Licensed Mental Health Counselor Salary

Licensed Mental Health Counselors in the United States can expect wages of $45K per year on average. Pay generally varies between $35K and $68K per year. Geographic location and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Some workers in this field — around one in four — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by a fair number and dental plans are enjoyed by more than half. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Licensed Mental Health Counselors. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
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$34,238 - $62,156

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$17.60 - $48.39

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$23K$46K$69K
Salary
$34,238 - $62,156  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,037  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$34,587 - $67,676  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 561
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$17$34$51
Hourly Rate
$17.60 - $48.39  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $43.92  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,037  
   
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$34,587 - $67,676  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 192
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Job Description for Licensed Mental Health Counselor

A licensed mental health counselor works with different types of patients in a variety of settings. Some work in clinics or hospitals treating patients as they arrive and in ongoing therapy. Others see patients in their homes for family counseling, and still others work in courts specifically overseeing matters of child custody and adoption. The counselor routinely deals with patients dealing with psychological issues. These may include - but are not limited to - substance abuse, depression, anxiety, relationships issues, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sexual violence, and domestic violence. To best aid patients, the counselor regularly consults with (and often reports to) other medical professionals, law enforcement, educational professionals, and courts.

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Licensed Mental Health Counselor Tasks

  • Conduct psychological assessments, make recommendations, and maintain records.
  • Prepare and execute treatment plans according to the needs of each patient.
  • Facilitate adult or youth groups and individual counseling sessions.

Common Career Paths for Licensed Mental Health Counselor


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For Licensed Mental Health Counselors, career advancements do not tend to correlate with a rise in salary. On average, lower-level Licensed Mental Health Counselors earn similar salaries to those in higher-end positions like Licensed Professional Counselor.

Licensed Professional Counselor Job Listings

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Licensed Mental Health Counselors generally report applying a varied skill set to their work. Most notably, skills in Counseling, Clinical Supervision, Diagnosis and Treatment Planning, and Patient Counseling are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Crisis intervention, Group Therapy, and Patient Counseling. It is not unusual for someone who knows Counseling to be familiar with Diagnosis and Treatment Planning as well.

Pay by Experience Level for Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Licensed Mental Health Counselors — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $44K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $48K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $50K in this role. Licensed Mental Health Counselors with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $52K.

Pay Difference by Location


For Licensed Mental Health Counselors, busy Florida offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 18 percent above the national average. Licensed Mental Health Counselors will also find cushy salaries in New York (+13 percent), Spokane (+11 percent), Fort Lauderdale (+9 percent), and Miami (+8 percent). The lowest-paying market is Pensacola, which sits 14 percent below the national average. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Omaha and Chicago (14 percent lower and 8 percent lower, respectively).

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Experience Affects Licensed Mental Health Counselor Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 11%

Experienced
up arrow 8%


National Average
$47,000


Skills That Affect Licensed Mental Health Counselor Salaries

Counseling
0%

National Average
$47,000

Clinical Supervision
up arrow 1%

Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
up arrow 2%

Patient Counseling
up arrow 7%

Group Therapy
up arrow 10%

Crisis intervention
up arrow 10%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 91 votes.

Gender

Female
80 %
Male
20 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
38%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
25%
20 years or more
11%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 72% dental benefits Dental: 56%
vision benefits Vision: 45% employee benefits None: 27%
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