Licensed Mental Health Counselor Salary (United States)

Pay for Licensed Mental Health Counselors in the United States is typically around $45,984 per year. Pay generally spreads from $34,103 to $67,439 per year. Residency is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. While about a third report receiving no health benefits, 69 percent do receive medical coverage, and more than half have dental, as well. Men are solidly outnumbered in the field, with women representing 79 percent of workers. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$33,662 - $60,213
(Median)
34K
39K
45K
51K
60K
MEDIAN: $44,501
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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Licensed Mental Health Counselor Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$17.71 - $60.00
(Median)
18
34
60
MEDIAN: $25.00
10%
75%
90%
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National Salary Data

 (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$23K$46K$69K
Salary
$33,662 - $60,213  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,961  
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).
)
$34,103 - $67,439  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 319
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$20$40$60
Hourly Rate
$17.71 - $60.00  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $29.59  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,961  
   
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).
)
$34,103 - $67,439  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 99
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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.

Licensed Mental Health Counselor Job Listings

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Pay by Experience Level for Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
In most cases, Licensed Mental Health Counselors can expect only incremental pay growth as they advance in their careers. At career start, salaries are typically $42K, which grow to $46K after five to 10 years. Compensation is $49K after 10 to 20 years. Salaries grow more slowly as Licensed Mental Health Counselors approach the 20-year mark, when the pay stabilizes at $51K. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up 26 percent of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise 2 percent, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining 12 percent. Between one and nine years of experience is the norm for people in this field—more than half of those surveyed fit this bill.

Pay Difference By Location

New York
up arrow 21%
Seattle
up arrow 20%
Ocala
up arrow 9%
Boston
up arrow 7%
Orlando
up arrow 5%
Phoenix
up arrow 1%
Miami
up arrow 1%
National Average
$46,000
Jacksonville
up arrow 1%
Indianapolis
up arrow 1%
Spokane
up arrow 2%
Denver
up arrow 2%
Tampa
up arrow 5%
Atlanta
up arrow 7%
Omaha
up arrow 8%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For those looking to make money, Licensed Mental Health Counselors in New York enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 21 percent above the national average. Those in search of high salaries should also consider checking out cities like Seattle, Ocala, Boston, and Orlando, top-paying markets where Licensed Mental Health Counselors rake in more than the national norm (+20 percent, +9 percent, +7 percent, and +5 percent). The smallest paychecks in the market, 8 percent south of the national average, can be found in Omaha. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Atlanta and Tampa (-7 percent and -5 percent, respectively).

Licensed Mental Health Counselor Advice

What do you wish you knew about your job when you first started out?
Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Lakeland:
"Social Work Versus Mental Health Counseling."
Know the Rules and Laws governing the profession. Remember that HIPAA, ethics and confidentiality aren't just things you study about in school. Maintain an attitude of empathy and keep your client at the center of his/her treatment.

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Licensed Mental Health Counselor Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 11%
Experienced
up arrow 8%
National Average
$46,000
Mid-Career
up arrow 1%
Entry-Level
up arrow 6%

Skills That Affect Licensed Mental Health Counselor Salaries

Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
up arrow 20%
Counseling
0%
National Average
$46,000
Crisis intervention
up arrow 8%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 66 votes.

Gender

Female
79%
female alumni
 
Male
21%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
34%
5-9 years
26%
10-19 years
26%
20 years or more
12%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 69% dental benefits Dental: 54%
vision benefits Vision: 42% employee benefits None: 29%
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