Mental Health Counselors: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Stan T.Career, OverviewLeave a Comment

Job description

Mental Health Counselors counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. May help individuals deal with issues associated with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging.

  • Maintain confidentiality of records relating to clients’ treatment.
  • Encourage clients to express their feelings and discuss what is happening in their lives, helping them to develop insight into themselves or their relationships.
  • Collect information about clients through interviews, observation, or tests.
  • Assess patients for risk of suicide attempts.
Read more about what does a Mental Health Counselor really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$47920 per year

Average hourly wage
$23 per hour

Mental Health Counselors with little to no experience tend to make between $28240 and $34950 while the more experienced ones can earn over $57580 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
UT $32 $66,330
AK $30 $62,920
DC $29 $59,850
OR $29 $59,390
NJ $28 $58,410

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Mental Health Counselor is to move to a higher paying state like UT. Right now, the highest paying states for Mental Health Counselors are UT, AK, DC, OR and NJ.

However, a higher pay at UT doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at UT might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Mental Health Counselor is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Master’s degree

We asked other Mental Health Counselors what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Master’s Degree followed by a Bachelor’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling
Clinical/Medical Social Work
Clinical Pastoral Counseling/Patient Counseling
Mental Health Counseling/Counselor
Read more about how to become a Mental Health Counselor and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Mental Health Counselor.

Suitable for people who likes to help and teach others
Suitable for people who values relationships between co-workers and customers and wants to work in a friendly non-competitive environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
One of the fastest growing careers
Not suitable for people who likes practical and hands-on work
Salary is below average
It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience is required for this career.

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

70% of Mental Health Counselors said they were satisfied with their job and 89% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Windy Ezzell, MA
Inner Solutions Counseling Center, PLLC

I have been a clinical mental health therapist (Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor) for 20+ years and am still in love with my career choice. I’m honored daily that people allow me to hold space with them as they develop through some of life’s most challenging and exciting moments. As a mental health counselor/psychotherapist, my … Read More

Courtney Kirkpatrick MS, NCC, LPC
Consilium Behavioral Health

I am an LPC (licensed professional counselor) in the state of PA and currently operate a private practice called Consilium Behavioral Health. I specialize in trauma/PTSD and work with clients anywhere from 14 years old to 70. I also treat anxiety, depression, substance use, grief/complicated grief, and stage of life issues (transitioning to retirement, young … Read More

Lacrecia Dangerfield, EdD, LPC-MHSP

I am a Mental Health Therapist working with other mental health professionals. I also specialize in how grief and loss impact our relationship with self and others. I have the opportunity to have variety in my typical day of work since I have created a specialty mental health business. The typical day usually begins with … Read More

Ginelle Krummey, MA LCMHCA NCC
Growth Point Collaborative Counseling and Group Facilitation, PLLC

I am an integrative feminist therapist, and I work with young adults of all identity intersections to understand their past, make efforts to manage emotions and behaviors in the present, and actively decide and craft their future toward their pleasure, safety, and joy. As a therapist who integrates many theoretical influences and techniques, I make … Read More

Natalie Capano, MHC-LP
Cobb Psychotherapy

I am a pre-licensed mental health counselor working in a group private practice. I hold a masters degree in clinical mental health counseling. While I have my degree and I completed all the necessary schooling, I have not yet completed the 3,000 hours of post-graduate work needed to obtain a fully independent license in my … Read More

Wendy Pitts
A public alternative education school in Maryland

I am Wendy B. Pitts, LCSW-C and in my day job, I am a School Mental Health Therapist (MHT) for a public alternative education school in Maryland. Students can be sent to an Alternative Education placement, for a variety of reasons, however, they are typically removed from their comprehensive school because of their behavior. My … Read More

Amanda Conroy
Amanda Conroy Counseling

I am a mental health therapist in private practice. A typical day at work includes many different tasks. First, and most importantly, a typical day involves meeting with clients. I will meet with 4-5 clients a day for a 50–55-minute session. Second, I block time off in my day for potential clients to engage in … Read More

Sara Weand
Sara Weand, LPC

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and owner of Sara Weand, LPC, a virtual private psychotherapy practice. Because I have a fully virtual private practice, I don’t have to leave my house in order to go to my office. I specialize in anxiety treatment & Borderline Personality Disorder, by helping adults have better relationships … Read More

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Helpers and The Thinkers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others..

They also like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Learn more about Mental Health Counselors

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Mental Health Counselors job description, Mental Health Counselors salary, Mental Health Counselors information, what is the job of a Mental Health Counselor like, pros and cons about Mental Health Counselors, colleges and universities for Mental Health Counselors, is Mental Health Counselors the right career for me, careers in Human and Social Service

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