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Licensed Mental Health Counselor Salary (United States)

The average Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the United States earns approximately $45K annually. Pay ranges from $34K on the low end to $67K per year on the high end. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Not all workers are lucky enough to have benefits; in fact, slightly less than a third are without coverage. Medical insurance is claimed by a majority and dental insurance is reported by slightly more than half. Most Licensed Mental Health Counselors are women (79 percent). Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Licensed Mental Health Counselors. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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%
Add this chart to your site: 640px    300px

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  
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  
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.
Read More...
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 Professional Counselor Job Listings

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Survey takers who work as Licensed Mental Health Counselors report a focused set of job skills. Those who have experience with Diagnosis and Treatment Planning, Counseling, and Crisis intervention can expect to be compensated well for these skills. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Crisis intervention. Many workers who know Counseling also know Crisis intervention.

Pay by Experience Level for Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Licensed Mental Health Counselors with a lot of experience do not necessarily enjoy more money. Relatively untried employees who have fewer than five years of experience earn around $43K on average. People who have worked for five to 10 years can expect a higher median salary of $46K. Licensed Mental Health Counselors who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $49K. Licensed Mental Health Counselors who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $51K. Most employees in this workforce have between one and nine years of experience; more than half of those surveyed fall within this distribution. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up close to a fourth of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise less than two percent, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining nearly one in eight.

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.
New York offers some of the highest pay in the country for Licensed Mental Health Counselors, 21 percent above the national average. Licensed Mental Health Counselors will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+20 percent), Ocala (+9 percent), Boston (+7 percent), and Orlando (+5 percent). In Omaha, salaries are 8 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Atlanta and Tampa (7 percent lower and 5 percent lower, 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 Springfield:
"Disproportionate Share Of Work And Responsibility."
Disproportionate share of work and responsibility lacking in financial compensation and opportunity.
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.

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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%