How Much Do Counseling Psychologists Make?
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According to the American Psychological Association (APA), counseling psychology is a general practice and health service provider specialty. It focuses on how patients function in their personal lives and relationships. (APA.org)
Counseling psychologists deal with the social, work, emotional, school, and physical health problems that people may have during their lives. These psychologists, usually with a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree, help patients with mental, emotional and/or physical health issues to enhance their feeling of well being, reduce feelings of distress and resolve personal crises.
The APA notes the most common problems addressed by counseling psychologists are:
- Work and school adjustment issues
- Making good decisions about work and career, and how to deal with transitioning from school to work, and from work to retirement.
- Marriage problems and difficulties with children
- How to manage stress and handle negative life events
- How to deal with personal and social adjustment with growing up
- Mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders
Some of the skills and procedures you will use in counseling psychology include:
- Counseling and psychotherapy for individuals, families and groups
- Trauma management, crisis intervention and handling of disasters
- Assessment methods to diagnose psychological disorders
- Programs that inform and educate the public about issues about mental health, family, relationships and the workplace.
- Training and clinical supervision
- Test validation and construction
To work in the popular counseling psychology profession, you need to earn your Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree (See PsyD vs Ph.D.) to practice independently and to hold many of the best-paying psychology positions. Below is more information about the salary you can expect as a counseling psychologist.
Counseling Psychologist Salary Information
One of the best data sources for psychologist salary information is the Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS. This official government source states the median salary for all psychologists was $79,000 in 2018. The top 10% earned $129,200, which generally requires a Psychology doctoral degree and many years of counseling work experience. For counseling psychologists, the reported salary is $76,990. (BLS.gov)
Also, median annual salaries for all psychologists were:
Median salaries by industry for psychologists were:
- Government: $96,400
- Hospitals: $86,500
- Ambulatory healthcare services: $79,100
- Elementary and secondary schools: $75,800
APA reports the median salary for all psychologists in a 2015 survey was $85,000. Counseling psychologists also had a median salary of $85,000. Psychologists with a Ph.D. had an $85,000 salary, while holders of a Psy.D. earned a median of $75,000. (APA.org)
APA also states that psychologists in professional services earn $85,000, while those in research positions earn $95,000. Psychologists in management positions earn $110,000.
Payscale.com reports the average salary for counseling psychologists is $56,774, with a range of $34,000 to $88,000. (Payscale.com)
This website also states the following differences in pay for counseling psychologists by city:
- Los Angeles: +23%
- New York City: -12%
- Chicago: -12%
- Washington DC: -31%
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This website states the average salary across the country for counseling psychologists is $85,777. The range is between $21,000 and $159,000. The site notes most counseling psychologist salaries fall between $54,500 and $101,000 per year. (Ziprecruiter.com)
Average Counseling Psychologist Salary by State
StateHourly WageAnnual SalaryNew York$45.85$95,360Massachusetts$45.41$94,458Washington$45.10$93,799New Hampshire$44.20$91,930Hawaii$43.62$90,720Maryland$42.09$87,540Connecticut$42.07$87,512North Dakota$41.80$86,938Alaska$41.80$86,938Wyoming$41.80$86,938Montana$41.80$86,938Nevada$41.80$86,938Idaho$41.80$86,938Rhode Island$41.73$86,800Vermont$41.50$86,329Nebraska$41.45$86,219California$41.09$85,469Virginia$40.91$85,089Kentucky$40.09$83,377South Dakota$39.99$83,180New Jersey$39.90$83,000West Virginia$39.86$82,899Pennsylvania$39.66$82,498South Carolina$39.46$82,071Minnesota$39.42$81,996Oregon$39.33$81,798Delaware$39.32$81,787Tennessee$39.29$81,729Colorado$39.27$81,677Ohio$39.01$81,140Wisconsin$38.92$80,946Arizona$38.84$80,778Kansas$38.67$80,429Utah$38.65$80,394Indiana$38.59$80,260Oklahoma$38.53$80,133Maine$38.39$79,846Louisiana$38.23$79,522Iowa$37.84$78,703Georgia$37.46$77,926Texas$37.03$77,031New Mexico$36.95$76,864Michigan$36.86$76,669Arkansas$36.83$76,613Illinois$36.63$76,196Alabama$36.59$76,103Mississippi$36.22$75,332Missouri$36.13$75,156Florida$35.31$73,447North Carolina$33.62$69,937Ziprecruiter.com June, 2020
Job Outlook for Counseling Psychologists
The Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows demand for counseling and other psychologists will rise by 15% through 2028. This is much faster than average when compared with all occupations.
