What You Need To Know Before You Become A Certified Hypnotherapist

Hypnotherapy knowledge is only part of it.

In order to become a certified hypnotherapist and feel confident and prepared and excited about it, you need a plan. First, let's start with the 5 Ws (and H):

This page assumes you are starting at the very beginning, and have not take a hypnotherapy course or even learned much about hypnosis and hypnotherapy.

If that assumption is true, then you're in the right place.

If you have already taken a course and are ready to become IHA certified, feel free to go straight to the IHA application page.

Why Do I Need To Have A Plan?

Plan to become a certified hypnotherapist.

"But I haven't even taken a class yet!", you say.

So why worry about knowing who you want to work with and what you want to work on, and why you want those things... BEFORE you take your hypnotherapy courses?

Because it will help frame everything you learn. Is it absolutely necessary? NO - of course you can start learning hypnosis without knowing where you're going with it. 

But if you want to have a plan that will get you set up for success from the very beginning, having a framework to house what you learn in your hypnotherapy course can be very useful. Frankly, these are questions anyone beginning a career should be asking themselves anyway. But it is even more important when considering a career in a field like hypnotherapy.

Step 1: The Who, What, and Why?

Who Are Your Hypnotherapy Clients?

Who are your hypnotherapy clients?

Becoming a Certified Hypnotherapist, particularly if you also learn NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming), has an inherent trap for the newly educated, eager hypnotherapist.

We all learn at the beginning that hypnosis can help with almost everything.

Knowing that causes most new hypnotherapists fall into the trap of trying to do too much for too many.

Yes, it's true - as a hypnotherapist, you can help a lot of people with a lot of different issues. However, that may not be the best strategy for building a business and reputation as a hypnotherapist.

Hypnotherapy is a business, and business people around the world have learned one key lesson: find your niche. A hypnotherapy business is much more likely to be successful if the hypnotherapist has a primary focus. That doesn't mean that you won't use hypnosis for a wide variety of issues.

It just means that a good plan will include a focus on what you're interested in, or have previous knowledge of, when first starting out.

This isn't as much about what you CAN do as it is about finding the people who will want to work with you, specifically. What makes you unique? Who you have as clients may be part of the answer to that question.

Here are some examples of "who?":

  • Athletes
  • Medical professionals
  • Healers such as massage therapists or acupuncturists
  • Spiritual people
  • Women of a certain age
  • Pregnant women
  • People in the LGBTQ community
  • People in a certain age group
  • People who want to lose weight
  • People who want to quit smoking

As you can imagine, the list could go on forever. So, think about yourself and answer the following questions:

  1. Who might you be the best situated to help?
  2. Are there aspects of yourself that give you experiences or knowledge that would help create rapport and trust with future clients?

What Do You Want To Work On?

Choose what you want to work on.

Once you have an idea of who you want to work with, next think about what you would like to work on. For instance, let's say you are interested in working with people in the LGBTQ community.

That alone may be niche enough, but perhaps you specifically want to help those who have been ostracized by family to recover and heal from that experience. 

  • Or perhaps you want to help women going through menopause come to grips with their new reality 
  • Or people who have just retired get ready for their next phase of life
  • Or people who have just graduated from high school or college get ready for THEIR next phase of life
  • Or people looking to lose weight, or quit smoking, or other habit changes.

In other words, knowing that hypnosis can help with almost everything doesn't mean that your focus should be on almost everything. Especially when you are just beginning and looking to build a hypnotherapy practice from the ground up.



Why do you want to work with the clients you are targeting on the issues you have chosen?

It's time to dig a little deeper and answer this question more specifically.

Will it be more fulfilling for you to help athletes improve their game?

Do you have personal experience or someone you love within LGBTQ community?

Did you have an uncle that got sick from smoking too much?

What is your because??? 

Write a statement including who you want to work with and why.

If you would like, make it a goal statement written in the positive present (make sure you're specific). 

