How Do I Become an ADHD Therapist?

For those who enjoy helping others, becoming a therapist, social worker, or psychologist is an excellent career choice. Within the field of counseling, many therapists choose to focus on specific issues, such as attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. In order to become an ADHD therapist, most jurisdictions require a student to complete an undergraduate degree as well as a master's or doctoral degree. While the time frame may vary widely by jurisdiction, a person who aspires to become an ADHD therapist can expect to spend six to 10 years in post-secondary education before achieving his or her goal.

The requirements necessary to become an ADHD therapist will be determined by the jurisdiction where the therapist plans to practice. Within the United States, state law determines what qualifications are needed in order to be a licensed therapist or psychologist. While the requirements may vary, an undergraduate degree in psychology, social work, or a related field is a necessary starting point in all cases.

In addition to the laws within the jurisdiction where the therapist wishes to work, a person wishing to become an ADHD therapist will need to determine exactly what type of work he or she wishes to pursue. There are many terms used within the field of counseling, such as therapist, counselor, psychologist, social worker, and psychiatrist. Although each of these describes a professional who works with people to try and solve mental health issues, some require more education than others. A psychiatrist, for example is someone who has received a medical license and may prescribe medicine to treat his or her patients. In most cases, the term "therapist" connotes someone who has received a doctoral level education, while the term "counselor" may refer to someone with only a bachelor or master's level education.

For someone who plans to receive a doctoral degree, he or she must apply to a doctoral program that offers students a doctorate in psychology or a related field. If the student plans to become a psychiatrist, then he or she must apply to medical school after completion of his or her undergraduate education. In either case, completion of the required post-secondary education is necessary to become an ADHD therapist.

After completion of all required education, most therapists must become licensed by completing any necessary licensing procedures or examinations required in the jurisdiction where he or she plans to work. In order to focus on ADHD therapy, a therapist should seek employment with a counseling group that focuses on ADHD or related issues. In addition, a therapist should take advantage of required continuing education requirements to gain additional, up-to-the-minute education regarding the treatment of ADHD patients.


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