Jobs for counseling and clinical psychologists should increase because of higher demand for psychology services in hospitals, mental health centers, and social service centers. More psychologists are needed to offer services to aging Americans and help older Americans deal with physical and mental changes that occur with age. (BLS.gov)
SEE ALSO: Counselor Education Degree vs. Counseling Psychology
It also is worth looking at the field of marriage and family counseling; many professionals with a Ph.D. degree in counseling psychology become a marriage and family counselor. This field will see a 22% increase in jobs by 2028. Growth is occurring from the use of integrated care, which is treating several medical or mental health problems at once by a group of specialists.
Marriage and family counselors work with other counselors, such as those with skills in substance abuse, behavior disorder etc. to provide the best results for the patient.
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The career field of psychology is one of the fastest-growing in the country. More Americans are going to psychologists and counselors to work through their mental health and personal problems. They are living healthier and longer lives, and want to have their mental health issues addressed so they can live the best life possible.
Because of the rising demand for counseling psychologists, the salary you can expect with a doctoral degree is rising. With a Ph.D. you should be able to earn at least $65,000 per year when you start working. With enough experience, you can easily make $125,000 or more, depending on where you work and the size of your private practice.
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Psychology can be a high-paying job, but it is important to recognize that there is tremendous diversity among psychology professions, and salaries and yearly earnings are just as varied. In a struggling economy, many students have turned their interest toward some of the highest-paying careers in psychology. The highest paying psychologist career salaries average around $167,000.
While many psychology careers have a higher than average yearly salary, it is important to remember that actual income depends upon various factors, including geographic location, employment sector, educational background, and years of experience.
Learn more about some of the highest-paying psychology careers, the typical salaries for such professions, and the educational requirements for entering these fields.
These charts show the average base salary (core compensation), as well as the average total cash compensation for the job of Counseling Psychologist in the United States. The base salary for Counseling Psychologist ranges from $58,265 to $85,511 with the average base salary of $69,557. The total cash compensation, which includes base, and annual incentives, can vary anywhere from $60,919 to $90,173 with the average total cash compensation of $73,456.
What is the average salary for Counseling Psychologist in 2022?
* Total Pay combines base salary, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job.
Mental Health Counseling Salary: What You’ll Earn
Mental health counseling salaries are good, but you’ll get even more with the personal rewards you earn.
Mental health counselors help clients with issues such as depression, OCD and PTSD overcome their challenges and develop into healthier human beings.
And although they may not become rich, mental health counselors can make a good living.
Keep reading to find out just what your earning potential is, and compare it to the salary of other counselors and therapists.