For Example

DON'T Write:
I want to work with athletes because I think there is great money in it.

DO Write:
I earn $100,000 a year as a Certified Hypnotherapist working with athletes to improve sports performance.

Hypnotherapy Specialties

We talked about finding "your people" above, however another aspect to becoming a certified hypnotherapist if deciding if you want to specialize in a particular type of hypnotherapy. Here is a list of just some of the specialties found in the field of hypnotherapy. For most of these, you can find a course focused on specialty certification.

  1. 1
    Pain Management
  2. 2
  3. 3
    Weight Loss
  4. 4
    Better Sleep
  5. 5
    Smoking Cessation
  6. 6
    Giving Birth
  7. 7
    Sports Performance
  8. 8
    Chronic Disease Management

Step 2: The Where, When, and How Much?

Now that you have some clarity about the who, what and why of it all, the next things to consider are logistics.

Where Can I Learn Hypnotherapy and get certified?

Where do I find a hypnotherapy certification course?

Now that you have what you need to know in order to find a course that will meet your needs, it is a simple matter of doing a bit of online research.

We have a list of IHA Approved Courses, which will allow you to sort through courses in various locations, offering Hypnotherapy or NLP (or both) certification that will automatically qualify you for IHA certification and membership.

However, if you wish to explore further, we suggestion simply typing "hypnotherapy courses near me" into the search bar below to find hypnosis courses near you. Or copy the search term and paste into your favorite search engine.

This is a Google search ... please skip the ads and go to the more relevant results below.

When can I take a hypnotherapy course and how long will it take?

How long does hypnotherapy training last?

The when depends in part on whether you will be attending a hypnotherapy course that is live, or taking an online course. Most trainers/schools have a schedule, and you should be able to start your hypnotherapy course within a few months, if not immediately.

Some courses offer options regarding the coursework, and you may be able to find a course that is a combination of in person training and online study.

Hypnosis certification courses tend to average 120 hours of course work, although like everything else in the industry, this varies. If you take an online course and are able to control how many hours you study per day or week, you could be certified in fairly short order. However, in general, expect 3 months to a year to get fully certified and prepared to see clients.

After that, continue your studies for the length of your career. There is ALWAYS more to learn, and you will find that an ongoing education keeps your knowledge and interest fresh.

How much does hypnotherapy certification training cost?

What does hypnotherapy training cost?

If you search on Google to find “Hypnotherapy Training”, you might find courses that are 2.5 hours long and range from $15.00 on sale on Udemy, to courses that require hundreds of hours of commitment and can cost thousands of dollars at someplace like the Hypnosis Motivation Institute.

Both ends of the time and cost spectrums have their legitimate place in the hypnotherapy training industry.

However, if you wish to become a respected and successful Certified Hypnotherapist, a 2.5 hour course is not going to be enough. It might be a great way to get started, though.

Obviously we cannot address every course and what it costs. And course pricing is going to differ based on location, length, and delivery. Online courses will tend to be less costly, but that is not always the case.

As a general rule of thumb, in the US, if a course is TOO cheap ($15 - $100), you may not get all that you're looking for. However, you can find courses that might meet your needs starting at anywhere from $200 to $1,000, depending on your personal criteria.


Be wary. There are a lot of fraudulent claims on the internet, so anyone that claims to have “THE BEST” hypnotherapy course should at the very least inspire you to look more closely at their credentials.

After all, the best according to whom?

And pay attention to the accreditations & certifications that they claim. Check them. Make sure you trust the training provider and that you will receive the training you are seeking.

We recommend looking for courses that have a recognized and legitimate 3rd party that has accredited or approved their course.

We have our own list, of course, but there are other reputable organizations that you can trust as well. You may also wish to talk to other certified hypnotherapists and ask them about their training.

Step 3: The "What Do I Do Next?"

Hypnotherapist Certification Requirements

Certified Hypnotherapist - certification requirements vary.

