How Much Can Counselors Expect to Earn?

As a counselor, your salary will be dependent on a number of factors, such as the type of counseling you do and your location.

Let’s take a look at the average salary you can expect to earn in this field, along with information that will help you make more money.

Average Counselor Salary by Specialty

On average, counselors make between $30,000 and $52,000 annually. That’s a pretty large range, so if you are interested in a more specific rate, think about the specialty you’d like to pursue. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some of the average salary rates you can expect with a degree in counseling:

  • Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational (Career) Counseling: $55,970
  • Marriage and Family Counseling: $47,530
  • Mental Health Counseling: $41,360
  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral  Disorder Counseling: $40,810
  • Rehabilitation Counseling: $35,850
  • Other Types of Counseling: $44,380

Counselor Salary by Location

In some locations, counselors are in higher demand and, thus, they are offered higher salaries. Looking at one of the above categories (Educational and Vocational Counseling), the top-paying states are:

  • New Jersey: $70,690
  • Alaska: $67,530
  • Maryland: $64,290
  • California: $63,110
  • New York: $62,500

Specific cites where you can earn the most money include Greenville, South Carolina; Newark, New Jersey; Nassau-Suffolk, New York; Bethesda-Frederick-Gaithersburg, Maryland; and Anchorage, Alaska. Want to live in a more rural area? High-paying locations include non-metropolitan area of California, Wyoming, Delaware, and Maryland.

Counselor Salary by Type of Employer

The employer hiring you plays a large role in the salary you can expect as well. Some counselors choose to work for themselves, and in this role, your earning is limitless. However, most counselors at least begin their career working for an employer. The top-paying types of employers in this fields are agencies and insurance-related companies, the government, business and professional organizations, home health care services, elementary and secondary schools, and colleges.

Counselors can also find employment in other industries, some of which include:

  • government agencies
  • hospitals
  • correctional facilities
  • churches and other places of workship

Other Factors that Affect Counselor Salary

Want to make even more money as a counselor? Here are a few other ways to boost your salary:

  • Work with high-risk patients, such as adult mental health patients or criminals where sessions have the potential to get dangerous.
  • Gain experience in the field and by working for a single employer over the course of several years.
  • Go back to school for more education and to qualify for certifications.
  • Collect testimonials from clients and patients you have helped, proving that you do a good job.

Top Counseling Degree Programs

Walden University . Walden University offers many counseling programs, including: an MS in Mental Health Counseling - prepares students to address and treat clients' mental health needs; an MS in Mental Health - Forensic Counseling focuses on mental health law; an MS MC&FC - Trauma & Crisis Counseling concentrates on issues such as family conflicts; an MS in Career Counseling emphasizes career satisfaction through strength assessment; an MS in Mental Health Counseling - Trauma & Crisis pertains to prevention of personal problems, conflicts, and emotional crises.
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Grand Canyon University . Grand Canyon University provides both bachelor and master's program in counseling and addiction. The BS in Counseling - Addiction/Dependency program teaches the skills required for addiction counseling, chemical dependency, and substance abuse treatment. The M.S. in Professional Counseling program prepares graduates for a career in various counseling fields. An M.S. in Addiction Counseling is for those pursuing a career as addiction counseling professionals.
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Purdue University . Purdue University offers several psychology and human services degrees, including an MS in Addiction Psychology, BS in Addictions, and a BS in Applied Behavior Analysis. Each program is designed to prepare its students work as professional counselors in a variety of community settings and institutions in respect to their chosen field of study or emphasis.
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