Median Annual Salary
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
Median Salary: $48,520
Projected job growth: 22.1%
10th Percentile: $30,870
25th Percentile: $38,520
75th Percentile: $61,660
90th Percentile: $77,980
Projected job growth: 22.1%
State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10% Alabama $38,830 $29,430 $61,140 Alaska $61,040 $37,440 $97,740 Arizona $48,930 $36,940 $76,630 Arkansas $38,660 $27,520 $77,510 California $49,630 $36,750 $98,560 Colorado $49,630 $36,330 $80,580 Connecticut $48,900 $36,330 $81,610 Delaware $46,910 $30,730 $63,340 District of Columbia $60,600 $31,370 $96,870 Florida $46,680 $30,130 $76,880 Georgia $44,080 $30,320 $63,310 Hawaii $51,060 $38,000 $80,580 Idaho $49,360 $30,690 $79,420 Illinois $47,640 $35,100 $80,030 Indiana $46,230 $30,640 $76,090 Iowa $47,730 $30,090 $77,460 Kansas $48,330 $30,810 $63,460 Kentucky $44,250 $28,820 $62,870 Louisiana $37,510 $25,290 $59,460 Maine $48,960 $30,840 $100,040 Maryland $55,480 $36,650 $78,310 Massachusetts $48,960 $37,070 $78,540 Michigan $48,820 $31,800 $76,650 Minnesota $48,980 $37,960 $65,510 Mississippi $37,580 $23,700 $62,670 Missouri $38,920 $26,140 $60,310 Montana $46,790 $24,510 $63,800 Nebraska $49,370 $30,640 $78,700 Nevada $59,940 $30,640 $95,790 New Hampshire $46,640 $30,720 $68,520 New Jersey $60,000 $44,470 $92,620 New Mexico $56,750 $36,230 $96,710 New York $49,650 $31,310 $78,940 North Carolina $48,640 $29,960 $76,670 North Dakota $60,920 $36,750 $76,720 Ohio $47,510 $30,600 $76,950 Oklahoma $47,500 $29,200 $76,720 Oregon $59,060 $37,140 $94,800 Pennsylvania $46,790 $30,690 $75,060 Rhode Island $60,300 $31,990 $97,740 South Carolina $38,110 $28,580 $73,730 South Dakota $39,070 $30,970 $61,330 Tennessee $37,700 $27,780 $61,380 Texas $46,470 $29,360 $76,670 Utah $60,460 $30,690 $101,100 Vermont $47,320 $38,360 $63,340 Virginia $48,820 $36,750 $76,670 Washington $49,360 $37,070 $78,090 West Virginia $38,100 $29,530 $60,340 Wisconsin $48,100 $32,770 $76,650 Wyoming $60,130 $38,830 $96,440
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2031. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.
What’s my earning potential?
Salaries for mental health counselors in the top 10% earned more than $77,980 according to the BLS. As with most psychology careers, experience and location play an enormous factor in salary. Those working in private practice generally earn a higher income than their counterparts—as well as enjoy the benefits of a flexible schedule—although it can take up to five lean years to build up a strong client base.
How do mental health counselor salaries compare to other counseling careers?
Career Median Annual Salary Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors $48,520 Marriage and Family Therapists $49,880 Rehabilitation Counselors $38,560 Community Health Workers $46,590 Social Workers, All Other $61,190
Is there demand for this career?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, career employment for mental health counselors is expected to grow much faster than average as more people turn to professionals to help them cope with mental problems. In fact the BLS predicts a 22.1% job growth rate through 2031, much faster than the national average for all career fields combined. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. Also, insurance companies provide for the reimbursement of counselors and therapists as a less costly alternative to psychiatric and psychological treatment.
How much competition will I face for a job?
Job prospects should be good for those choosing to enter the field as approximately 25% of North Americans suffer from diagnosable mental health issues each year. With the increasing awareness of the related social, political and economic impacts of these problems, there is a greater need for professional mental health counselors.
What kind of companies hire mental health counselors?
People in mental health counseling will work in a variety of settings, including mental health centers, substance abuse treatment centers, hospitals, in private practice, and in employee assistance programs. According to the BLS, mental health counselors are most frequently employed by the following types of industries or offices:
- Individual and Family Services
- Outpatient Care Centers
- Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities
- Local Government
- Offices of Other Health Practitioners
How do I advance in my mental health counseling career?
Being a mental health counselor is not only rewarding, it’s also a gateway career to other professions. For those who have earned a master’s degree in counseling, you can earn a master’s in social work (MSW) or another counseling area. This, as well as getting your mandatory license, will open your career options and allow you to move into other areas of counseling, such as rehabilitation counseling, substance abuse counseling, marriage and family counseling and educational counseling.