Hypnotherapy certification requirements vary wildly.

Most hypnotherapists will receive a course completion certificate from their training provider. Once you have that, it behooves you to join one or more national and international organizations, to solidify and back up your course certificate.

Anyone can put together a course and offer a certificate that says you are a "Certified Hypnotherapist".

Not all of those courses will meet the standards necessary to be a legitimately certified hypnotherapist.

Having a secondary certificate from a national or international certifying organization lends credence to your course certificate.

Most hypnotherapy organizations have a membership fee and offer a certificate. Check that whatever organization you join has criteria regarding the coursework you have taken, to ensure that the organization certificate means something.

For instance, the IHA reviews the course content of each member's coursework. 

We have a list of courses that have submitted their course content for approval. We review that content at no cost to the provider, and if it meets our criteria, we add that course to our IHA Approved Courses list.

If the membership applicant has not taken an IHA approved course, we request the necessary documentation to review the course content of the course the applicant DID take. In this way we maintain a level of assurance that any member of the IHA has received hypnotherapy training that ensures their competence in hypnotherapy.

If you want to practice hypnotherapy confidently, and assure your clients that working with you is safe and effective, then it is up to you to ensure you have the necessary education and credentials.

Look for a hypnotherapy course that satisfies certification requirements and provides you with the necessary credentials to meet your local and national government regulations (if there are any).

You can learn more about finding the right hypnotherapy course for you on our Hypnotherapy Courses page.

Hypnosis License Requirements

Do you need a license to practice hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy certification is NOT the same thing as a legal license to practice hypnotherapy - no matter what you might read elsewhere.

A license to practice indicates that you have met all of the legal requirements in your region, which usually includes certification.

You will need to check with your local and national government to find out if a license is necessary. Licenses allow the applicable governing body to regulate the practice of hypnotherapy in that region.

Note: Hypnotherapy and hypnosis are not regulated in many parts of the world.

On a global level, regulations regarding whether a hypnotherapist needs a license to practice hypnotherapy varies. It even varies within the United States.

While there are no nationwide regulations in the United States that pertain to hypnotherapy specifically, different states have different legal requirements when it comes to the practice of hypnosis for a therapeutic purpose. Some states require registration and have regulations that pertain to that regulation. Some states have no regulation at all.

It is important for every certified hypnosis practitioner to check and adhere to the relevant laws in their region. You can usually find these by searching the internet or your local or national government website.

Enter "hypnosis regulation in ___________" (enter your country or state or region in place of the blank line) in the search bar below. Or copy the search term and paste into your favorite search engine. 

This is a Google search ... please skip the ads and go to the more relevant results below.

If you need help finding this information, we have Regional Advisors in some regions that can point you in the right direction. Feel free to check our Regional Advisor page to see if there is an advisor in your region.


Do not call yourself a licensed hypnotherapist just because you are certified.

To reiterate: Certification and licensure are two different things.

Ensure that what you say about yourself in any marketing or to your clients is 100% true and verifiable.

Be very careful to avoid anything misleading. In many regions, using the term "Certified Hypnotist" or "Certified HypnoCoach" may be a more appropriate designation. Be clear about this in any and all language you use when writing, advertising, or talking about your professional use of hypnosis.

Finally ... Are You Ready To Launch A Hypnotherapy Practice?

Starting a business as a Certified Hypnotherapist can seem a bit daunting, but remember - you got this! There are some simple steps to take to launch your business.

About the Author

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Maggie is a Certified Hypnotherapist, Certified NLP Master Practitioner, Certified NLP Coach, and a NLP and hypnosis trainer.

She has been working in the fields of hypnosis and NLP for over 25 years, after getting her Bachelors Degree from the University of Colorado in Marketing and Communication.

A life long study of human behavior continues, as she believes there is always more to learn (especially about human creatures). Maggie also works with the IHA directing operations and member management, as well as helping out with their website.

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