in psychology or counseling, a bachelor’s in social work may provide a more relevant education for your chosen career.

With a bachelor’s in social work, aspiring sexual abuse therapists can begin working in the field as a case worker for a social services agency. This role will allow experience with the types of people you’ll likely work with as a sexual abuse therapist, as cases may involve some forms of sexual abuse in the household. While working in the field, aspiring sexual abuse therapists should also pursue a master’s degree. A master’s degree is a requirement for using the therapist title.

Common master’s degrees include psychology, social work, or counseling. With a master’s degree, aspiring sexual abuse therapists can then seek licensure in their state. State licensure procedures vary by state, but typically require completion of as many as 2,000 hours of supervised training under a professional therapist as part of an internship or residency, and passing a written exam. Additionally, continuing education is commonly required in order to maintain your license.

Sexual Abuse Therapist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Sexual Abuse Therapist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Sexual Abuse Therapist's can make an average annual salary of $47,950, or $23 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $34,010 or $16 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #416 Nationally for All Careers

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Sexual Abuse Therapist. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Sexual Abuse Therapists

  • 5.4%   Doctorate
  • 48%   Masters
  • 25.1%   Bachelors
  • 5.4%   Associates
  • 10.1%   College
  • 5%   High School
  • 1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Sexual Abuse Therapist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 3,400 jobs for a total of 34,400 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 11% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #161 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Sexual Abuse Therapists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Elementary and secondary schools; local 4,600 300 0%
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 4,400 300 0%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 2,700 --- ---

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