Average Therapist Salary in South Africa (2024)

The average Therapist’s Salary in South Africa is R35,279 per month. An entry-level Therapist earns a salary range of R20,000, a Mid-career level earns about R35,341, and a senior/experienced level earns R47,291 per month.

Average Therapist Salary in South Africa

Job Title Approximate Monthly Salary (ZAR)
Entry-Level Therapist 20,000
Mid-Career Therapist 35,341
Experienced Therapist 47,291

Types of Therapists and Their Functions in South Africa

In South Africa, mental health awareness has gained prominence, leading to an increased demand for various types of therapists who play crucial roles in addressing diverse psychological and emotional challenges. The country boasts a range of mental health professionals, each specializing in specific therapeutic approaches. Here is an overview of some prominent types of therapists and their functions in South Africa:

1. Clinical Psychologists

Clinical psychologists in South Africa are trained to assess and treat various mental health disorders. They employ evidence-based therapeutic techniques to help individuals cope with issues such as depression, anxiety, and trauma. Additionally, they often work with individuals dealing with severe psychological conditions.

2. Counsellors

Counsellors provide guidance and support to individuals facing personal, emotional, or interpersonal challenges. They offer a safe space for clients to explore their feelings and thoughts, helping them develop coping mechanisms and facilitating personal growth.

3. Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists in South Africa are medical doctors specializing in mental health. They can prescribe medication and combine it with psychotherapy to treat various mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression.

4. Educational Psychologists

Educational psychologists focus on addressing learning and developmental challenges in children and adolescents. They work closely with schools, parents, and teachers to create interventions that support academic and emotional well-being.

5. Occupational Therapists

While not exclusively mental health professionals, occupational therapists in South Africa may work in mental health settings, helping individuals with mental health challenges develop or regain daily life skills. They focus on improving functional independence and quality of life.

6. Social Workers

Social workers play a vital role in the mental health sector by addressing social factors that contribute to psychological distress. They provide counselling, advocacy, and support, especially for vulnerable populations facing challenges such as poverty, abuse, or discrimination.

7. Art Therapists

Art therapists use creative processes to help individuals express and explore their emotions. This therapeutic approach can be particularly effective for those who may find it challenging to communicate verbally about their feelings.

8. Marriage and Family Therapists

These therapists specialize in working with couples and families. They help navigate relationship challenges, communication issues, and family dynamics to foster healthier interpersonal connections.

9. Rehabilitation Counsellors

Rehabilitation counsellors assist individuals with disabilities, including mental health conditions, in achieving independence and integrating into society. They focus on vocational and social skills to enhance overall well-being.

The diverse range of therapists in South Africa reflects a comprehensive approach to mental health care, addressing the unique needs of individuals across the lifespan and in various contexts. The collaboration of these professionals contributes to a holistic and inclusive mental health support system in the country.

Factors Affecting Therapist Salaries in South Africa

The compensation of therapists in South Africa is influenced by various factors that contribute to the complex landscape of salary structures within the healthcare sector. Understanding these factors is crucial for therapists, employers, and policymakers to ensure fair remuneration and address challenges in attracting and retaining qualified professionals in the field.

1. Qualifications and Experience

Therapists with advanced degrees and extensive experience generally command higher salaries. Specialized certifications and continuous professional development can also positively impact salary levels.

2. Type of Therapy Practice

The nature of the therapeutic practice, whether in private clinics, public institutions, or non-profit organizations, can significantly affect salaries. Private practitioners often have more control over their fees and earnings compared to those employed in the public sector.

3. Geographic Location

Disparities in the cost of living and demand for therapy services across regions contribute to varying salary levels. Urban areas with higher living costs may offer higher salaries compared to rural areas.

4. Demand and Supply of Therapists

Shortages of therapists in specific regions or specialities can lead to increased demand and subsequently higher salaries. The oversaturation of therapists in certain areas may result in lower salary levels.

5. Economic Conditions

Economic factors such as inflation, currency fluctuations, and overall economic health can impact salary structures. Economic stability may positively influence salary growth and benefits.

6. Legislation and Healthcare Policies

Government regulations, licensing requirements, and healthcare policies play a crucial role in determining salary standards. Changes in legislation and policies can impact reimbursement rates, affecting the financial viability of therapy practices.

7. Employer Type

Therapists employed in government institutions, private clinics, or academic settings may experience different salary structures and benefits. Non-profit organizations may have budget constraints that affect compensation.

8. Patient Demographics

The demographic profile of the patient population served by therapists can influence the demand for services and, subsequently, salary levels. Therapists catering to niche markets may have unique earning dynamics.

9. Negotiation Skills

The ability of therapists to negotiate their salaries and benefits can significantly impact their overall compensation. Effective negotiation may lead to better financial packages and additional perks.

How to Become a Therapist in South Africa

Becoming a therapist in South Africa involves a series of steps, education, and practical experience. Here’s a detailed guide on how to pursue a career as a therapist in the country:

Educational Requirements

1. Choose a Specialization: Identify the type of therapy you want to specialize in, such as clinical psychology, counselling, occupational therapy, or social work.

2. Undergraduate Degree: Obtain a relevant bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, or a related field. Ensure the program is accredited by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) for future registration.

3. Honors or Postgraduate Study: Pursue an honors or postgraduate degree in your chosen field. This is a requirement for HPCSA registration.

Registration and Accreditation

4. HPCSA Registration: Apply for registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. This step is crucial for legally practising as a therapist.

5. Complete Internship/Practical Training: Fulfill the internship or practical training requirements specified by the HPCSA. This period is essential for gaining hands-on experience under supervision.

Professional Development

6. Continuing Professional Development (CPD): Engage in ongoing CPD activities to stay updated with the latest developments in your field. The HPCSA mandates CPD for the maintenance of registration.

Licensing and Certification

7. National Examination: Some therapeutic fields may require a national examination. Check the specific requirements for your specialization and prepare accordingly.

8. Professional Memberships: Join relevant professional associations in South Africa. Membership in organizations like the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) can provide networking opportunities and resources.

Building Practical Experience

9. Supervised Practice: Work in a supervised practice setting to gain practical experience and refine your skills. This could be part of your internship or additional postgraduate experience.

10. Private Practice or Employment: Decide whether you want to work in a private practice or join an established organization. Consider gaining diverse experience to enhance your professional profile.

Additional Considerations

11. Ethics and Cultural Competence: Stay informed about ethical guidelines and cultural competence relevant to the South African context. This is crucial for providing effective and sensitive therapy.

12. Networking and Collaboration: Build a professional network by attending conferences, and workshops, and connecting with colleagues. Collaboration can enhance your skills and broaden your opportunities.

Becoming a therapist in South Africa involves a combination of education, practical experience, and ongoing professional development. Adhering to the guidelines set by the Health Professions Council of South Africa and staying engaged with the professional community will contribute to a successful and fulfilling career in therapy.



The average Therapist’s Salary in South Africa is R35,279 per month. In summary, therapist salaries in South Africa are multifaceted, shaped by a combination of educational qualifications, experience, geographic location, economic factors, and healthcare policies. Recognizing these factors is crucial for stakeholders to establish fair compensation practices, address workforce challenges, and ensure the availability of quality mental health services across the country.